StrayDog Fitness was born from my three passions in this world… Food, Fitness and Animals!
My personal challenge to get fit started way back in grade school where I acquired the nickname “Chilly Willy,” based on my portly stature and my propensity to have an out-toeing stance. As a kid I did what I could to slim down, but even at an early age I was such a foodie that every visit to see relatives resulted in a plethora of cake baking and cookie scooping; which of course didn’t support my goal to slim down. Upon graduating high school, I got my first real taste of what it meant to be fit in Marine Corps boot camp and I liked it, getting fit that is… Talk about getting whipped into shape! But not to worry, that type of training isn’t my style.
After an honorable discharge I found myself returning to my first passion by enrolling at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY to make my passion for food my profession. Several years into my career I was fortunate to acquire the Corporate Executive Chef position at a medically based fitness facility. This seemed like the best of both worlds… I was able to work out in a great club, develop and cook healthy food, and they were paying me to do it. Life was good! In my time at the club I put on many, many cooking demonstrations with the nutrition department for just about every type of patient category in the hospital, but these were your typical cooking demonstrations… I would show the group how to make a few dishes that they could make at home for their family that was in line with their dietary requirements based on their diagnosis. The idea was great in concept, but then I realized how hard it was to follow the dietitian’s recommendations on a daily basis; I mean really hard, to make it an actual lifestyle change. I’m sure you’ve heard the quote, “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.” Teaching you how to make one meal is like just giving you a single fish!
The counsel one gets from a typical personal trainer, dietitian or nutritionist is of course very important and there is sound science behind it, but it always misses the one important factor to illicit real change, practicality. How does one take caloric and macronutrient requirements and put them into practice in your everyday life without spending half your day counting calories? And then it occurred to me… We as educators have been missing a very important piece to the puzzle. We need to teach people how to cook! That’s when I realized it was time to get my professional Fitness Trainer Certification from the International Sports Sciences Association and bring it all together.
I know your thinking to yourself… I just don’t have enough time in the day. Believe me, I know the feeling, but I do it every single day and you can too! Whether it is running my various businesses, fitting in my morning meditation, prepping meals for the week, going for a run with my three awesome rescue dogs, or even when I enjoy some semi-quite time mowing the lawn, it is all about finding that balance. When you have the tools you need, that balance always seems to find itself.
This is the true “Lifestyle Approach to Personal Training” I am talking about… Like a great dish, everything has to be in balance. Put together a goal based fitness program, add in a dash of nutritional guidance and garnish it off with classic cooking techniques to bring it to life and you have all the ingredients you need to successfully live a healthier lifestyle. It is really that simple… It can work every time, for every person, and I am living proof!
So what are you waiting for? Let’s hit the gym and go make something to eat!