The X2F Story


It was a collision of pain and passion that resulted in a program sweeping the nation…

When Stephen Vaughn began developing Xcel 2 Fitness, it was a collision of his passion (of teaching physical education and creating workouts for adults under his A.C.E. Trainer Certification) and the deep personal pain experienced from the loss of his father after a brief 6 month battle with cancer. With that loss came the heightened realization of the importance for kids to have strong guidance, positive influences, and added support in life to help them in becoming young men.


Founder, Stephen Vaughn, speaking and empowering kids to be Dream Chasers.

Founder, Stephen Vaughn, speaking and empowering kids to be Dream Chasers.

Stephen graduated college in December of 2005 and taught in middle school as well as an alternative high school before starting a job in 2008 teaching on the elementary level. While teaching, in 2009 Stephen started to develop X2F. Through the pain of losing his father and the passion he had for teaching it was his avenue to make a difference beyond the walls of his school. In 2011 X2F launched in 3 elementary schools around the Charlotte NC area. One of the final factors that led to fully committing to developing and growing X2F was when he created a Dream Wall in his classroom. He noticed that all kids wrote with a clear sense of hope seeing the opportunity rather than obstacles and that by displaying these dreams and having them visible challenged the kids intrinsically day in and day out to be greater. And through strategic team based games and challenges in his classroom he observed the excitement around these games and challenges sparked smiles resulting in higher participation; with participation created improvement; improvement generated confidence, and confidence sparked passion. He knew he had the combination to something special by combining fun and functional fitness based games and challenges based around speed, agility, balance, and cardio to engage every ability level while embedding character development conversations about being a Dream Chaser. The character development dialogue discussing the importance of reaching for your passion, building the right team around you in life, and developing the grit to overcome your obstacles was the perfect combination to deliver the message and empower participants to begin striving daily for their greatness.

“I remember standing in front of a class the last year I taught in 2013 after having them go through the Dream Wall exercise. I choked up in front of a group of 1st graders when I thanked them for being excited about becoming something in life and wanting to chase their dreams. I held back the tears and pushed back the lump in my throat as in that moment I realized that in order to challenge and encourage kids through X2F to be Dream Chasers I had to first be one myself. I wanted to provide an option that helped them gain traction to their dreams vs lose that sense of hope that I recognized was in danger of diminishing with age having taught at the middle school and high school level early in my teaching career. That was my last year of teaching and I jumped into developing and growing X2F full time with no safety net. At the time I had a 1 year old at home and a wife just finishing school, it was a scariest thing I had ever done, but I knew I had to in order to maximize the impact I knew Xcel 2 Fitness was capable of making.”

Since 2011, X2F has grown into 8 states, impacting over 6,000 boys, and growing rapidly. Just like we continually tell participants in X2F to have big dreams, we have a big vision for X2F and the impact it is going to continue to have in empowering more boys to be Dream Chasers.