My Story... Why I Became A Fitness Coach
At the age of 6 I picked up my very first dumbbell after my parents bought me a comic of the Incredible Hulk… Along with that I was a big fan of Arnold from the terminator movies and Sylvester Stallone from Rocky.… it was ingrained in me from a very early age that hard work was necessary to look like these action heros I looked up to.
By 13 years old I was already benching 200 pounds and my parents were nervous about me getting hurt so they hired me a personal trainer Frank Trovato.
He quickly got me got me up to a bench press of 350lbs before the end of my freshmen year of high school …
I eventually developed other interests in highschool and got heavily involved with mixed martial arts with my buddy Caleb Schmitz … At 19 we rolled out to Michigan for me to have my first fight ( it was illegal in NY at the time ) and I ended up knocking out my opponent in the first round.
Then something happened….
I started getting sick non stop. I’d legit catch a cold or stomach bug once a month that would last 2 weeks, start training again just to get sick again… I couldn’t get a rhythm going and I eventually quit.
This along with many other factors happening in my life at the time sent me into a pretty deep depression… my entire identity was wrapped up in being physically active and that factor was gone….
Just turning 21 did not help as well. That’s when the bars became legal and I learned something very important during that time:
Positive coping mechanisms and negative coping mechanisms are both very real… the only difference is the negative coping mechanism will always make things WORSE!
Since I didn’t have fitness as a way to push … I turned to alcohol.
It wasn’t uncommon for me to put 20-30 shots in my system a weekend blacked out puking my brains out…. a lot of people go through this phase but for me it wasn’t about “ partying “ it was about escaping how I feel on a day to day basis.
Within 2 years I became the heaviest I’ve ever been, no energy, puking in my sleep from acid reflux and choking on it in the middle of the night, depressed , thinking I was a has been.
Being the athlete I was growing up, I had to compare who I was to who I became and HATED EVERY bit of who I was…. I knew deep down I was full of shit and that I had that drive begging to come out hidden behind a version of myself I can’t even recognize.
It was at my lowest point I remember the final straw was an important conversation I had with my buddy Caleb at applebees….. I remember I just kept saying “ I don’t care and he looked me dead in the face and said “ Yeah you do… stop lying to yourself because I can see it in your face you do care… you know what you gotta change … do it. “
At that point very important people helped me:
I called my buddy Guetti who owned a pizza shop I grew up hanging out at…I worked out with him a couple times before I let everything fall apart and knew he was a no bullshit hard worker… I hit him up and and was honest that I had zero drive , didn’t know who the fuck I was anymore and needed a workout partner and friend… I’d meet him at snap fitness in north chili 2-3 days a week and I’d tag along in his workouts.
My first hurdle, doing a push-up…. I had a pec tear that never healed right and I was terrified of doing a push-up that it was going to re-tear… he helped me get through that barrier and the new rule once I did one was I had to do 5 push-ups during my rest break…. I was super weak from no activity but managed 5 push-ups for at least a couple sets.
The next person who had a huge impact on my journey was my boxing coach Bernard Barco …. I loved boxing and knew I wanted to get back into that as well. I handed him my camera on our first session and had him film me hitting the tire with the sledgehammer ( it was already a few months into my journey but it’s the first thing I have documented of my journey since I was too ashamed to take pictures.)
Slowly, that person I once was started to come back… I was serving part time bouncing restaurant to restaurant and started reading books on self improvement… a book by Gary Vaynerchuk called Crush It: Turn Your Passion into your Business fell off the shelf and it altered the course of my life.
I almost became a personal trainer before I fell apart but I’m glad I didn’t….. it truly took losing my health to understand how damn important it is and I know and understand what both worlds are like.
I always wanted to have my own business. My buddy Guetti that owned the pizza shop had a huge impact on me, was always supportive and I respected the way he did things… I’m still planning on writing a book about that place ( Life lessons learned in a Pizza Shop)
I got certified and took the leap making every business mistake possible…. But I wasn’t going to quit… helping people that were in my boots was too important.
In 2017 I saw a post in facebook in Webster looking for personal trainers from Garrett Bacher
owner of ATR Fitness.
I hit him up,came in and didn’t know it at the time but just met one of my best friends.
He took me under his wing and over the last 5 years gave me ongoing advice that’s helped me build a full time personal training business.… this gym is truly like family and I feel at home.
I typically do anywhere from 35-40 sessions a week.
I am constantly pushing my physical and mental limitations. Currently I am taking gymnastics, competitively powerlifting, and am training to compete in boxing.. I practice what I preach everyday and even though my clients workouts aren't the same as mine I do my best to inspire whoever works with me what we are capable of and just because you're stuck doesn't mean you need to stay stuck... there is something bright on the other side if you're willing to put in the work!
Sometimes I get asked how do I always maintain such a positive attitude and constantly got this surge of inspiration……… it’s because I know what the alternative looks like & feels like… it's a dark place to be in and I will never allow myself to be there again.
I‘m driven to see others succeed and see lives change both physically and mentally. Outside of being able to pay my bills and enjoy life a little bit I never got into this career for the $$$$ , I got my life invested into it because I know the actual difference it can make. I got a card once from a former client saying thank you for everything this saved my life.
If you read this and it hit you that a serious change needs to happen congrats that’s the first step… if you read this and are in a good spot congrats keep on crushing it
If this inspires just one person to make a step in the right direction I won, I succeeded.
One thing my buddy Guetti told me that owned the pizza shop that’ll stick with me for life:
“ Success isn’t about how much money you’ve made, the size of your house, the car you drive…. Success is about impact, your influence on people…. How many people do you have a positive impact on over the course of your life. “
~Rise Above The Odds~