On February 7, 2014 I officially became a certified trainer.

Roughly a year later, I didn’t know how much longer I’d be able to last doing this. I had my dreams of what I wanted to do, but wasn’t sure if I’d be able to accomplish them. If you would have told me I’d still be training and told me about all of the experiences I’d have and people I’d meet, I wouldn’t believe you.

But, before we get into all that, let me tell you about how I actually got into training.

In August of 2013, I was driving up to go see my dad in Pennsylvania. I was soaking in the last bits of summer before getting ready to cover another high school football season. The newspaper year is a drag with six-to-seven day work weeks and you’re working around 70 hours per week. I loved writing, but didn’t know how much more I could do because I was seeing all the friends I made over the years losing their job and figured it was only a matter of time before I was next. I was laid off from a job right after college, but I was getting older and didn’t know if I’d be able to find another job because there were fewer and fewer available.

I needed to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. While in school, I only thought about two things, being a sports writer or a special ed teacher. With that in mind, I had to figure out a way to get into the school system, and I did. I also thought about training. Around 2010, I got in really bad shape and started looking up all these things on nutrition and ways to train like an athlete. I started really getting into it and loved sharing what I learned with others, even though nobody listened. By the end of the car ride, I said I’m going to look more into becoming a trainer.

Print out I received after taking the test letting my know I passed. From February 7, 2014.

I had no idea how to get into training. I decided to ask John Errichello from my gym to see if it was actually possible. I’ve known John since I was in high school and he’s always been good to me and my family. I was nervous because I didn’t want to come off as disrespectful by asking. (It’s actually funny looking back at it now because of all the people I see online selling “training” and “nutrition” when they have no idea what the hell they are talking about.) John, like always, was helpful and told me it was possible. He said I had to get certified through NASM to work at the gym and he’d help me with things along the way.

I wound up studying the textbook every night when I got home from work around 1 a.m. and would meet with John once a week to go over things. That led to me getting certified in February of 2014 and starting my time as a trainer.

Now, I had to break up my 10 years into four parts. There’s a lot to include so I had to turn this into three posts.


The first year was tough. I wasn’t really sure of what I was doing outside of the basics I learned in the textbook. I didn’t know how to deviate from the plan when necessary. Plus, you start off with zero clients and my ability to close a client was similar to Aroldis Chapman in an elimination game. Not good.

The goal I always had in my head was that I wanted to be able to train athletes of all ages. In order to do that, though, you need to actually train people. Fortunately, I have this optimism that things will always work out in the end if you work hard and that’s what got me through the first year.

After a few whiffs, I finally landed my first client in Theresa Folino. She was the perfect person to start off with. She was coming off of an injury and just wanted a plan to help her slowly get back into lifting. She wasn’t looking for anything crazy, which was good because I couldn’t offer anything outside of the basics anyway.

Theresa was my only client for a while, but then the schedule started to fill up a bit. First, I picked up Claire from Kim Kehoe, who trained my mom for a long time, and we started trying some new things I was learning about and they were working. Everything was new to me at this time and with the gym pretty empty in the morning, we did a lot and she was always up for the challenge. Then, the girl who would keep me sane during the late night sessions during the school year and was always positive, Jennifer Mac Imperatrice, came aboard. Poor Jen went through the sled and different exercises I was learning and, thankfully, was always up for the things I wanted to try out.

One of Jene’s goals was to be able to flip the tire. She did it in May, 2015.

Right after Jenny Mac signed up, I picked up a client who gave me and other members of the gym laughs and memories for years. Jene Romeo made every session fun and was someone who everyone in the gym knew. Years after she finished training with me, people would still ask about her. There’s a million Jene stories I could tell, but everyone loved watching her flip the tire and use the battling ropes. She wanted to be able to go on archeological digs again and fully embraced exercises like tire flips and deadlifts. What made her so great was she always asked about the progress of my other clients and how they were doing.

Finally, in the fall, I picked up my first athlete, Joe Desilvio. And he was a baseball player for Farrell. I could get into the “why” of my desire to train athletes in another post, but when him and his mom walked in to inquire about training, I had flashbacks to when my mom first took me to the gym to sign up for training. I didn’t know much, but I was determined to try and figure it out to help him.

I had other clients during this time, but it was these people who I still think about when I look back on my first year. These are the people that kept me optimistic about the business, even when the optimism was starting to fade away.

The optimism was starting to get replaced with the reality of the situation. I wasn’t making much money and knew I was still at the bottom knowledge wise. The reason it wore me down so much was that I didn’t know how to get better. I didn’t really know the resources I needed. I kept hearing that I had to get the book “Super Training” because it was the bible for coaches in the sports performance world. When I opened up the book, the first couple of pages felt like they were written in another language. I felt stuck and didn’t know how to get out.