CWU News

CWU Alum Making a Name for Himself in Hollywood as a Personal Trainer

Josh Murillo with actor Jack Champion at the premiere of "Avatar: The Way of Water"

CWU alum Josh Murillo had the honor of attending the "Avatar: The Way of Water" premiere with actor Jack Champion.

CWU College of Business alumnus Josh Murillo made his mark on the silver screen recently as a personal trainer for one of the stars of the recent blockbuster hit “Avatar: The Way of Water.” The 2009 Central graduate was featured last week in both the Yakima Herald-Republic and on Fox 41 for his three years of work on the film with actor Jack Champion.

Murillo played baseball for CWU and moved to Los Angeles after graduation to pursue a career in sound recording and mixing for music, film, and TV. It was there that he discovered his passion for personal training.

“I started going to the gym more and pretty soon that was the only place I wanted to be,” Murillo told Fox 41. “I got a job at the gym and worked my way up to being a manager.”

From there, Murillo was introduced to the world of stunt work, and he went on tour with “Marvel Universe Live!” playing a superhero in arena-sized shows across the world. As his renown within the stunt world grew, his name reached the stunt coordinators for “Avatar.”

“I went through a bunch of interviews and plans for how I would get the results they wanted in the time frame that they needed,” said Murillo, who helped train Champion for his role as Spider. “They liked what I had planned and offered me the job, but they warned me how challenging it would be.”

The Yakima native was tasked with keeping Champion’s physique consistent all the way until the film wrapped in 2020, and he had the honor of sharing the red carpet with the star at the film’s premiere in late 2022. Through it all, Murillo has remained true to his roots and grateful for his community.

“The values I have really just come from my family, they come from Yakima, to be honest,” he said. “I think one of the things I picked up just growing up in Yakima is being able to work really hard and being able to treat people really well. Those were some of my family's major core values. Those were passed down from my grandmother. My parents operate that way, my sisters operate that way.”

Since the production of “Avatar” ended, Murillo has gone on to work with multiple high-profile studios. He also runs a digital training program called Josh in the Gym.

Media Contact: Rune Torgersen, Department of Public Affairs,,