I’m 36 years old and was born in Maryland as the youngest of four siblings. Both of my parents are Naval veterans. We moved to Buffalo when I was 7 years old. I was the farthest thing from an athletic kid my whole life. I played sports in high school — soccer, lacrosse — but was underweight and not really built for it.
I went to college at Canisius for digital media arts, learning web design, animation, photography, etc., and was still very far from the fitness world. After college I moved to Brooklyn without a plan and lived the starving artist lifestyle for over 3 years.
I moved back to Buffalo around the time my dad was diagnosed with dementia in 2009, in order to spend more time with my family. In the past 10 years since I’ve been back I’ve built a career in application development as a user experience, user interface designer.
What is your history with the health & wellness/fitness world? How has your trajectory brought you to where you are today?
You can see my background was always very removed from the wellness community. My involvement started later in life. My whole life I have battled with terrible anxiety and light depression, having panic attacks since the age of 10. I started lightly going to the gym at the age of 30. Within a span of under two years, I lost my dad, a close friend passed away due to cancer, and a long term relationship I was in ended. With all of this, my depression and anxiety was firing at 110 percent.
My options were to be destructive or constructive, and gratefully I had amazing friends and family around, so constructive with the easy option. I dedicated the next phase of my life to being a better me and dedicated much of my free time to taking care of myself, crossfit, gymnastics class, running, yoga, and rock climbing. Fitness helped push me through the hardest part of my life, and once the hard parts were passed and life returned to normal I found myself in love with the lifestyle I had developed, so I kept it up.
How I got involved in being a fitness instructor in this world comes directly down to two people: Rob and Morgan Karp. My best friend started dating MJ, and shortly after she too quickly grew to be one of the closest people in my life. As soon as SWEAT opened, MJ encouraged me to give instructing a try. Since then I now have two fitness certifications and an amazing group of students and people I get to work with every week.
What is your primary role at SWEAT? How long have you been with the studio? Where else do you instruct, if anywhere? What is your major area of expertise?
My primary role at SWEAT is a part-time instructor teaching just a few classes a week. My areas of expertise are TRX (certified), kettlebell, and core. SWEAT is the only place I currently teach at.
Do you have a particular ethos about health & wellness/fitness that you wish to share or that would be inspirational to someone coming into the world with no prior knowledge or experience?
My approach to health and wellness is to only compete against yourself and your best is enough. We are all at different places and starting points so you won’t find happiness in trying to compare yourself to someone else and how they are doing.
Do you have any other words of wisdom or advice you can share with people considering a new fitness journey in 2020?
The best advice I can give someone is: it’s ok to fail.
We only learn from failure and mistakes, it’s all about
what you do after it that matters. A cheat day, or a gym
skip day will happen and that’s okay, we learn and start
back from there and keep going forward.