Mitch Ferrin is the type of person who inspires those around him without even trying. It’s who he is; a young man overflowing with authentic pollyannaism and vigor, both contagious and convicting. Diagnosed at birth with a rare condition that left his spinal cord damaged, Mitch has lived his entire life with a disability that limits movement and forces him to use a motorized wheelchair. Despite all this, nothing has stopped Mitch from pursuing the goal of a career in the fitness world. In fact, a little less than a year ago, he started documenting his fitness journey on Instagram, adopting the name “rolling_to_running” a nod to a lifelong dream of running one day. It couldn’t be more fitting because when you talk or spend time with Mitch, you get the sense that he just rolls with the punches; displaying a positivity that forces you to examine your life through a more positive lens. Mitch shows us we have the power to choose the kind of life we want to live regardless of our circumstances and you know what, he just might be on to something. Either way, one thing is certain, Mitch Ferrin is definitely on a roll.
Q: You were born with a rare handicap; can you tell us a little bit about that?
I was born with a one-of-a-kind case where my 4 and 17 chromosomes switched spots at birth. My C5 vertebrae bent in and did damage to my spinal cord. Which left my legs and left arm affected. I also have severe scoliosis and kyphosis and wasn’t able to hold my head up until I had metal rods put in my back when I was 7.
Q: What was it like, growing up with a disability? Were you perceived as different from your peers, and if so, how did you deal with that?
Growing up I acted like any other kid but just did things differently. I loved sports and tried to play everything in my own way. I was blessed with awesome friends that included me in everything and never treated me different.
Q: Was there a point where something just clicked and you found the inner strength to be whatever you wanted or was that something you always had?
I wouldn’t say there was a specific moment, but it was instilled in me with good parents that didn’t baby me, family that pushed me, and good friends that never treated me differently.
Q: Your IG name is rolling_to_running when did you come up with it and what does it mean to you?
The name randomly popped into my head when my buddy Cole and I were brainstorming! I wanted something catchy and different! With so many fitness pages on Instagram, I wanted to stand out. And rolling_to_running explains my journey and goal pretty well, so I stuck with it!
Q: We love the description on your IG account, especially the “get jacked” part; can you explain how the journey you’re on came to be and what it means to you?
Two summers ago, I had started losing weight. I lost a lot but lost momentum and gained it all back over the next year. I was super discouraged but wanted to give it another go and decided to make an Instagram to document my workouts and progress but also to hold myself accountable! Looking back, gaining the weight back was definitely a blessing because now I can share my journey with so many others.
Q: Did you ever think you could/would inspire people the way you have already?
I honestly did not think I would have this many people paying attention already. I figured once I lost the weight and was “successful” people would be interested in how I did it but seeing all the people watching and encouraging me already is extremely motivating and humbling.
Q: Two-part question: Clearly, you’re the kind of person of who loves challenges, have you always been this way or was it something that you developed over time? Secondly, what would you say to anyone out there struggling to see their self-worth and value they bring to the world?
Yeah, I guess you can say I enjoy doing things that are challenging! I love the feeling after you’ve accomplished something! It’s addicting.
I’d say don’t ever think you’re not worthy of anything! No matter our talents, strengths, weaknesses, we’re all valuable and have something HUGE to offer. This is something near to me, and I believe everyone is here for a reason whether you know that reason yet or not!
Q: Well said. So we’ve been loosely following your fitness journey, so far, you’ve lost over 35lbs*, now that you’re a beast in the gym, what’s your favorite exercise and why?
Haha trying to be a beast! My favorite exercise would probably be Back Rows right now! It’s the first exercise I’ve done with both my arms at the same time. Feels awesome.
Q: Be honest, what’s the craziest reaction you’ve received at the gym when people see you doing squats, push press, bench, abs, etc.?
Most of the time I’ll see people watching me, and then they’ll wait till I’m done and come say things like “Bro this is so cool that your in here killing it” or “No excuses man!” One time I had a lady come up to me and start crying and all she said was “a lot of people wish for the strength you have.” That has stuck with me ever since and keeps me pushing hard.
Q: What/Who is your spirit animal?
The Rock!! He’s a beast of a man and kills it in the gym and his career. My life goal is to get a workout in with him someday. That would be too sick.
Q: On most days, you can be found________?
In the gym haha, or doing homework, or just “mobbin” in my van with the homies!
Q: You seem like a very confident individual, with a great sense of humor, is that something you’ve always had? Is it something that you value?
Yeah laughing is one of my favorite things!! Never take life too seriously and remember to laugh at yourself often.
Q: What does it mean to you to “stay tru” and how do you “stay tru” on a daily/weekly basis?
To always remember who you are and what’s the most important thing to you! Keep the goal in focus and stay the course! Reminding myself that every day and keeping my eyes on the prize is how I Stay Tru!
Q: Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My dad always taught me that “life is 10% what happens to you, 90% how you react to it”. I believe that is so true and the way I’ve come to look at life.
Q: What’s the perfect ending to your fitness journey?
I think losing 100 lbs, walking, and becoming a successful entrepreneur in the fitness world would be super rad… but also knowing that I’ve helped or affected hundreds of thousands or millions of people would be an even greater accomplishment to me.
Q: Bro question, what’s your max on bench_____________?
80lbs with the one arm so far. Hoping to hit 100 by the end of summer!
Follow Mitch’s journey – https://www.instagram.com/rolling_to_running/