People often ask me how I got to where I am today as both an athlete and a trainer. I have been active my whole life, but it wasn’t predisposed in my genes or surroundings. I consider myself very lucky to encounter good friends along the way who first led me down the path of organized sports, then personal training to fill the void of team camaraderie, and then the world of triathlon when I moved back to New York City. On this journey I have learned to plan for my goals, define them, and find purpose in achieving them.
My family is not very active, but it has been very supportive of my various endeavors. My mother and sisters encouraged me and supported me to take on new risks at a very young age. Growing up I had a group of friends that lived for sports; we played everything from football to basketball to baseball to skateboarding! If it meant physical activity, we were doing it. This love of sport only grew with time and soon cemented itself into my approach to living.
My first encounter with organized sports started when I began playing hockey around age 10 or 11. At that tender age, I already knew that there was something special and unique about the dynamic of team sports. Everything up until then was street yard fun. Hockey opened my eyes to something new: camaraderie, a sense of belonging, and a support group of like-minded individuals. I played in leagues for several years at SkyRink in NYC loving every minute I spent on the ice. I expanded my horizons to wrestling after those prepubescent years, and hockey became my new focus in highschool.
I view those years as very formative, and they paved the way for a new mindset and approach to my future. The athletics program in college was pretty small and didn’t have Hockey or Wrestling. I had to adapt to this new situation, and took on running and lifting to fill the void. But I really missed training with a team. In 2002, I started personal training at a Bally Total Fitness. I put all of my time into training, work, and school - in that order. I had a few workout partners, but it just wasn’t the same.
New York City had always been my heart and my roots, and I returned there after graduation. I decided to change up my routine yet again, and set my eyes on a new goal: triathlon. I trained alone for several months before I discovered Full Throttle Endurance (FTE). Joining FTE was a turning point in my life and career! Through triathlon, I discovered a new talent in a sport I had never competed in or expected. I had no real swim, bike or run training. This was all new and with a lot of dedication and work I picked it up quickly. This required such a commitment, but it was a labor of love and I gladly put in the hard work and hours to train and learn this sport. I found a true passion in triathlon, and it felt like there was no stopping me. Triathlon also gave me a niche in my career for coaching.
While hockey taught me to love sports, triathlon taught me to reach for impossible heights and to overcome mental roadblocks with fiery determination.
To be successful, you must surround yourself with like-minded and motivated people that will pick you up when you fall and keep you on the path of steady progression. Looking back on my time training with FTE, I feel so lucky to be surrounded by highly motivated, successful, healthy and generally positive people. If you are looking to achieve something, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, running a race, climbing a mountain or building muscle, you have to consider potential roadblocks that could prevent you from reaching your goals. These roadblocks aren’t always obvious.
Hold yourself accountable and remember to only accept the best you can possibly give... and then some more.