Growing up outside Philadelphia in the ‘90s, Eagles Starter jackets were standard dress. I was a runt and favored video games over sports.
I was weak. Ran slow. Couldn't throw. In 7th grade I almost lost an arm-wrestling match to a girl. For most of my youth, I was an undesirable pick in gym class.
At home, age and unhealthy habits ravaged the adults around me. When I was eight, I almost lost my Dad to a heart attack. I was angry that he didn't take better care of himself and even angrier that I couldn't make him.
Adult birthdays seemed less about celebration than dreading another decade. This idea that my body would imprison me slowly terrified me. If growing up meant getting helplessly fat, tired, and stiff, I wanted no part of it.
One day I noticed the incredible physiques of my favorite pro wrestlers. Larger than life but far from fiction…how did they get that way? Until then, I assumed the body we started with was the body we'd have forever. Was it possible to transform this body?
The breadcrumbs led me to bodybuilding, where unbelievable transformations were the norm. It shattered my beliefs, and gave me hope: once a runt, not always a runt.
Fitness leaders like Arnold and Jack LaLanne inspired me to master my own body. So I began taking my body seriously.
For the first time in my life, I felt confident in my body and my abilities. I liked the person I saw in the mirror. By changing my body, I realized I could change my life.
Over the years, I would build close to 50lbs of solid muscle mass and add hundreds of pounds to my strength across all lifts, completely drug-free.
Before long, I would help others do the same, like my friend who shed the stigma of "the fat kid”—and 92lbs—before our senior prom.
After school, I moved to Philly to study music. Classmates practiced for gigs while I tested every program and diet I could find. Soon I won my first trophies ever in drug-free bodybuilding.
The more I discovered, the more I accomplished, and the more I wanted to share my experience. With my first certifications, I began training at the YMCA and nearby universities, Drexel and UPenn.
I devoured all things body-transformational. I wanted to be the best coach around: wizard status, like Yoda and Obi-Wan.
But I needed more than books and lectures, I needed guidance.
During slow months, I shadowed trainers in the area and attended industry seminars. I visited collegiate weight rooms and gym owners across the nation.
Then in 2015, I moved to New York City to intern at PEAK Performance (voted one of the top 10 gyms in the nation by Men's Health). I returned to Philly with greater skill and confidence. The following year, Philly.com recognized me as Philly's Next Top Trainer.
And still I wanted better for my clients. I noticed their biggest obstacles weren't biomechanics or nutrition. With plenty of information on how to get healthy, people generally knew what to do. The struggle was doing it consistently.
That's when my focus shifted from the physiology - how to get fit - to the psychology - why bother in the first place?
I redirected my studies toward the art of coaching behavior change.
Since then I've continued dual roles as student and teacher in the art of developing a highly functioning body.
We're each given one body to rent during our time here.
We don't get to choose the body or how it got here.
But we do get to choose how we treat it:
Devotion or neglect - that's a choice.
Life's too short to be at odds with your body.
So building on my own journey, today I help people like you build a winning partnership with yours.
And remember, it's never too late to write a new chapter in your story.