GREEN ISLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It’s NFL draft week, a time nine years ago Drew Smith recalls like it was yesterday.

“I actually remember it vividly,” said Smith, a Guilderland graduate. “It’s one of those hallmark moments in your life where you can’t believe it.”

After setting UAlbany’s all-time touchdown scoring record, Smith set his sights on the NFL. The running back wasn’t drafted, but he got a call before the draft was over. Multiple teams were interested. He signed with the Buffalo Bills and made a name for himself in camp as a fullback.

“I felt great. I felt awesome about it,” said Smith about the possibility of making the 52-man roster. But he tore a ligament in his thumb during the final preseason game, which required surgery. Smith was ultimately released.

“From my vantage point, I’m playing football. I’m putting everything into football. I’m putting everything into football,” he said, “and then when it’s gone, what’s next?”

At the time, Smith was training with Matt Phelps, founder of Metabolic Fitness. What’s now a franchise comprised of nine gyms in the Capital Region and Syracuse was a one-man operation.

“[Phelps was] like, ‘Do you want to try this? I’m trying to find someone. I think you’d be great at it. You have the personality.’ And I was like… ‘Sure. Why not?'” Smith became a trainer in 2014 as Phelps’ first full-time employee, and is now the Head Coach at the Green Island location.

Metabolic Fitness is a group-workout formula focused on “strength training at a pace”, with an emphasis on functional strength training. Smith believes in the method, and enjoys the sense of community it supports. As an athlete, he’s a natural.

“That competitive nature translates well as far as how I can motivate, my intensity” Smith explained. “And at the same time, empathy, cause I’ve been there and I understand some days you just don’t have it. Some days you do.”

But as a coach, inconsistency’s not an option for Smith, who draws on the mental toughness he fostered as a football player.

“Mental toughness working out, but mental toughness also making sure every class I bring it,” he said.

Smith was named best personal trainer in the Capital Region in the Times Union “Best of 2019”, and he doesn’t spend any time wondering ‘What if?’

“I honestly think what else I could do that would bring me this much fulfillment, and I can’t think of anything really at all,” he said. “I think maybe in a weird way this was my plan the whole time and it was me going through the motions to get to this point.”

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