What seems like a lifetime ago now was actually a pivotal time in my life.
It was 1994 and I had just been hired as a Roulette and Black Jack Dealer at the Rio Hotel and Casino, here in Las Vegas, NV.
I had been in the gaming business for almost 3 years when I started at the Gold Coast at age 21. At that time I was not a very fit person. Although I never had a weight problem, I did have a health problem in the means of smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, drinking alcohol and eating fast food.
I pretty much lived on caffeine and nicotine and ate only one meal per day.
I was not a healthy person whatsoever but I was young and when you’re young, you don’t think things are going to affect you and you make poor choices.
I started working out at a gym because I was thin but I wanted to have a nice shape.
I began training at a local gym but I had no idea how to lift weights and I was a little intimidated.
So I became friends with one of the Dice dealers that I worked with, Anthony, who was going to Golds Gym and I asked him if I could go with him and if he would help me lift weights. He started meeting me at the gym after work and teaching me how to weight train. I had no idea how to lift weights but I wanted to learn. He was in great shape and was a really nice guy he showed me around the weight room and made it so much fun.
I was always an athletic kid into gymnastics, track and basketball, but I never had weight trained before so I was completely new to it.
Anthony met me every day after work and he showed me how to lift weights and train my body like a bodybuilder.
We basically trained one body part 5 days on and 2 days off.
Two Days Off repeat
We never did cardio and he always told me because I was thin, I did not need to. I think the way that he was training me with the weights was incorporating cardio because we moved at a pretty fast pace. The importance of this was that he taught me how to build muscle and change my physique, which happened quickly.
I trained with Anthony for six months and then he got a new job so we stopped working out together 🙁
I started going to the gym alone, but it was not nearly as motivating as training with him because he knew so much more than I did and he always pushed me to my fullest potential.
I am very grateful to him to this day because he had given me the tools that I needed to begin changing my life. We still are good friends and I will always cherish the time he took to help me.
I decided to quit smoking shortly after and began learning more about nutrition and training. I worked nights in the casino and after work I would watch Kiana Tom on ESPN at 2 am. She had a show called Flex Appeal and I would copy her workouts and do them at the gym. I also watched Corey Everson too and designed my workouts based on her training programs as well. I was reading Oxygen magazine regularly and I was becoming more interested in competing in Fitness and Figure. I wanted to look like Monica Brant, Amy Fahdli and Vikki Pratt who were always on the cover. Their bodies were so inspiring and they were the type of women I admired and I wanted to be like them healthy, strong and muscular.
Below is a photo of me with Corey Everson in 2003 ,one of my role models who helped me on my fitness journey.
I knew that I needed to hire someone to help me so I contacted IFBB Pro bodybuilder Jeannie Paparone for my first Figure show back in 2001. I worked with Jeannie for a few years and she did amazing things with my physique . She really helped me understand the importance of the diet that goes along with the training . I also worked with IFBB Pro Tony Pearson who is an amazing trainer and role model. He still competes in bodybuilding at age 57! Tony really educated me in the weight room and gave me a lot of insight as a trainer. I feel I became a great teacher because I had one myself. I give Tony Pearson a lot of credit for that.
I was using Pilates equipment along with weight training and I decided to get a certification in Pilates in 2003. This was the path that led me out of the gaming business and into the fitness business.
I was excited to go to work everyday in a positive environment, as opposed to a smoke filled casino, and working with people who needed my help and wanted to get into shape. I was making a difference in their life and it felt great.
I learned a great deal of things as the years went by and I began to compete in NPC Figure where I placed in the top 5 in all local shows.
It wasn’t until 2004 that I would take home my first 1st place trophy from The Emerald Cup.
This felt amazing finally all of my hard work paid off and I was moving onto the national level chasing my dream to be an IFBB Pro like the women in Oxygen magazine that I admired so much. Unfortunately I never did receive my pro card but I stuck with it and I competed in the NPC at the national level for a few years before deciding to give that up when I found Kettlebell training in 2006.
My last national level show was in 2007 The USA’s and I had trained myself with Kettlebells and Pilates equipment for that show. I had completely transformed my physique and I fell in love with working out all over again.
I became a certified Kettlebell instructor in 2007 with Kettlebell Concepts and opened my own Kettlebell Studio in March of 2008. The following year I purchased Pilates equipment to offer an even better workout and I began teaching both modalities together. This workout quickly became very popular in Las Vegas and I was operating a studio from 6 am-8 pm Sunday through Friday. I decided to get a different kettlebell certification through Steve Cotter and the IKFF (International Kettlebell Fitness Federation) which focused on kettlebell sport and fitness exercises.
In 2009 I discovered Kettlebell lifting as a sport and I met my now coach at the Arnold classic. He began coaching me for One Arm Long Cycle, Clean and Jerk, and is still my coach today.
The thing that I discovered about Kettlebell lifting as a sport that really interested me was the competition was not subjective like Figure, it gave me the opportunity to become a real athlete being judged on performance only. This also encouraged me to learn more about Kettlebells in general and excel at teaching others with my knowledge. I decided to go even further and get IKSFA, (International Kettlebell Sports And Fitness Academy) certified through 5 time World Champion, Sergey Rudnev, and that is when I learned more than I could ever imagine. Sergey Rudnev is the IKSFA President and has coached 10 World Champions himself and over 400 Master of Sport Athletes. He is also the coach of my coach so I think of myself as his grand student. Below is a photo of me graduating from the IKSFA Certification.
Kettlebell training is so popular now that they have become as recognizable as a dumbbell or barbell . Everybody uses them, but they’re not all using them properly, or using them for what they are designed for. This gives me an advantage over many other trainers out there because I know various techniques of Kettlebell lifting. Kettlebell lifting as a sport is growing rapidly in this country by 30% each year. This makes the knowledge that I have even more valuable.
In 2010 I released my Kettlebell Bombshell DVD which reached #26 on Amazon’s Top 100. This DVD has instruction and three follow along workouts.
At that time there was very little information available about Kettlebell lifting that was valuable on the Internet and I wanted to bring Kettlebells out in a big way. I created the Kettlebell Bombshell workout for women that was not intimidating and something they could do in their own home and see results in a short amount of time.
Since then I released the follow up DVD an advanced version of Kettlebell Bombshell in 2012 and today they are still selling and getting positive reviews.
I have an online Kettlebell Course available and a Kettlebell Bombshell monthly membership site that offers fresh content and exclusive video workouts that are only available to my members.
This allows me to reach many people and give them instruction along with workouts that deliver results.
I also coach Kettlebell Sport Competitors and offer online Skype sessions.
If you’re considering beginning a fitness journey there are many steps that you can take and they do not have to lead you into a new career as a fitness trainer as they have for me, but they could change your life..
Here are a few tips if you are starting out:
Do not over do it!
In the beginning less is more. You don’t need to work out for two hours every single day of the week thinking your results will come quicker. Slow and steady wins the race. You will burn out if you try to do too much too soon.
Think movement over exercise
Pick something you enjoy doing. Yoga, Pilates, Kettlebells or cardio pick something that you like to do. If you want to try to enter a 5K, then start off by walking outside and ease yourself into running.
Gradual changes are what work best.
We all have things that happen to us in our daily lives that prevent us from getting a workout in ,but remember, you have to make time for yourself and if you do not stay consistent your results will never come. Consistent means if you train three days per week, stick to that schedule of training three days per week.
Read books about nutrition.
Stay away from fad diets and things that offer you a quick fix like “drop 10 pounds in five days” Stick with the plan that’s realistic and sustainable. Read books that teach you nutrition and how the body works. This will be much more more valuable than a fad diet.
Have fun on your journey and remember not to worry about how long it takes you to get there. Taking your first steps and being consistent will determine whether you crawl, walk or run. We’ve all started somewhere and all you can do is Start where you are.
Good luck to you and leave your story in the comments because I would love to hear about you!