Celebrity fitness trainer Don "DB" Brooks, center, leads a Matrix workout session at Virginia State University on April 4, 2018. Brooks was born and raised in Petersburg and graduated from Petersburg High School and VSU. [Kate Gibson/progress-index.com]
Celebrity fitness trainer Don "DB" Brooks pumps up the participants in a Matrix workout session at Virginia State University on April 4, 2018. Brooks graduated from VSU in 2000 after earning a B.S. in Health and Physical Education and Recreation and a master's degree in Business Administration. [Kate Gibson/progress-index.com]
Virginia State University students and community members get moving during a Don-a-Matrix workout session led by celebrity fitness trainer Don "DB" Brooks at VSU on April 4, 2018. [Kate Gibson/progress-index.com]

Celebrity fitness trainer, Petersburg native leads workout class at VSU

PETERSBURG — Music pulsed and sweat poured in Virginia State University's dance studio on Wednesday as special guest Don "DB" Brooks — celebrity fitness trainer, founder of Don-a-Matrix Training, and Petersburg native — led students and community members through one of his signature Matrix workouts.

"I do a lot of multi-functional movements, two body parts at one time," Brooks said. "It can get a little bit difficult, depending on the ability of the person, but for a group workout, most of the time we just keep it simple, something that everybody can do and have fun."

Brooks uses a "four quarters" system for his workouts that he relates back to his early sports connections — he got his athletic start in Petersburg playing basketball for Petersburg High School and for VSU.

"So of course, basketball (and) football have four quarters," he said. "So when I moved to San Diego and was doing my fitness, I was training a lot of athletes from the Padres and the Chargers football team.

"We kept doing this thing at the end of the workout, calling it the fourth quarter: 'Let's go hard for fourth quarter.' So I decided to develop a whole system around it."

Breaking up a high intensity workout session into four separate quarter segments helps people stay motivated, Brooks said.

"People are so used to working out for 45 minutes, an hour, an hour and a half," he said. "I wanted to take it where they're not thinking about time — they're just thinking about getting in the amount of work that they need to get in.

"And then at Hollywood, I started working with entertainers," he continued — notable clients include the Kardashians, Kanye West, and Fergie. "And I noticed that the formula of the four quarters worked well with them also. It wasn't the thing of, 'What time do I gotta get out the gym,' it was a thing of, 'Let me finish these four quarters,'

"I just use that, no matter what training I'm doing, whether it's for entertainers, professional athletes, or just everyday people. It works."

Brooks said that his time playing basketball in Petersburg was crucial for his own development.

"Without any of that, there's no way I would be able to do this on this level, how I'm doing it now," he said. "All of that discipline, learning that determination from my professors, counselors, my mentors, really helped me out to excel to what I'm doing now. Without that foundation, there's no Don-a-Matrix."

Visiting his alma mater after all this time has been a meaningful experience for Brooks as well.

"There's so much energy, so many memories coming back right now," he said. "I can think about everything that I didn't have and that I want (the students) to experience, so I'm able to give that back. The energy and the love is just ... I love it."

On Tuesday, Petersburg Mayor Samuel Parham declared the day — April 3, 2018 — as Don-A-Matrix Day in the city. Brooks was presented a proclamation during the Tuesday evening City Council meeting. The city honored the Petersburg native and celebrity fitness trainer for his hard work and success.

Kate Gibson can be reached at kgibson@progress-index.com or (804) 722-5162.