By Brian Patrick

Meet Bucky Mitchell, the Top Model winner of Team DC’s 2013 Fashion Show and Model Search. But Mitchell is all that and so much more than Top Model material. In a hustle-bustle world of non-stop activity, he is centered, grounded and connected to who he is and why he’s here. He says that “One of my greatest inspirations sums me up best. ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’” Mahatma Gandhi

And make no mistake – he lives his life in service to others as The Amish Trainer, a personal trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and a Corrective Exercise Specialist. But he approaches his training from a mindset that’s holistic, one that includes exercises based on the movements of Amish men and women at work on the farm as well as healthy eating and reflection practices that are evidence of his early family influence.

Mitchell’s unique approach really does reflect his Amish roots. He grew up in eastern Pennsylvania’s Amish country as part of a progressive Amish sect until he was 10 when his mother, who decided she no longer wanted to live the life, moved the family. Along the way he entered public school, eventually graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English and secondary education and a minor in theatre. He also managed to fit in a master’s degree in organization development from Trinity University in the Washington, DC area.

Moving permanently to DC, Mitchell put his education to work and started to climb the corporate ladder, working in banking and doing consulting for the federal government. It didn’t take very long to become discouraged with the climb, though.

It was a client’s remark about his unique training style that caused Mitchell to realize that he had kept much of his Amish culture. That was the genesis for him building his Amish-inspired brand that includes healthy eating, workouts and weekly reflection. “I was really doing these things from the culture that I thought were really essentially important,” he explained.

Making good food choices and keeping a connection with nature is important. As Mitchell says, “If you put bad stuff into your body, you will get bad stuff out.” Amish food is grown organically and is nutrient rich. To him, having his clients make healthier food choices is more important than having them go on a diet. Amazingly, he’s not adverse to a “cheat” day as long as it’s followed by a workout. He balances his own workouts with salsa dancing, hiking, cooking, reading, and of course, the theatre

Another cultural connection he kept was the Amish quiet hour his family practiced every day where you took time to reflect on your life and be thankful for all it contained. Mitchell practices what he preaches – he does yoga twice a week and expects his clients to follow suit.

But his greatest revelation was that the hard-working Amish were moving in very specific ways that didn’t mimic traditional fitness exercises. A farm lifestyle meant they were tossing 80-pound bales of hay up into a loft, moving feed bags from side-to-side and swinging a 12-pound axe as they chopped wood. Working as a personal trainer at VIDA Fitness’ U Street location, Mitchell has developed exercises that are derived from the movements and motions of Amish men and women at work.

When asked about his philosophy, Mitchell says it’s simple – “I believe that a fun, challenging workout will result in weight loss, more muscle and a stable core. I believe that incorporating yoga, breathing and stretching techniques can help clear your mind and focus your positive energy on your workouts and on your relationships with others.” He added that “… I believe that eating the right foods at the right time is essential in helping you stay active and burn calories throughout the day.”

And when asked about his modeling, Mitchell says he’s done it for about a year in the DC area just for fun. He has had one serious job in New York where he got paid but his philosophy on this is that when it stops being fun, it becomes a job.

Mitchell is making quite an impact – he was recently featured in Men’s Health, he’s now writing a healthy food blog for the Washington Blade, and he’s taught a series of healthy cooking classes on LivingSocial with more classes to come. To learn more about Mitchell and his unique training approach, visit his website at and check out the sections on fitness, meditations and recipes. There are also links to his Facebook page, Twitter, and his videos on You Tube.

Photo by Zach Dilgard