Strength training has been one of the largest influences on my life over the last decade. It has built me up….and humbled me all in the same sessions. Without training, things would be A LOT different.
First, I have a confession – looking back at my high school I largely consider myself a waste of talent. I was blessed with size and athleticism, but I threw them away by never getting serious about training. I am still disappointed to this day.
I attended a small Catholic high school in Binghamton, New York which was not known for its sports programs. I enjoyed sports, playing football, basketball, and baseball. Unfortunately, all I did was dabble with strength training.
We did not have any organized lifts at the high school to speak of, but my dad had a few friends that used to play big time college football. One offered to pick me up each morning and take me to the gym before school.
I loved it….but still didn’t get any stronger.
Honestly, I had no idea what to do at the gym. One day I would do all hammer strength machines, other days I would just bench and call it a day. Chin ups were too hard…never really did any of those.
Despite my lack of results at the gym, I was fortunate enough to get recruited as an offensive lineman and baseball pitcher. I decided to attend Colgate University and play football, but I still didn’t “get it“.
What do you think would happen to someone that was weak and taking the pounding of year round football program? You guessed it, I got injured. I went to all weight training sessions (mandatory), but still didn’t get many results. It wasn’t the programs’ fault, it was my lifestyle. Before I knew it I had gone under the knife 4 times for knee injuries.
I was at a cross roads. At 6 foot 5, 310 lbs, I had two choices. Continue living a lazy lifestyle or make a change. I finally “got it“. That summer between sophomore and junior year I lost 55 lbs on eating right and training hard. Working in a sheet metal shop making square pieces of metal out of flat ones all day with a hammer certainly helped as well!
Even though I lifted for nearly 5 years, I never got any noticeable results until it was too late for my sports career. I had to do it for my own personal health.
The pains in my knees were gone and I was finally down to a reasonable body weight. Just to see the difference, I decided to try out for 2 years of semi professional football. I went injury and pain free. It was an amazing difference!
After feeling the change, I made the decision to start a personal training career to help others avoid my massive mistakes. It started out small, 6 people in my small basement gym, including my own younger brother.
Fast forward 4 years, my younger brother is prepping for an NFL combine after earning All American honors as a fullback and we see 40+ athletes four days a week. Nine months ago we expanded to a new training facility and added more staff.
I honestly feel like the sky is the limit with strength training. I get the reward of seeing the next generation learn from my personal errors AND I have met some of the most outstanding individuals in the field.
NONE of this could have been possible until I got myself straightened out first – thanks to the iron!