It was a very natural thing for me to want to do. Nobody ever told me that I had to–in fact, I was actually discouraged (my overprotective mother was worried I would hurt myself).
I started with push-ups and pull-ups, then got into lifting weights during high school. Opting to take weight training as phys ed. credit was a great way to get out of playing actual sports (like I said, I was lanky and unathletic).
In college, I began to get very interested in bodybuilding and finding out how the body works. There wasn’t any major at Binghamton University that seemed relevant to that pursuit, so I followed my love of the written word and became an English major instead.
Upon graduating from Binghamton in 2001 with a degree in English, I took a job as an ESL teacher (English as a Second Language). After teaching for a year, I decided to pursue personal training. I liked helping people learn, but ESL wasn’t a good fit for me. Having been a hardcore fitness enthusiast for years at that point, I had already done many hours of my own research and personal experimentation. When it came time to get certified to be a trainer, I didn’t need all that much preparation. The first certification I received was from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), and I later went on to become a CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist).
I officially started working (getting paid) as a personal trainer in Chicago in 2003, first independently, training a few friends in their homes and then in early 2004 at the Lakeshore Athletic Club. It was also around this time that I first discovered Zen Buddhism. Over the years, my interest in Eastern philosophy has greatly impacted the way I approach fitness.
When I moved back to NYC in 2005, I began working for New York Health and Racquet Club and was lucky enough to be part of the original team that opened the location near Astor Place. During my time with NYHRC, I worked with many high profile clients, including athletes, models, the elite business class, and even an Olympic medalist. I quickly became one of the most successful trainers in NYHRC history, and in December of 2008, I set a new company record for personal training sales. Never one to be complacent, in early 2010, I boldly left to go off on my own.
In the last few years I’ve kept busy training people at local parks, independent gyms and other out-of-the box scenarios using stripped-down, minimalist methods. My workouts have shifted away from traditional weight training in favor of calisthenics. Both are great methods for building strength, but I love the simplicity of bodyweight training. You don’t need equipment – plus you can do it outdoors!
Personal training is my passion because, aside from just finding exercise and the human body to be fun and fascinating, being able to have such a positive influence on other people is very fulfilling. Through writing about fitness, I get to combine two of the things I love most. Remember, however, that websites and books can only do so much. There is no substitute for actually working intimately with an individual in a personal setting.