Tell me a little about yourself and your background?
I am a New York native – born and raised in Brooklyn, in an Italian American family. I went to college in the Bronx at Fordham University, studying accounting with a minor in philosophy. Currently, I work for one of the big four accounting firms in Manhattan, and I dedicate most of my free time to fitness and my blog. I am 25 years old and have an older sister, who is not only my best friend but a blogger as well, so she has been a big help for me getting started.
What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?
This is a tough one because I genuinely enjoy every aspect. What jumps out at me most is how fitness makes me feel, both physically and mentally. Physically, I love not only feeling strong, but also in general just feeling healthy. When I am on point with my diet and exercise, I have a lot of energy and my body just feels like it’s operating as it should. Mentally, the confidence of someone who is comfortable in their own skin is one of the most valuable tools to harness. Fitness helps me achieve that.
How long have you been into fitness?
I have been interested in general health for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been active, enjoyed playing outside, and I grew up horseback riding (and still do!) I started getting into working out in high school when I started doing P90x with my uncle. It began with only the yoga and boxing videos, but I eventually started doing them with him every day. My junior year of college I upgraded to workouts in the on-campus gym with heavier weights. I switched over to the gym mostly because it was convenient to do so, since I had free access to my campus gym, but I fell in love with the weights and continued after college.
How did you get into fitness?
Taking aside the fact that living an active lifestyle basically runs through my blood, I think that surrounding myself with like-minded people really helped get me started in the fitness space. I was dating someone at the time who had been doing P90x for multiple rounds, and my uncle was doing the same thing. I was a little bit skeptical at first because I had never before done home videos or guided workouts, but the two of them together convinced me that I would be a good candidate to give it a shot. Even though I started only with the yoga and boxing videos, the feeling of getting a great workout in and being sore was addictive, and I committed to starting my own P90x program after just a couple of weeks.
What was a turning point for you to take it seriously?
I had done P90x on and off for a while while still horseback riding and participating in my regular outdoor activities. In college I started utilizing the gym we had on campus, but I would really only run on the treadmill or lift light weights, to “tone.” I thought I was pushing myself, and was comfortable with how I looked and felt, so I would just go through the motions. I remember distinctly one day during my junior year I was hanging out in the office of my on-campus job and one of my co-workers innocently and jokingly teased me for having skinny legs. I had always been kinda twiggy growing up, and exercising helped to put some meat on my bones, but by no definition of the word was I “curvy.” I always prided myself in my active lifestyle, and it was a wake-up call to realize that I looked “skinny” more than I looked “fit.” I realized that I wasn’t pushing myself nearly as hard as I could, and this realization motivated me to talk to one of my friends who was on track to becoming a personal trainer and have him help me learn the ways of the bar.
How has fitness impacted your life?
Aside from the obvious impact of it making me physically stronger, being dedicated to fitness has taught me a lot about myself. It’s taught me my own personal limitations, but more importantly has showed me how to overcome them. There’s nothing more grounding than realizing the physical limitations of the weight of the bar on your shoulders, but it is also such a liberating feeling to learn how to push past that point. You have to learn to negotiate the balance between “this is too much, I should stop,” and “I can do this, let me try again.” Fitness has also taught me a lot about my own ability to be dedicated to something. When it comes to the gym, I am willing to wake up early, stay up late, even find a gym while on vacation, to keep my regimen. Knowing that I have that kind of dedication in me, I find it difficult to make excuses for putting off things that I really should do that I simply don’t want to.
What words of advice or encouragement would you like to give to someone who is just starting out or would like to start but doesn’t know where to begin?
Just start! Anything is better than nothing, and consistency is key. View your fitness goals as non-negotiable. Before it was a way of life, consistency was difficult for me just like anyone else. After a while, though, you become so engrossed with your routine and the benefits are so apparent and exhilarating, you will hold your gym sessions to the same importance that you hold things like brushing your teeth and showering. It will become a priority, rather than another one of those “extra” things you do that it’s so easy to put off.