The NY native and HBCU alum hopes that mental wellness will soon become the norm in Black communities
When most young adults complete their college studies and transition into the workforce, it can feel as if one’s life has just begun. However, for fitness expert Robert ‘Brix’ Glover, life took a pivotal turn just after graduating from Norfolk State University—but not for reasons one may assume.
While the New York native has amassed over 100,000 followers on Instagram and over 755,000 subscribers on YouTube, Glover’s journey to becoming an advocate for physical and mental wellness started with a wake-up call in the form of legal trouble.
“I had gotten in trouble with the law, and I made a really silly decision that led to me catching a felony,” shares Glover. “I had recently graduated, and I lost my house, family, job, and my car. I was at rock bottom, but I like to say it was the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me because it slowed me down and humbled me. It was God stepping in and redirecting me because I wasn't listening to him. So he had to take drastic measures to get my attention, and the path was just different from that point on.”
That pivotal moment in Glover’s life is what ultimately launched his commitment to his personal wellness journey. For him, the intense dedication transcended into a loving devotion, which has compelled him to spread that same joy that he’s found along the way. The act of genuinely helping others is something that’s now engrained in the HBCU alum.
"I've always had this satisfaction from being able to just help people," says Glover. "That's always been a part of me, and my life did such a 180 that I wanted this for others as well. I wanted people to also be able to experience life on the other side of what, for me, was obesity and overall just not feeling good about myself. I've learned so much, and felt an obligation to share because if everyone in the world could feel how I'm feeling, the world would be a better place."
The adage “With great power, comes great responsibility,” may have been popularized by the fictional superhero Spider-Man, but it’s a way of life for Glover, a superhero in his own right. While his social media presence consists heavily of content centered around physical wellness, he's just as passionate about promoting mental wellness, and openly shares his own mental health struggles in the process.
“I feel like God has called on me to share my testimony because I remember struggling with things, and I would come across someone who’d share something that resonated with me, and it empowered me,” explains Glover. “I'm not healed from my depression and I still deal with it. But, I have a different attitude about the experience. Subjects like this are often deemed taboo, and it's really important for people with similar testimonies to share them, so that others don't feel alone. We have to break this stigma of not talking about mental health because, like a lot of other Black people, I was raised to think it was a sign of weakness.”
In 2015, the National Center for Health Statistics reported that only 26.4 percent of Black men who experienced anxiety or depression utilized mental health services, compared to 45.4 percent of their white counterparts. While the influential trainer makes a conscious effort to be an advocate for normalizing these conversations in Black digital communities, he keeps the same energy offline as well—especially amongst Black men.
“Some of the highlights of my friendships are moments where we cry together, or moments where they come to me with things that are very hard to share," adds Glover. "I value holding space for my friends to communicate with me on that level. I've been intentional about surrounding myself with other Black men who also seek to normalize this, it's something that I value. It's something that I know is healing me and when we create that space for each other, we help heal each other.”
While full normalization hasn't happened just yet, Glover is content in knowing that strides are continuously being made.
“We're probably some time away from it being the normal thing in our society, but there's definitely a shift happening, for sure.”