Hometown: Bronx, New York
When and why did you come to Austin?
In 2012 I came to Austin looking for work. I left the East Coast and was looking for a fresh start. I worked as a back-waiter at Parkside and Olive and June.
What is your background? How did you get into personal training?
I’ve always been into sports, even as a kid. I did gymnastics, little league, karate, and played soccer in a competitive league in New York. Even though I loved basketball, my highest “rank” was a starter for my high school JV team. With more hard work, I earned a spot as a backup player on the varsity basketball team, paired with Varsity Kicker for the football team. I also ran varsity track for multiple years. I loved running middle and long distances. My best mile time was 4:52, and my best 800m helped break a long standing high school record.
I also discovered the gym early on, before I was actually allowed to. At the YMCA they had a rule that no kids unaccompanied by a parent could enter the free weights area of the gym. I literally had to wait until I was of age to go to the YMCA gym. Every time I saw someone leave that part of the gym as they just finished their lift, it made me think to myself that there is something to be gained lifting against free weight and pushing the body to the limit. My high school PE teacher was also big into weight lifting, and it was really cool to be able to enter a college level gymnasium as a high school student and learn from him from a young age. The people in my life left a good impression of what training should look like.
Being an athlete has been embedded in my life from the very beginning, with soccer practice, basketball practice, drills, running laps, stairs, strength training, karate training (weapon training). All of the versions of practice impressed on me that there are so many ways to move your body. All it took was a mindset switch to make it my passion. I took what I was learning on the field (or court or track or gym) and applied it to life. I want others to experience life physically the way I was allowed to. This is what I live for.
What are your current fitness goals and training:
Currently, I’m working on getting my vertical jump higher to play recreational basketball. I enjoy playing multiple times a week, so the plyometrics along with flexibility/mobility work aid in my flight journey. Since gaining mass for powerlifting, I’ve been thinking about getting back to 200 lbs. Ideally I’ll get there with little to no muscle loss, but I have to lose 35 lbs, so that’s a new goal I want to achieve safely.
What is the most common fitness myth you work through with your clients?
The most common myths I see are around food and strength. Food in the sense that most of my clients don’t account for their overeating. They all tend to improve their eating habits but they don’t adjust their total calories according to their goals. The most common weight loss issue is that even with positive changes, my clients are eating too much food with too little net movement. Adding in some movement every day seems to get people rolling in terms of tangible growth in the gym.
The flip side to this is strength. More specifically, what the concept of strength really means and that it can’t be attained. It’s frustrating to hear someone say being strong is for “someone else” or, “they can do it, but I can’t.” In my 10 years of experience, nearly every person who was battling injuries and chronic pain from training, running or even sitting at a desk all needed to get stronger. I have learned being strong is a choice, and it is for everyone. It is not an unattainable or intangible thing. Strength is real and it starts in the mind. When we unlock our minds, the body follows.
What do you want your clients to take away from each training session with you?
I want clients to leave my sessions feeling better about themselves and believing they are durable, or ‘harder to kill.’ It’s my goal to help every client feel that way. I’ve learned that some people aren’t ready to accept the truth that strength is for them, but I wait patiently, curating workout after workout until they cultivate the mindset and start to surprise themselves.
What sets you apart from other fitness professionals?
I would say the safe space I create with my clients. Once diet changes occur and the training is taken care of, the environment that me and my clients share forms another layer of the best training session my client can receive. I know there are a lot of professionals that approach training this way, and what separates me from them is my heart and vulnerability. I show each person that side of me and I strive to connect on a deeper level with my clients. I’m not just a trainer or a coach, I’m a person to talk to and I’m always in their corner.
What is your favorite thing about Austin Simply Fit?
My favorite thing about Austin Simply Fit is the feeling I get when I walk into ASF’s Central location. I’ve been training here for a solid 10 years, and I’ve gained much respect for the abundance of different training methods that happen in these walls. I’ve seen athletes and clients from different sports, of different ages, genders and backgrounds all come in here to do the same thing: accomplish their health and fitness goals.
Favorite quote and who said it?
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan