I couldn’t tell you the last time I had this anxious excitement. I felt like a little kid staring at the presents under the tree on the night before Christmas. I was at a professional development meeting, or a “PD Day” in teacher lingo, and was waiting to get a message from my brother, James, that my delivery came. Periodically, I’d send a text when I had a break to get an update.


“It’s not here yet.”

“Not yet.”

“No. I’ll let you know when it comes.”

Finally, after seeing all the different variations of “no”, the message I’ve been waiting for came around 1:30 p.m.: “it’s here”. This was the best and worst news I could have gotten. Outside of the obvious reasons, this was great news because I wouldn’t need a second cup of coffee. I was wide awake. The bad news was I couldn’t leave for another hour. I couldn’t stop staring at the clock. You know how they say that holding a plank is the longest minute of your life? Multiply that by 60.

The EliteFTS delivery in my driveway. James took the picture as soon as it arrived. You can see the delivery truck in the background.

Once it was time, I speed walked to my car and raced home. It doesn’t sound like much, but ask anyone that’s ever been in a car with me. They’d say my definition of racing is to go through a yellow light and go five miles over the limit. However, today was different. For the first time in my life, I drove like a New Yorker.

When I made it home, I took a second to stare at the package in my driveway. There it was, inside the green bubble wrap was something I’ve wanted for 10 years: an eliteFTS power rack. Also included with the delivery was a Collegiate 0-90 degree Incline Bench and a Texas Power Bar. But the crown jewel was the power rack. Not just any power rack, but one custom built by eliteFTS.

To understand why this was so special, you need to understand the backstory. First, we need to go back 10 years. This was before I had any idea of ever becoming a coach. I was still working as a sports writer for the Newark Star-Ledger and needed to get myself back into shape. I let myself go pretty bad. I needed to get back into training and was searching all over the internet for the best program to follow. After scouring through various message boards and Google, I stumbled across two well-known coaches in New Jersey: Joe DeFranco and Jason Ferruggia. While looking through their stuff, I also found Jim “Smitty” Smith.

I started reading everything these guys put out. I’ll get more into that in another post. As I started following their programs, reading their content and watching their videos, I always noticed the eliteFTS equipment they had. The two things that stood out the most were the eliteFTS power rack and the Prowler sled. They all swore by eliteFTS and this was a common thread among many of the other top coaches I read.

Some nights at the office I was there until 2-3 a.m. and would read some of their work to cool off before heading out. As I got more into training, I started thinking about how cool it would be to have my own eliteFTS power rack. I couldn’t just have any rack, it had to be from eliteFTS because that’s what the best coaches were using. If I had that, I’d be all set. At least that’s what I thought at the time.

I was still living at home, so it was only a pipe dream. A couple of years later, I became a trainer and the thought popped into my head again. “Nah, you don’t have the money for it.” Then the thought went away until January of this year.

First, I went over my friend Casey’s house. He had shown me pictures of all the work he had done on the place and to finally see it all complete was pretty cool. I was proud of him. Then, a month later, I helped my friend Matt move into his new house. The place was beautiful. Whenever I go over someone’s house, I always map out where I would put a home gym. After seeing both of their places, I thought to myself, “why don’t I start turning my place into my own.” I’ve had my place for a couple of years, but you would have thought I was a runaway. There was nothing set up. I could leave seamlessly at any time.

At the gym, I was having a rough time getting my lifts in because of time. I had clients and could never get a bench or squat rack because it was overrun with powerlifters and wannabe powerlifters. So, with that, along with the inspiration gathered from seeing my friends’ places, I decided to treat myself.

I’ve talked to Matt Goodwin of eliteFTS at seminars and he always told me to give him a call when I was ready to get my own thing going. I was ready. I called him on my lunch break and, true to his word, he gave me the hook up. You would have thought I was opening a mega gym with the service he provided. Top notch all around and I was always tell everyone to go through him if you’re looking for quality gym equipment. He made sure to get me rack that would fit perfectly in my basement.

The finished product. eliteFTS Garage Line 3×3 Power Rack with Collegiate 0-90 Incline Bench and Texas Power Bar.

The assembly wasn’t too bad and my mom, James and I were able to get it into the house and assembled in a little less than three hours. That isn’t too bad since none of us are really handy. The package happened to come a day before they closed the schools down because of the pandemic.

We lucked out with the timing, but this wasn’t bought because I expected the world to close down. That wasn’t even on my mind when I put in the phone call in February.

This was a dream I’ve had for 10 years. When I look at the eliteFTS logo on what is my power rack, I think back. I think back to when I was working at the paper and this was nothing more than a wild idea that I never expected to happen. This was a result of working and saving up money so I could do purchase this without hesitation. Some people dream of getting an in-ground pool or fancy car. This is my variation of that. This was a major piece in turning a place into my home.