Being Accountable and Helping Others
by Annette Pinder
His friends called him JD, but when Justin Draper played football in college at Buffalo State he was a linebacker, and his job was to blitz the quarterback. When people started calling him Jada Blitz the name stuck. So when Justin first opened his gym, it wasn’t hard to come up with a name. It represented his fondest memories and the friends who loved and supported him.
Blitz means sudden, energetic, or a concerted effort. Justin embraces the importance of setting your own goals and making an effort to achieve them. “The will to win comes from within” is Justin’s mantra. He says, “Winning isn’t about beating someone else out. It’s about accomplishing what you set out to do for yourself, whether it’s losing weight, eating healthier, or getting in shape.” He adds, “Whatever a people’s goals are, my goal is to help them reach those goals.
Justin’s biggest cheerleader is his wife, Ashley, who, helps with the business side of Jada Blitz, while managing her own busy career. A native of Syracuse, Ashley attended Canisius College, earned her MBA, and fell in love with Buffalo. She worked at a local area law firm as a paralegal before moving into the business and sales side of the industry, and is now a regional sales manager for a fraud investigation company, noting the $124 billion in insurance fraud in the U.S. yearly.
Both Ashley and Justin have been involved in the growing sport of physique and fitness competitions, which is how they met. Ashley completed her first show in 2012, but was looking for a coach that shared her philosophy and approach to becoming stage ready. Shortly after that show, Justin Draper became her trainer. Highly celebrated in the bodybuilding fitness competition community, Justin had already completed 13 shows. Ashley notes that Justin’s role model was his brother-in-law, Trevor Sjadjack, who in 2013 placed third at the World Natural Body Building Federation (WNBF) World Championship.
Justin helped Ashley look at everything differently – from eating, to maintaining a certain look, to being physically fit. He taught her how to accomplish her goals naturally, while maintaining muscle mass and losing fat. It was much more than a diet – it was a lifestyle change. “Being natural is what it is all about,” says Ashley, who explains that when you are involved in natural bodybuilding federations you have to take a polygraph test confirming you haven’t taken any banned substances.
What Ashley values most about Justin is his good soul and genuine character. “Justin has always been a leader – from the time he was a kid to his days as a football captain at Buffalo State College. He holds himself accountable and practices what he preaches to his clients. He has strong spiritual beliefs, promising himself he’d never drink alcohol, and he has kept that promise to this day.”
Ashley says, “Jada Blitz Training is all about being accountable. The reason why people come to Jada Blitz and why we are successful is because we deliver what we say. We have a friendly, motivating environment, where people can work on their fitness. We know every person’s name, and most of our staff trainers were Justin’s clients at one point. Everyone has a story, and they appreciate what we provide for them. We are more like a family.”
Ashley enjoys the balance she has come to realize in her life. It is a balance that incorporates healthy lifestyle changes naturally. She says, “At the end of the day, you have to be happy with yourself because no one else can make you happy, and no one else can achieve your goals for you. The power is truly within each one of us to become the best possible version of who we are, and that takes work and dedication.”