My fitness journey started where most other California fitness pro’s journey does not start: on ice. Before I can even remember, I have always had a deep love and passion for playing hockey.
I grew up in an active family. My mom is a trainer and my dad is an avid runner. Between the two of them I was always staying active and was interested in all sports. I would follow my mom to the gym while she taught an aerobics class, I would do my “hockey” exercises in the downstairs gym, and then go to the rink for practice. These were the two places that I knew best and would consider myself both a “rink rat” and a “gym rat.” I grew up playing a few other sports, but hockey was always “it.” I met all of my closest friends through hockey, learned so many life lessons through hockey, and am where I sit today because of what the sport has done for me.
When I was 14 I was recruited to play hockey at the Northfield Mount Hermon School which is a prep school in Massachusetts. This was a huge break for me but also a huge decision. The following school year was one of the first times in my life where I had to make a life changing choice. I don’t know if you remember being 14 or 15, but making a decision to possibly move 900 miles away from home forces you to grow up fast. This was also one of the first times in my life that I realized doing something I love could lead to bigger opportunities.
I decided to go and my prep school experience was unbelievable. It was here that I really grew up. I was forced to think deep… and I mean REAL deep. My first class was a humanities class all about searching the “meaning of life.” To be 15 and to even begin to ponder that question is beside me but this place got my mind right for the rest of my life. Through my four years I had roommates from Germany, Jamaica, and China who taught me more than most of my classes. The diversity of the school was a game changer that allowed me to connect with people from all over the world. Also, I began to take other interests. I played football, lacrosse, ran track and cross country, as we were encouraged to play other sports. I found the “training” for each of these individual sports to be very interesting too. I would have never known that I was good at other sports unless I went here and don’t know if I would have taken interest in training unless I tried other sports. On top of that, I was forced outside of my comfort zone in other areas such as being a student leader, student ambassador, student deacon, and a student tour guide. I started to realize that there were other things in life that I was passionate about besides hockey.
The next four years I decided to go to college at John Carroll University in Cleveland where I played hockey and was an exercise science major. My experience was awesome. I helped take a college that really didn’t have a great hockey program and helped them win a league championship and bid at the national tournament my senior year as a two year captain. It was a privilege to be on a team, turn it around, and leave it better than when I got there.
It was at John Carroll that I decided to make strength and conditioning my craft. I suffered injuries in my high school years and was forced to train smart and efficient in college. I was pretty proud that I played in every single game of my college career, whereas I was forced to sit out in high school at least once a year due to injuries. I found it so cool to go to the gym and understand how different exercises could help me on the ice. I loved it. I even started leading the workouts and eventually helped write them. This was the turning full circle of my passion between hockey and training. The gym inside of the rink at John Carroll was like home for me.
During my freshman year of college my mom introduced me to Todd Durkin after she heard him speak at an IDEA conference in D.C. She got me his book and I started following Todd through college. I’d watch his videos, read about him, read his book, and was inspired by him to pursue a degree in exercise science. I felt a tremendous need to be as close to sports as possible out of college and this was it.
During this time I was subscribed to Todd’s newsletter. Come my senior year I got a TD Times email and one of the articles was from an intern. This got my brain thinking. What college kid would not want to spend summer learning from the best at Fitness Quest 10? I applied and was accepted into the internship program and had an immediate love for the place, found the best mentor anyone could have in Todd Durkin, had an opportunity to help people live their best life, and was asked to come back as a trainer a few months later. Becoming a trainer was literally a dream come true for me. It is crazy to go from a “fan” watching, reading the “IMPACT Body Plan,” to a trainer in a matter of a few years.
Again, I found something that I loved to do, worked hard at it, and it led to a bigger opportunity. If you were to tell me a year ago that I would be living in San Diego I would never believe you. FQ10 inspired me to do what I love and to do the best I can at it. In return, this is one of the most important reasons for why I train and do what I do. I train to help people live their best life, realize the greatness they have in them, and to reach their biggest goals.