Inspirational Nomads: Sam Rossiter, Fitness Trainer

in Dominican Republic / Inspirational Nomads / Working Abroad

Welcome to Inspirational Nomads, a Turf to Surf series where I interview travelers around the world about working abroad and living their dreams.

I’ve met dynamic characters all over the world doing every kind of job imaginable and I’ve been inspired by their stories about where they’ve traveled, what they’ve done for work and the amazing adventures they’ve had. Read on to learn more about the people who travel and work and how they got their start.



Sam Rossiter: Fitness Trainer in Cabarete, Dominican Republic


“What doesn’t challenge you won’t change you!” is a regularly shouted mantra from Fitness Trainer Sam Rossiter while his students are drowning in sweat and their faces are contorted with pain and exhaustion during his classes at Rogue Fitness in Cabarete, Dominican Republic.

Rogue Fitness is a beach-loving athlete’s dream. With an open-air gym, yoga loft overlooking the beach, skate ramp, circus trapeze and a bar and restaurant serving healthy, protein-packed smoothies and meals, it is the most comprehensive fitness complex in the Dominican Republic, and probably the whole of the Caribbean. It’s also where I train four times a week in an effort to keep up with Cabarete’s hard-bodied surfers, kiteboarders, gymnasts, mountain climbers and extreme athletes who are attracted to this town for the same reasons I am: the sports and the beach lifestyle.

Sam is a hard-core athlete and personal trainer who has worked at Rogue Fitness for over two years, punishing his students with just the kind of intense, nauseating workouts they expect. “I used to say if you puked in my class, the class was free,” Sam tells me. “But so many people puked, I wasn’t making any money. So I had to stop that.”

In every class Sam teaches, it’s evident that (1) he could beat anyone in a beer-can-crushing competition, (2) he loves his job, and (3) he loves to torture people (which goes well with #2). When Sam isn’t telling me to “man-up” and peel my wimpy self off the floor, sometimes we chat about Cabarete and traveling the world. And how he landed his dream job abroad.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Oxford, England in the countryside. We had a farm with no animals, but plenty of land to tear up on dirt bikes. Our neighbors hated us.

How did you get into fitness?

After I left school, I became a qualified sports coach and through my studies of exercise physiology, I became obsessed with gymnastics and free-running. I tried to apply what I knew about human movement to a discipline to try and be the best I could be.

I love being able to do what normal people can’t. But mainly because back flips are super awesome — everybody knows that.


Sam, teaching the Body Sculpt class I attend.

Did you always want to travel?

Doesn’t everybody? The thing is, most people want to, but few have the huevos to pack up their things and book a ticket. They’re afraid of leaving what they have behind. Scared of losing what they think they own, when clearly it is their possessions that own them.

I couldn’t wait to get out of England. It’s cold and it always rains. And if the rest of the world knew what a ‘chav’ was, you wouldn’t want to go there either. I couldn’t have asked for a better childhood though, or better parents. I always had this dream of sandy beaches and clear waters for when I retired. Now I have no idea what I’m going do when I retire since I’m 24 and live on the beach.

What was it like when you first got to Cabarete?

When I first got here, I was overwhelmed by how many people I met; people were always coming and going. Over 2 years later, I now know that’s just another thing that never changes about this town. You get used to it, and it’s awesome.

Everybody’s here for the same reason: to enjoy life. The language barrier was a challenge at first, but after a while you learn a little and your confidence goes right up.

How did you end up working at Rogue Fitness?

When I first moved here I didn’t have a job and I only knew one person, Susi Mai. She grew up here and introduced me to some awesome people who were so willing to help me out in finding my feet.

After a while here, you learn that that’s just how this town is. Everyone’s so chilled and all the locals know each other. But if I wanted to stay here, I had to find work. So I posted fliers all around town advertising personal training and massage services. My company is called FreeRUNFitness. It took a while before the work started coming in. Now I get lots of business just from word of mouth.

Susi introduced me to Zach who, at the time, was working in MiGym (which is now Rogue Fitness). When he left for the winter, I took over for him and ran the gym for the next year. A year later, Zach created Rogue Fitness at the Extreme Hotel and we continued working together. Here we run all our own personal training sessions, sports massage therapy, fitness camps, Cross-Fit and Body Sculpt classes.

rogue fitness cabarete dominican republic

The poster boys for Rogue Fitness Cabarete – not too shabby.

What do you like about living abroad? About living in Cabarete?

It’s my dream land. It’s paradise. Imagine waking up every single morning to the sunlight in your eyes and the warmth on your face with palm tree leaves waving in the wind. That’s the view from my window, and my day starts when the sun rises. Much better than an alarm clock, don’t you think?

I ride a motorbike up and down a 5-minute stretch of coast to the gym, and then another 2 minutes to get to the center of town. I live at the main surf spot here, Encuentro. It’s a small town, so nothing’s too far away.

I love Cabarete. It has so much to offer and I’m totally happy here. There’s a saying that goes, “Freedom is doing whatever you want, whereas happiness is loving whatever you do.”


Sam, doing a super awesome back flip on Kite Beach.

What advice would you give someone who wants to travel and work as a fitness trainer?

I had no idea what life would be like out here; I was apprehensive and wasn’t sure how long I could live abroad.

And it turned out to be the best decision I ever made. Everybody else who lives here has the same basic story of how they ended up here, so I can only urge you to travel! Pack your things, book a ticket, send out applications, go online and contact people. Learn a language, learn to surf, fall in love. Do something with your life that means something to you. But you’ve got to be willing to take the risk and go out into the unknown.

A lot of people say they go traveling to ‘find themselves’. I thought that once too, but then I went traveling and I found that life wasn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself. And it’s so simple! Just be yourself! After all, everybody else is taken.

Sam is a USN sponsored athlete – check out his video “Challenge Yourself”:

Follow Rogue Fitness Cabarete on their Facebook Page. And if you want to see how hard-core Rogue Fitness athletes are, check out this video made by allidoistravel:

0 Comments... Be the first to comment
  • Jena July 14, 2013, 11:03 pm

    “The thing is, most people want to, but few have the huevos to pack up their things and book a ticket. They’re afraid of leaving what they have behind. Scared of losing what they think they own, when clearly it is their possessions that own them.” – This is so true.

    Thank you for this article. Very inspirational. This is what I aspire to do in the near future, just have to finish saving money and getting over any lingering fear. I’d like to read more stories like these 🙂 they help remind me of my goal and why it’s so important.

    • Tasha Hacker July 14, 2013, 11:06 pm

      Hey Jena,
      Thanks so much for writing that. We’ve met so many inspirational people in our travels and that’s why we thought it would be fun to interview them and give others a look at the myriad of jobs people can do abroad to fund their traveling lifestyles. We have more of these coming up soon, so stay tuned! And I’m glad to hear you were inspired by it 🙂

  • Maya July 29, 2013, 4:39 pm

    Hi Tasha, this is a great post, very inspirational. I’ve also read the one with all inclusive in DR – so true. Unfortunately I’ve been in DR only in all inclusive resort with my mom and my sister who wanted to do nothing but lying on the beach and sunbathing. I enjoyed my long runs and interval workouts on the beach during the sunset 🙂 I love all I read and saw (I know I didn’t see a lot from the actual country) but definately would like to go back to explore more. It’s great to see there are job opportunities like this when I would like to hang around a bit longer 😉 Hope I will be able to combine my passions soon – fitness, travel and sunny beaches.

  • GEORGE July 31, 2013, 4:44 am

    Love your post Tasha I’m also a sports massage Therapist in New York. I have been traveling to Cabarete since 2010 and have even managed to work on a few surfers. I would very much love to work and train out there, but unfortunately, I have not managed to make enough connections in order to make my dream a reality. I did meet a really nice therpist by the name of grace, she was the only therapist that took the time to respond and meet with me on one of my trips to extreme hotel in Cabarete.
    I have 15 years under my belt and I’m a graduate from the Swedish Institute in NYC. I have been with Equinox Fitness for 12 of those years and have also done some training duing my stint. I now mainly work with Crossfitters and Marathon runners, but I’m always looking to expand my experience and clientelle. I’m currently considering taking a TEFL/TESOL cert here in N.Y. Just so I can perhaps get a job as a teacher and eventually on my spare time be able to do what I love which is massage and train. I plan to be back in October for my usual month, any feedback and guidance you could share would really be appreciated. I feel Cabarete is growing quickly and there would surely be a need for qualified personel to cater to all the newly arriving reidents. Feel free to email me, that would be fine. Thanks again for such an inspiring story, hope to write my own one day.

  • Andrew Wahba August 26, 2013, 6:51 pm

    Great idea for a series Tasha. Hope all is well in your world on the high seas!

    • Tasha Hacker August 29, 2013, 6:06 pm

      Hey Thanks, Andrew! Glad to hear from you… how are things going with you? Hoping to get more of these interviews out with the new web site launch… we’ve met so many interesting people in our travels doing really interesting jobs!

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