Alumni Feature- Dave Robinson (’10) | HEADS OR TAILS?

Hi. My name is Dave Robinson. I’m a graduate of the class of 2010 and I’ve spent the past seven years building a successful financial planning practice. But, I’m a millennial… so I quit my job. More specifically, I just made a conscious decision to follow my gut and give up something good to build something great. I left my career because I didn’t love it anymore. Why build a 40-year career on a bedrock of, “Meh, this is OK, regardless of the perks?” I want to build a life on the bedrock of “This. Is. Freaking. Awesome.”

You see, over the past couple of years, I’ve been working on something. I believe that optimizing your health and fitness will allow you to better serve those around you. You’re no good to those who depend on you if you’re sick, tired, unhappy and have no energy. Think about an airplane – if you lose cabin pressure and the oxygen masks drop down, what are you supposed to do? Grab it, put yours on first, and breathe! Help yourself so you can help others.

Impact – that’s what I’m striving for. I coach people to reframe their mindset and achieve their lifestyle and physical fitness goals. I empower people to take action and become the best versions of themselves. I created GS Nation; a community of like-minded individuals in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia, who are striving and grinding to achieve incredible things in their own lives. Before I quit my job, I realized that if I didn’t finally go for what I really wanted, I would regret it for the rest of my life. Regret is a powerful motivator, and much of what drives me today I can trace back to decisions I made and didn’t make at JMU. But I almost didn’t even make it to JMU. I actually decided where I was going to go to college… based on a coin flip.

We’ve all played this game before – typically we flip a coin to decide trivial things in life, like who pays for dinner or what movie to watch. When I visited Virginia Tech, it was a cold and dreary Saturday. When I visited JMU, it was 80 degrees, sunny and everyone was out on the Quad wearing sundresses and tank tops. Needless to say, JMU should have won right then and there. But VT also had ACC sports, more of my high school friends and it had a renowned business program. I agonized. I debated. I made a pros/cons list, but I was still torn.


So, I flipped a coin. Heads, I’ll go to JMU. Tails, I’ll go to VT. I counted to three, flipped… Tails… best 2 out of 3? Tails. I was disappointed. So, I went with my gut.

Because I couldn’t decide, I surrendered my “decision” to random chance and then gauged my reaction to the result. Without knowing it at the time, it was a perfect application of “Flipism”, specifically in regards to Revealed Preferences, but again, I didn’t know that at the time. I just really did want to go to JMU. So, I walked onto JMU’s campus in August of 2006 bright eyed and ready to make an impact on the world.

We all know The Madison Experience – it’s how we are all connected. JMU offers the perfect mix of campus life through equal parts scholastic and social opportunities. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains with access to national parks and rivers and hiking, the campus is chalk-full of world class amenities, phenomenal food and anything a student could ever want or need. The people are incredible and to me, JMU really embodies southern hospitality. The professors are knowledgeable, personable, and willing/able to help. The campus culture is fantastic and school pride abounds… Purple, Gold, and JMU DUUUUUUKES!

JMU is such an incredible place, and there were so many opportunities to take advantage of. All I had to do was pick a couple and begin to thrive. As it turns out, it’s the things I didn’t take advantage of that drive me to this day. Through no fault of anyone other than myself and my decision making at the time, I did not take advantage of the Madison Experience. I didn’t go to the mountains. I didn’t spend time on campus. I didn’t study abroad or travel with friends. And I didn’t create meaningful, lifelong friendships or build good relationships with my professors.

What did I do? I went to class and worked just hard enough to get good grades. I skipped every class I could. I took an obscene amount of naps. I went to the gym… a lot. I played Madden… a lot. It wasn’t until a couple years after I graduated, when I turned 25 and had my first official quarter life crisis, that I looked around at my life and went, “Wait a minute… What the hell did I do?  Or rather, what didn’t I do.  I looked back on my college experience  and I didn’t take advantage of the incredible opportunities in front of me. I didn’t make an impact. I was not living a life of significance, and I regretted not better utilizing my time in college. Again… regret is a powerful, powerful motivator.


Ben Franklin said that “some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.” My biggest fear is waking up one day at 75 years old, swinging away on the front porch of a nursing home in a rocking chair, and realizing that I wasted my life. Realizing that I didn’t take advantage of opportunities in front of me; realizing that I wasn’t living a life of significance. With that in mind, I vowed to make every decision moving forward from that standpoint. I needed to make an impact. And what is impact? To me, it’s simple. Impact is the positive ripples you create and send outward into your world.

About 6 months ago, I ran 50 miles… in one day… on purpose… willingly! A childhood friend named Patrick and I put on the Inaugural River City 50 Miler to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer research happening right here in RVA. Patrick’s sister, Becca, passed away from Leukemia 8 years ago, and through the Connor’s Heroes Foundation, I mentor a 9-year-old boy named Jack going through similar treatment.

Patrick Kearney, Lacey Zimbro, and Dave Robinson at the finish line of the Inaugural River City 50 Mile Ultra-Marathon

We chose to run 50 miles to honor Becca, to feel a fraction of the pain she felt during treatment. We ran to push ourselves to our limits, to see what we were capable of as humans. We ran for those who couldn’t, and because we can – because it was our race, and our route. With the help of our community, we raised almost $7,000 for childhood cancer research, and two of the major local news stations picked up our story. We ran because we hoped it would make an impact. Jack was there, and he saw what was possible and what you can do if you never give up. And I saw the same thing when I looked at him. So, we kept running.

Impact… it really does drive me. It drives every single decision that I make. JMU and The Madison Experience still play a major role in my life. My Madison Experience taught me that the most beautiful things can be your failures. The most beautiful things, can be your failures. It reminds me that if there is an amazing opportunity in front of you, go with your gut and take it. You are the hero of your own story, and you can rewrite the ending to that story at any time. If you take action, and if you take that action far enough, your regrets can be just the right kind of fuel. If you’re lucky, your regrets may even turn into your blessings. So, keep running, and go live a life of significance.


Dave Robinson (middle)- 1st place Age Group at April 8th Spartan Sprint in Charlotte, NC 

Get Strapped Stay Strapped & GS Nation

IG/FB – @getstrappedstaystrapped & @gsnation

A RVA native and 2010 JMU grad, David Robinson is an elite Spartan Obstacle Course Racer and fitness consultant who founded his inspirational, life-changing company Get Strapped Stay Strapped in late 2016. Making waves in the fitness industry with his deep passion for nutrition, exercise, and wellness, Dave is dedicated to building community and is constantly pushing himself as well as others to realize their maximum potential. Dave’s philosophy derives from his tag line “Grind On” where incorporating hard work and dedication to your daily grind yields positive results in all aspects of one’s life.


One thought on “Alumni Feature- Dave Robinson (’10) | HEADS OR TAILS?

  1. Way to go, Dave! Very proud of you for chasing your dreams and working to make a difference in the Richmond community and beyond! Keep up the awesome work! 🙂


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