Ben Graves

I am the owner of a My House Fitness – College Park. We are a goals-oriented fitness studio that focuses on individual client needs. As a lifelong resident, I’ve been so blessed to meet and serve so many people in College Park during our 8 years in business and my family and I get so much from this great community.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your family.
My wife, Joy is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist at Arnold Palmer Hospital. She is the love of my life, who both inspires me and keeps me grounded. I still get butterflies each day coming home to her smiling face. I have 3 beautiful children: Dyer, 19, is an accomplished young businessman beyond his years that makes us proud. Grace, 5, is a bright and kind Kindergartner at Princeton Elementary. Lucy, 2, is a precocious and endearing preschooler at St Vincent’s Academy.

Q: Please tell us about your current, past, or future career. What do you love most about what you do?
I spent over a decade in the real estate banking business, managing REO (foreclosed home) portfolios. When I had a job change challenge in 2012, I took it as an opportunity to start my own business in fitness. Even though we lived in Winter Springs at the time, I opened a personal training studio here in College Park where I grew up because I love the community and knew we would move back here someday, which we did in 2014. I love serving the diverse needs of our clients, from weight-loss to strength & conditioning and corrective exercise. I lost 100 pounds as a young man; I’m also Type-1 diabetic and have hypothyroidism, so I think that helps me relate with a lot of clients who come in with their own challenges. Since I grew up here and have played and coached a lot of sports, I’m also blessed to get to help a handful of athletes to reach the next level in their respective sports every year, which is super-gratifying.

Q: What are a couple of your favorite restaurants in our community?
Rusteak and The Taproom at Dubsdread are our go-to’s

Q: How long have you lived or worked in our community?
I was born and raised here in College Park

Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in our community?
The late/great Andrea Kudlacz! She is one of the first people who I met as a small business owner when I was reintroduced to College Park. She had such a vibrant and compelling personality. She inspired us to get involved in so many ways and made everything seem so exciting that we couldn’t dream of missing out. She was sneaky that way, too 😉

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
Australia. My wife meant to study abroad there during her Masters program, but it would have delayed things by a year or so. I imagine she made that sacrifice, in part, to start our life together. It’s such a big place that, as long as I’m wishing, we could see so much from beaches & surf to the outback and all the awesome Aussie cities.

Q: What is one of your favorite movies? TV shows?
The Breakfast Club. I’m partial to the coming-of-age movies like that: Fast Times, Dazed and Confused , etc. .

Q: What advice would you give to people?
Since I’m in the business of fitness, I would offer advice to that end. Find something that you enjoy and can sustain when it comes to diet and exercise. You can only last so long doing something that makes you miserable. If you think you have to get angry or get “pumped” every time you work out, you’ll find more reasons not to than if you find a discipline that makes you smile. Be a happy lifter 🙂

Q: What is something on your bucket list?
I still need to go skydiving. Everyone in my immediate family (including my mom) has done it. I haven’t gotten around to it. I have an uncle who is a famous skydiver, so it’s always seemed like no-big-deal in our family. I need to get up there and jump.

Q: What is your go to band when you cant decide what to listen to?
The Beatles – if I choose them on Pandora or similar streaming services, all of my other favorite bands and vocalists tend to pop up.

Q: What current or former local business makes you the most nostalgic about our community?
Gabriel’s Submarine Sandwich Shop – it’s a true survivor and everything good about it still stands when I walk in and order to this day.

Q: If you could choose anyone that is alive today and not a relative; with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? And where locally would y’all meet for this lunch?
Joe Rogan. I listen to his podcast a very lot and so I’m convinced we’d never run out of stuff to talk about. We’d eat at The Taproom on the Verandah after a bourbon and a beer by the fire-pit

Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about our community?
All of the little parks and lakes and micro-communities within our neighborhood. You can walk a mile and see several completely different and amazing vibes from street to street.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
I’ll be right here in College Park until we move to the beach – I think that’s a little more than 10 years out, but who knows?

Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
I have a “familiar face,” I’m told and the funny thing is that I had major maxillary reconstructive surgery about 20 years ago. I have 16 screws and 4 plates holding it all together. So, my hypothesis is that the surgeon used a “familiar”-looking template

Q: What is the most beautiful place you have ever been?
Puerto Rico. On the trip where Joy and I got engaged, a family from with whom we stayed drove us all over the most picturesque parts of the island; we saw some real outstanding coastal and rain-forest views that we would have never found on our own.

Q: Favorite month? favorite holiday? and best single day on the calendar?
December. Christmas. Easter

Q: What would you rate a 10 out of 10?

Q: Who inspires you to be better?
My Faith. My family: parents, wife and kids, & those whom I work with and work for

Q: What is one or two of your favorite smells?
Pizza, Chocolate Chip Cookies, & whatever stuff my wife puts in her hair.

Q: Finally, what 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
Family, College Park, the beach