“This is pretty much my life,” said Cruz, 29, who spends about two hours, five days a week at Gold’s Gym. The day we swung by there, he was lifting weights with buddy Jason Brittain.

Both were wearing Forever Faith fitness apparel, a line that Cruz developed with his brother, David Cruz, who lives in California. That was part of the reason we came by; mostly, though, it was the story that led to it – a life-altering stint in prison that strengthened his Christian faith and stoked his entrepreneurial passion, all stamped with his slogan, “If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.”

“I’ve never been one to judge,” Abraham Cruz told us a few days before. “We all make mistakes. It’s simple: No one is perfect. The question is, where’s your heart at?”

Born and raised in the Los Angeles area, Cruz was close to his mom, Ana Veglovarria; half-sister, Marta Lind; and his brother, all of whom live in Newport Beach.

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