I always had this innate feeling towards fitness. It all came very naturally to me, almost like I had done it before. I never felt like a fish out of water in the gym. As a 5th grader growing up playing football in Chicago, Illinois, I was able to utilize the weight room at my high school, setting me apart from other kids in my grade. My training involved techniques kids my age wouldn’t have even considered.
My experience evolved when I moved to Columbus, Ohio in the 8th grade because their football program, training techniques and facilities were even more progressive than back in Chicago. It was wild.
When I moved to Buffalo, New York my junior year of high school the schools didn’t have access to the level of equipment I was used to. It almost felt as if my training was taking a step backwards. That’s when I built a gym in the basement of my house where my teammates and I worked out constantly.
I was fortunate to come up on the wave of the fitness revolution. At that time there was a lot of research and progression in the world of fitness and I wanted to learn more. Looking back at what we did in the 80s, which at that time was cutting edge, is now pretty much obsolete. I was never satisfied. I always knew there was more and the field was always evolving. I needed to be a part of it.
With my passion for constantly improving my knowledge and athletic ability I was able to excel. When I had the opportunity to play at the college level I couldn’t turn it down. I was originally recruited to play at Kent State, but ended up at Cortland State. It ended up being a great opportunity due to one of the country’s top programs in exercise science. Funny how things work out.
At that age no one really knows what they want to do in life and I wasn’t any different, but being a part of that team and at that school, my calling became clear to me. I never wanted to be a teacher, but I what I do is teaching.
I graduated from Cortland State with my BS in Physical Education with a concentration in Sports Medicine. I am a member of the American College of Sports Medicine and National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and hold a number of other certifications.
After graduation I continued playing football in the NFL, CFL and AIFA leagues. It was amazing to have the opportunity to play football in the AIFA league in Italy for 3 years. After my first season overseas I lived in New York City and worked with a well-known personal trainer. In preparation for the end of my football career I took the New York City Police Exam. I received a call to report for my NYC Police Physical during my second season in Italy and was extremely lucky to have the opportunity extended until after my return.
When my time in Italy was up I came back to Columbus and made a stop in Buffalo to see my parents. At this point I was unsure if I wanted to go back to live in Ohio, head to Chicago, venture out to sunny California or finally report for the NYC Police Physical Exam.
In the fall of 1987 I put everything else aside. I decided to plant some roots in Buffalo and opened up Body Blocks. Personal Training to the extent I was exploring was new in this area, but I wanted the chance to bring my knowledge of the field to our community.
At first everyone told me I was nuts. No way would this work. Regardless, I opened January 4, 1988 and by April I was so busy that I already had to hire 2 more trainers.
It was a challenge having to prove to everyone the first year that I wasn’t crazy. I tore up my NYC Police papers for my physical exam that upcoming May and I have never looked back. This January marks our 25th Anniversary.