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Darryl Payne Jr
USA Track & Field (USATF) Level 1
US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Sprint Specialist

Hometown: San Antonio, TX

When and why did you come to Austin?
After my time was over at Baylor University, I decided I also wanted to pursue a career in restaurants as a chef. That led me to culinary school here in Austin in 2013.

What is your background? How did you get into personal training?
I have been an athlete for the majority of my life, mainly in track and field. I started off as a client at ASF chasing my Olympic dream and I loved the community so much that I decided to become a trainer.

Tell us about your current fitness goals and training:
I’m eyeballing 2026 as the year that I finally realize my dream of becoming a US Olympic athlete in Skeleton. It’s a lot like Bobsled and Luge in that we both slide down ice at well over 80 mph, but Skeleton is viewed as the sport for psychos because we go down head first with our only protection being a helmet. I spend the majority of the winter months in colder cities like Park City, UT or Lake Placid, NY, but in the summer months Texas is where I build my strength and speed.

What is the most common fitness myth you work through with your clients?
“I will never be able to (fill in the blank).” Unless there is some sort of physical disability barring some type of movement, we just don’t accept “never” or “I can’t.”

I remember very vividly a friend in high school on the football and track team unsuccessfully attempting a pull-up at the beginning of the school year. Sure he was a bigger guy, but his drive and discipline had no bounds. By the end of the year, he hopped up on the bar and did three pull-ups. That’s when I learned that when we tap into a little hard work and consistency, mountains come crumbling down before us.

What do you want your clients to take away from each training session with you?
I want every client to know and believe that fitness is approachable. Patience is key. I wasn’t always as fit as I am now, nor did I have the athletic, resilient mindset that I have now. I saw the 2008 Olympics, set that as an overall goal, and step by step I inched my way closer to achieving it. I look back and realize how far I’ve come often when I think about gratitude and that reminds me to be patient. I preach that results will not come overnight and I love to meet people where they’re at. The baby steps of the fitness journey, being present and fulfilled is what makes fitness approachable.

What sets you apart from other fitness professionals? 
Picture me in middle school as some energetic kid that just loved running around and playing games. Just living a kid’s life. Somehow I got a girlfriend, but she was faster than me. I was on the track team, but I served as the guy that could do almost any event but wasn’t particularly good at any one. And I grew slower than everyone else so I was often intimidated when I lined up next to the bigger guys.

I wasn’t always an athlete that pursued such ambitious goals because I didn’t feel like sports was where I belonged. I remember what it was like to not be as strong as the other guys around me and to not meet physical fitness standards. I can meet clients on any level because I’ve been on every level. From uncoordinated to world class athlete (and still uncoordinated unless I practice) I’ve been there and have great relationships with the steps necessary to get to the next level.

What is your favorite thing about Austin Simply Fit? 
ASF is a big community: clients, trainers, athletes, and athletes’ parents as well. That’s where our success comes from, because “it takes a village…”

How do you, personally, define success?
Success is measured by the amount of failure that is being experienced. To be comfortable is indicative of stagnancy. Outside of our comfort zone, where we fall and repeatedly pick ourselves back up, where we are forced to learn from our falls in order to gain victories, is the space where we earn our triumphs.


Click here to read more about Darryl’s journey as an unorthodox Olympian.

Darryl Payne and everybody at Austin Simply Fit have been nothing but helpful and supportive! As someone who wanted to become more active but had some anxiety about going to a gym, I've had such a positive experience and highly recommend this gym to anybody--regardless of their fitness level and especially if they were starting pretty much from zero like I am. Trainers and clientele alike are so friendly, the gym and equipment are always so clean. It's such a wonderful atmosphere to put in work and reach your goals!

Laura Treviño