Ace & Nasm Certified Personal Trainer — See My Full List of Credentials
My story of health & fitness is a long one, with way too many details to share in the paragraphs I’ve wrote here, but I felt it was important to share a piece of my background. Anyone who works with me wants to change something in their lives for the better. I couldn’t effectively help them unless I’ve experienced that same need for change.
As a kid growing up, my personality and stature leaned toward the ‘geeky’ side to say the least. I never considered this to be a negative aspect – but to the casual observer I was the short, frail kid with some seriously thick eyeglasses. (No joke, I even had that piece of black tape above the nose, holding the frames together.) I loved the simple, innocent fun of life and always tried to keep an outwardly positive attitude, but behind that I was all too often scared & intimidated by what seemed to be everyone & everything.
As I got older, my lack of confidence lead to being picked on a bit by the guys and generally ignored by the girls. High school became less enjoyable and my grades gradually got worse. I just starting feeling a bit trapped. This was around the time I began my first job as a lifeguard and swim instructor. I decided to try and take matters into my own hands by starting to lift weights. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and no one to guide me, but I thought if I put on some muscle I’d at least be at the receiving end of a few less jokes and maybe by some stroke of luck actually get a date.
Years went by with less than spectacular results, but I managed to stay consistent with exercise. Weightlifting didn’t mold me into the superhero I had pictured in my mind, but it always was a good way to let off some steam and clear my head. Beyond that, some of my efforts did build up a little confidence by the time I graduated college to enter the workforce. It was time to face the world a little more independent and create a life for myself.
I was lucky to have an amazing family. My friends became life-long ones. (Girls began noticing me!!!) I settled in with a career, bought a condo, got a social life, and eventually met the girl of my dreams. Seemed like things would be right out of the textbook from here on out. Finally time to kick back, shift into auto-pilot, and soak up what the universe had to offer. The human nature of that complacency combined with the insecurities of my past (that I thought I had grown past) pointed towards a dangerous path that changed my life.
I worked as an engineer in the fast paced, corporate environment of the big city. Very exciting at first for a kid right out of college – generous salary, high end projects – I was on my way up to the big leagues. Nearly a decade passed. Throughout that time, there was always this feeling I had that something wasn’t right, but I forced to keep it hidden to myself, and by default, everyone else. The shock to my system I needed happened when I was donating blood one evening after work on a winter night in 2007. They took my blood pressure reading and it was 152/100. How could that be possible? I’m young, I work out a few times a week, I eat pretty healthy, and I take care of myself. There is no way I have high blood pressure. Then I looked back at the past decade to my current life. I commute 2-3 hours a day fighting traffic, constant train delays – even the weather made it worse. Worked was piled on my desk the moment I walked in – messages, emails, meetings – all needing immediate attention to prevent the apocalypse. Lunch breaks disappeared. Even a few minutes having a friendly conversation with a coworker was impossible if I wanted to even consider being able to catch a decent train home. Every deadline I met was preceded by three more I had to somehow had to finish at the same time. Projects were no longer about doing a good job. They were about the bottom line, climbing the corporate ladder, covering up mistakes, shifting the blame, and moving on to the next one before anyone knew what happened.
My high blood pressure was only a small piece of what was happening with my health. My body ached from sitting 10 hours a day. My stomach was tied in knots with such consistency that I couldn’t eat without upsetting it. I couldn’t fall asleep at night anymore. If I did manage to doze off, I’d be wide awake a few hours later. Because of this I could barely stay awake at work. I was exhausted to the point that trying to do anything enjoyable on the weekend became a chore. I honestly didn’t have fun doing anything I used to enjoy because all I thought about was how stressed I was. I just wanted to sleep. Sad thing was I never told anyone about any of this. Scary thing is that I just accepted all of this as normal human behavior – it’s admirable to work hard, right? I lied to myself that the awful physical & mental side effects are just supposed to be part of the deal. My life and the world around me were literally disappearing while being chained to the desk chair in an office coffin.
Depression had a history in my family. I was drowning and ignored all the symptoms. I still can’t believe I was oblivious for so long, but that blood pressure reading finally opened my eyes. The solution was not with doctors and medications. It was from within myself. It was time to make a change, but my mind spun. What would I do? How could I make a living? Leave a high paying job in a bad economy where unemployment was at near record highs? That’s insane. Funny thing is that wasn’t insanity. Just sitting there and accepting what I was going through for so long was the truly crazy part.
After opening up to my girlfriend (now my wife) for the first time, our conversations brought up her mentioning my workouts. She said that I seemed to always enjoy them, why not take a hobby into a profession? The solution was right in front of me and I never even saw it. Her comment was the spark that ignited the fire. With realizing this, I also thought of something else. I’ve seen so many afflictions with family & friends – heart disease, cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s, stroke, the sad list goes on – I discovered it didn’t have to be like that. All these health conditions are things that can be prevented by being more active, eating better, and living a positive lifestyle. Everything I read proved it time and time again. My family & friends with those afflictions would still be around today if they had someone in their lives that helped them live healthier. I could not only improve my life, but I could even be the person to help change someone else’s.
I decided to become a personal trainer. I opened up to my immediate family & close friends about what I was going through the last ten years and what I was going to do about it. I researched what I needed to do to begin my career as a trainer, talked to those who could help, began to look at places I might work, and spent my last year in engineering studying and saving up as much money as I could to prepare for whatever happened.
The plunge was taken and I said goodbye to my engineering career on Thanksgiving week of 2008, and took the test for my first personal training certification that December. (My wife & I watched the movie Dodgeball the night before the test to mentally prepare me. Best study material ever.) I passed the test and hit the job search full throttle. After a few months of searching I was lucky enough to get my first training position at a chain mega-gym. It was a really tough, slow start, and I honestly questioned whether I had what it takes to be a trainer. My very first client on my very first day requested to work with another trainer after working with me. That moment was not encouraging the way I wanted it to be, but it was what I needed in order to push myself. I had no choice. I needed to succeed. I couldn’t go back to my old lifestyle.
I was able to gain some experience and education over the next year. Unfortunately, the business oriented aspect of the gym ended up being too much about profit and not enough about the client’s health. For the most part, people are a commodity to the big gyms. Honestly, it was all too much like the office life of the engineering world. Time to take what I’ve learned and move on.
My journey continues to this day and has expanded in directions I never dreamed possible. Over the past several years I have solidified my skills, knowledge, and talents. I can confidently assess a client’s needs and help them successfully achieve their health & fitness goals. The credentials and testimonials I have on my website expand even more on this.
There are many more lessons for me to learn in the future, but what I take from my story thus far is the following. I have the constant support of a loving family, the positive encouragement from close friends, the mutual respect of gifted colleagues, and the daily inspiration from incredible clients. All of you who I just mentioned do this for me in ways you probably don’t even realize. I cannot thank you all enough – what I can do though, is strive to make myself, those around me, and the world we live in better each day. To keep things simple. To keep things humble. To appreciate more and require less. I feel it’s the only way to show my respect to those who have come before me who truly earned their place in the world. People with much more interesting, heartbreaking, and inspiring tales than mine.
The transformation of that scared little boy to the superhero he always had hidden in his heart is still a long work in progress, but I push forward every day with every session. Thanks for stopping here for a visit and listening. Thanks for considering me as a personal trainer.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer
Over the past 25 years, ACE has become an established resource for both fitness professionals and consumers, providing comprehensive, unbiased, scientific research impacting the fitness industry and validating ourselves as the country’s trusted authority on fitness.
The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) recommend that club owners and individuals only hire personal trainers with certifications from agencies accredited through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) or an equivalent accrediting organization. Currently, the American Council on Exercise is one of only a handful of certifying agencies accredited by the NCCA.
National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer
For more than 20 years, the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has set the standard in certification, continuing education, solutions and tools for health and fitness, sports performance and sports medicine professionals. NASM has pioneered evidence-based health and fitness solutions that optimize physical performance and allow individuals to achieve a variety of fitness activity goals.
NASM certifications are the most sought after in the personal trainer industry, as its systems and methodologies represent the “gold standard” in fitness. In fact, the organization’s certifications require the most comprehensive knowledge of human movement science, functional anatomy, physiology and kinesiology, as well as functional assessment and program design. NASM solution-focused certifications create trainers who enhance the performance and knowledge of their fitness staff, provide a consistent training experience, and help reduce injuries.
National Academy of Sports Medicine Corrective Exercise Specialist
Helps clients and athletes prevent injuries, reduce movement deficiencies, improve muscle imbalances, and maximize results by creating safe, individualized training programs by identifying dysfunctions, developing a plan of action, and implementing corrective exercise solutions.
National Academy of Sports Medicine Performance Enhancement Specialist
Helps athletes accomplish their sports performance goals, maximize their potential, and reduce their risk of injury by designing integrated sports performance programs that include flexibility training, cardiorespiratory training, core training, balance training, plyometrics, speed, agility, and quickness, integrated multiplanar resistance training, and sport specific conditioning.
National Academy of Sports Medicine Fitness Nutrition Specialist
Teaches clients how to interpret labels, select appropriate portion sizes, and eat healthy. Educates clients about nutrition’s critical role in weight loss and management. Illustrates how energy balance, caloric needs, activity, metabolism, and food choices impact fitness goals. Provides clients with valuable handout materials, products to choose, menu planners, and online resources.
Bachelor’s Degree, Electrical Engineering – IIT
Illinois Institute of Technology. One of these things is not like the other, right? My Bio will help make a little more sense of this.
American Heart Association (AHA) Heartsaver CPR AED
Recognize and treat life-threatening emergencies, including cardiac arrest and choking for adult, child and infant victims.
New Leaf Certified Metabolic
Experience in active & resting metabolic testing with practical application to daily routines.