This archived article was written by: Austin Fietkau
He’s an Army man, family man and Super Man. Standing just under six-and-a-half feet and weighing in at 230 pounds, there’s no question that Garth Johnson is one of the biggest men in the gym. But even more staggering than his size is what he hopes to do for the community and the college of Utah State University Eastern.
Johnson was hired Oct. 1, 2016, as the fitness director for USUE. Already, he has been a positive force for change by hiring fitness instructors, working with the school’s athletes, replacing old workout equipment in the BDAC and pushing for the first medical trainer the Eagles have seen in the last 20 years.
But “this is all just the beginning,” Johnson said. All of these changes are just part of a three-stage series in which he hopes to change the face of USUE athletics, as well as give something big to the community.
The first step, which has included the equipment upgrades and hiring of fitness trainers, is to add more “flow” to the system which the BDAC already has going, making it more beneficial and enjoyable for all those who use the building. “We’ve moved equipment around, got rid of some old stuff and made it more organized and inviting to people,” Johnson said.
During the second phase of his plan, Johnson hopes to increase the number of people who come through the BDAC not only to work out, but also to support the games and events which are happening all the time. With the increase in traffic, he plans to do a complete remodel of the BDAC, getting everything up to grade and ready for the third and final step of his plan.
As all of this falls into place, Johnson is confident he will qualify for a grant, which he says is already being discussed, that will allow for an expansion of the BDAC. Expanding the building on its Northwest side will allow for a whole host of new attractions. “We will have everything from rock climbing to fighting gyms and new rooms for athletic classes,” he said. “It’s going to be big.”
While Johnson is motivated and determined to make his plans a reality, he recognizes that this is something he can’t do without help. Students, athletes and members of the community need to do all they can to support these changes by participating in events and utilizing all the facility has to offer now.
When he isn’t working to improve the BDAC, or working out to improve his physique, Johnson is fulfilling his responsibilities as an active member of the armed forces. At 31 he has served his country 10 years and toured in countries all over the world, all the while balancing a family.
With a wife, four little boys and the hopes of having a little girl, Johnson is the Super Man of his family. And believe it or not, he looks up to this comic book character a lot.
“During my tours, I’ve been called everything from Hulk, to Thor… but the one that stuck was Man of Steel.” Over time, that nickname has taken on real meaning for him, and he even has the Super Man symbol engraved on his wedding ring.
Even though he may not be able to fly, and “while some people think it’s corny,” the symbol is a constant reminder for Johnson to always strive to be a hero to the people in his life.
“I could care less whether what I leave behind after I’m gone has my name on it,” he said, “But I do want to leave something behind that will last longer than me. That’s what I really want.”