Luis Badillo Jr. might have the fastest feet on the planet.
The Miami-based trainer's Instagram page has drawn millions of views, and his jaw-dropping quickness have made him an instant viral star:
The self-proclaimed "quickest man on earth" saw his social media following explode over the last few months (he now boasts over 143,000 followers on Instagram), and professional athletes have started taking notice. His client list now includes a number of NFL and NBA players, including Kenbrell Thompkins and Timofey Mozgov.
How did Badillo go from total unknown to viral sensation to pro athlete trainer in such a relatively short time span? STACK caught up with the King Feet of Miami to learn more about the man behind the most impressive footwork on the internet.
STACK: Walk us through your sports background. Did you grow up playing sports?
Badillo: As crazy as it sounds, I've never played sports.
As a kid, I grew up with a very big family. My family didn't really participate in sports. I was always into video games and stuff like that. I guess I didn't have the discipline or the commitment to want to play sports and to listen to a coach. I had my mind on other things. As a teenager, I was new to having girlfriends and going out and stuff like that. So my mind wasn't on sports or anything like that.
I started playing at maybe 17 or 18. Just like street football and street basketball, stuff like that. But it was only for the purpose of having fun with my friends. That's it, really. I never looked at it as playing competitively.
So when did you really start getting into fitness and working out?
Nineteen, 20, 21 years old. I wanted to start looking good and getting in shape.
[Around that time] I got introduced to a local flag football tournament that I played in. I did pretty good. I was the MVP of the tournament. I had like 9 touchdowns, and people were telling me, "Hey, do you play professionally, collegiately? What's the deal?" People were trying to learn about me. And I'm like, "Oh, no. I'm just having fun. Football is a fun sport. I like having fun with it." But I had never played a down in my life. That was surprising to people. They couldn't believe that. I listened to what people had to say about it, they were like "Dude, maybe you should train."
So I networked a little bit, and people started inviting me to workouts. I started working out with football players. I started working out on an agility ladder and with cones and going to the gym, learning new workouts, learning new drills, stuff like that. So I really started at about 22, 23. Then they kind of became inconsistent, but I wanted to keep going. I kept going. I bought my own ladder, my own cones, I got my own gym membership. Because I was really liking the results I was seeing.
I was feeling better, I was feeling healthy, stronger, lighter, faster, quicker. I was feeling really good. So I basically kept that going for the past two and a half to three years. What motivated me to continue was my progress. My progress, my dedication to speed, to quickness. I got a lot of compliments here in Miami when I went to work out at different parks. I'm very known in Miami for my footwork and speed. That made me feel good. That made me want to continue. When you get acknowledged for something, you want to continue, right? So I continued. I kept it going.
Once you started working out regularly, how long did it take you to realize you were super quick?
Maybe like a month. That month I was training really hard every day. The year before last, I worked out a year straight, including weekends and holidays. Just because I was so into it—it's fun.
Is there anything you attribute your quickness to? Or do you think it was just a natural gift that you worked really hard to refine and improve?
Exactly. I would have to say that it's something I discovered, unfortunately pretty late at nearly 23 years old. But it's something I discovered and then just worked on it.
Your social media following, especially on Instagram, has grown rapidly in a short amount of time. When did that take off for you?
I made an Instagram last year. People told me I should create social media and post my workout videos. They said, "You have really good footwork and speed, maybe you can demonstrate that and see where it takes you." At first, I didn't want to do it. Because I'm not really too big on the whole social media thing. But nowadays, I understand social media and technology are the way of the world. It's the way of the modern world.
So I made it, and it might have been one of the greatest decisions of my life. It's opened up doors to so many opportunities that I have now. Especially with professional athletes. Yesterday was my first day working with a Miami Dolphin, Jeff Cumberland. That was super cool. It was Jeff Cumberland and Isaiah Pead (of the San Diego Chargers). It was awesome. They couldn't believe it themselves.
Clients want to get as much information about me as possible, and when I tell them I never played a down in my life, they freak out. Because I move like I played. I move my feet, I run routes, I run plays, like I played the game before. The most crazy thing about it is that I'm pretty much self-taught. I taught myself everything that I know about the game of football. I taught myself how to understand defenses, how to run a route, how to run a slant, how to catch a football, basically everything. I'm the type of person, this is what I do. Footwork is basically my life.
How did you eventually start working with pro athletes?
A lot of people want me to help them. They come to me, they email me, they DM me, they call me, they text me, wanting for me to train them. They would like the quickest guy—arguably the quickest guy in the world—to show them how he does what he does. What does he do? What does he put himself through? Fortunately for me, I'm a people person.
How would you describe your training style? What are you looking to improve in the athletes you work with?
My footwork, my agility drills, my workouts in the gym, everything you see on my Instagram—it has a purpose. It translates to every sport. When I work on my footwork, I work on several directions. Forward, backward, laterally. The main goal is how can I get there as quickly as possible? So what I really focus on is coming in and out of breaks as fast as possible. Accelerating from one position to another, then decelerating, then accelerating again. That's what I target. To me, that's what will separate you from competition. Not everyone works on fast-twitch muscles.
I'm very crazy, very unique, very innovative. A lot of stuff that you see me do, I had no influence from anyone. I discovered this on my own, so that's what I share with all of my athletes. It definitely works. I had Jeff and Isaiah tell me yesterday that they had never done footwork like that on the sand. And these are guys in the pros who have never done that. They told me they loved it. They felt tired after the workout, but if you feel tired, that's a good thing—it means you worked. I have over 200 clients in Miami now, and in just the last three months, I've worked with 10 professional athletes. Which is a blessing, it's just awesome. I'll make you a faster and quicker athlete, period.
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