Steve Pumphrey

Changing Lives Through Fitness Coaching

About Steve

steve river
Ugh! The dreaded “About Me” page. What do I write? How about I start with my career, my various jobs, then talk about how I got into nutrition and fitness coaching.

In the Beginning...

I was born in Annapolis, MD and raised in a family business. My parents owned and operated a marina on the Chesapeake Bay. I started working there when I was nine and decided to go my own way when I was 18. It was a great experience, but I needed to do something different. After a brief stint in retail, and a few college classes, I moved into Information Technology.

Starting My Career

I developed software systems for large call centers. ATT, IBM, Levi Straus, BlueShield, and Philip Morris USA were a few of my more notorious clients. One of my managers recognized my ability to document and train people on the systems I developed and encouraged me to take some instructional design classes to further refine this talent. I received my instructional design certification and was the lead designer and trainer producing custom materials for our clients.

My Big Break

One of my clients, Philip Morris USA, wanted to hire me to support and maintain the system I had installed for them. I thought they could offer me more opportunities, so I accepted the challenge. I was right. After teaching and training others to support the system, I went on to work in the Information Technology Audit department. I ensured the systems had the proper controls in place to prevent any fraud or tampering with the company’s financial records.

My Growth Phase

Philip Morris was a strong proponent of team building and communication. My department had to have quarterly offsite meetings where we would share what was going on in our smaller groups with the larger department. These meetings were typically “death by PowerPoint” and would bore the socks right off you. That was until upper management asked me to lead one of the meetings. Well, I turned that meeting on its head. Each team gave an update in the form of their favorite game show. There were hosts, contestants, costumes, questions, answers, commercials, and a great time had by all! Oh, and we learned stuff too! Moving forward, my boss appointed me to organized and present ALL of the department meetings. Each quarter we tried to out-do the last with more and more creative themes to present what was most often complicated and boring material.

Career Change Number One

Eventually, it was time for a career change. I landed a job in human resources for a local Sam’s Club. My favorite part of the job was conducting orientation. I truly enjoyed meeting the new faces we hired, helping them get acclimated into a new company and teaching them new things. For example, new cashiers were always amazed at how much stuff I could “steal” in the loss prevention part of orientation. To show this, I’d place three items—a two-pack of pillows, case of water, and bag of dog food— about $40 of merchandise, in a shopping cart before orientation started. What they didn’t see me do was hide a pack of razor blades in the pillows, steaks under the dog food and DVDs under the water. What seemed like a standard cart of groceries was several hundred dollars’ worth of stolen merchandise! An excellent teaching example if I do say so myself.

Career Change Number Two

Time for another career change, I took a leap of faith and applied for and accepted a job running the office in a dialysis center. I’m great with clerical tasks, office equipment and computer programs, but I knew nothing about healthcare or medical billing, and I can’t stand needles! What was I thinking?!?! Putting the needles aside, I buckled down and learned the other two. So much so, when my cousin heard what I was doing she said “learn as much as you can, and I’ll help you start doing medical billing on your own. I’ve been doing it out of my home for over 30 years.” Hmmm… Okay, I’m game.

Starting My Own Business

As a side business I ran a medical billing company specializing in Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and Social Workers. I was the only employee. But with some help from my cousin, I built my business from the ground up. I installed and supported my own computers, built my own websites, did my own marketing, sent my own invoices, balanced my accounts, filed my own taxes. If it needed doing, I did it. And I’m proud to say that.

“So, when are you gonna tell us something about nutrition or fitness?” Oh, right, I almost forgot.

My Nutrition and Fitness Story

Full disclosure: I do not have a “fat” or “out-of-shape” story to share. For most of my adult life, I wasn’t overly mindful of what I ate and tried to exercise as best as I knew how. I dabbled in fitness and worked out with some basic home gym equipment. I had always wanted to join a gym, but for one reason or another, I never did. In 2016, when my wife and I separated, I moved to South Carolina to be close to my family. I wasn’t in bad shape, but wanted to start taking my health and fitness more seriously, so one of the first things I did when I arrived was join a gym.

I remember the first time I walked in and looked around. “What in the world is all this stuff and how in the world do I use it?” Being a “typical” guy, I was determined to figure it out myself, not ask for help or pay someone to teach me. Stubborn? Foolish? Stupid? Maybe. Possibly. Probably. Regardless, I started doing what I did with everything else: reading, watching, following, commenting, questioning, learning… I applied what I learned to what I was doing in the gym. I went every day. I was consistent. I saw changes when I looked in the mirror, changes I really liked.

When it comes to food, I’ve always loved to cook. I’ve been in the kitchen since I was a child. My mom cooked because she had a husband and two kids to feed, not because she liked to. She’ll tell you I “learned how to use self-defense.” She’s not a bad cook, she just doesn’t enjoy it the way I do. I almost went to culinary school, a couple of times actually, but decided I’d rather enjoy cooking for my family, my friends and myself.

Seeing the changes in the mirror from my gym work encouraged me to learn more about the food I was eating. “If I change some of my food choices, will I see other changes as well?” Again, I started reading, watching, following, commenting, questioning, learning… Now, as a Certified Nutrition Coach, I can say, “Yes, yes you will see and feel other changes when you adjust the foods you are eating.” I continue to see and feel those changes every day.

Coaching: What I Do and Do Not Do

Like any coach, I do not play the game for you. You must play it for yourself. This is your life. You are the one living it. You do the work. You get the results. You reap the benefits.

My role is to teach, educate, train, mentor, guide–whatever word or phrase you want to use– you in the direction of your fitness and nutrition goals. We work together to figure out those goals. I help you achieve them through coaching.

I do not lie to you. I give you honesty and truth to the best of my ability. I will admit when I am wrong and work to correct it.

I do not sell food, magic pills, supplements with my picture on them, or business opportunities. There’s plenty of that out there already. If you are looking for a quick fix, it won’t take you long to find one. It probably won’t work, at least not long term, but they’re easy to find.

I do promote and sell items that I find helpful or useful. I am transparent about this and will make it perfectly obvious when I am “selling” you something.

You are not a cookie. There is no cookie cutter approach with me. There are roughly eight billion people on the planet. That means there are roughly eight billion “right” approaches to fitness and nutrition. Our challenge is finding the one that is right for you.


If you think you want to hire me as your coach, I offer you this warning: I am a thinker. I am independent. I am self-educating. I do research. I learn new things. I read. I write. I challenge myself. I challenge others. I try different things. I fail. I adapt. I regroup. I change my plan. I try again. I work hard. I succeed.

Changing your body starts in your head. I will get in your head. I will ask you questions. I will challenge your answers. I will make you think. I will challenge your thinking. I will help you understand. I will challenge your understanding. I will make you learn. I will challenge what you think you learned. I will be caring. I will be compassionate. I may even be nice. But, at some point, I will probably make you cry. Then I will make you do push ups as punishment for crying. (I may or may not be kidding about those last three.)

Will it be worth it? Absolutely! You will have an understanding about yourself, your health, your nutrition, your fitness, your life, like never before.


Let me know if you’re interested by sending me a note from my contact page.

Thanks for reading.


Don’t wait, contact me today to get started.