I get asked all the time “Why” Strongman?
This is how it all started….
I would like to tell you that there is some special story on why I compete in Strongman but it all kind of happened organically. At the age of 20, I was at Montclair State University studying Exercise Science. At the time I was training to walk on to the football team, I had played in high school and received a great recommendation from the coach. I had met with the head coach of Montclair State and was told to try out during spring ball. On one of my scheduled training days, one of my friends Tommy Yannuzzi asked me if I wanted to train Strongman at his cousin’s friend house. Tommy’s cousin, Cameron, and one of his friends were lightweight professional Strongman. We headed over there but I had no idea what I was in store for. On my first day of Strongman training I was able to do a 220 log press, 700lb tire flip, and 240lb farmers walk. After the day was over Cameron asked us if we wanted to buy his equipment as he was retiring, me and Tommy looked at each other and said, ‘Lets do it!" The rest was history and from that moment on my entire focus was on becoming a professional strongman.
We spent about the first 5 years of training in the Tommy's garage, that was our home every Saturday. We had created a strongman dungeon with atlas stones, logs, axles, farmer handles, heavy sandbags, heavy kegs, etc.… I trained with Tommy, and our two friends Nick and Chris. After training for a few months I decided to compete in my first ever competition in King of Prussia, PA. I was able to hold my own but for a lack of a better term got my ass kicked. For the next 2 years I continued to train and compete and it wasn’t until my 3rd place finish at New Jersey's Strongest Man in 2009 that truly made me feel that I could compete at a high level. I was in first place up until the last event, where I took second place to the winner of the competition, Tom Mutaffis, who beat me previously at my first competition and who later went pro. Over the next few years, I continued to train, compete in and win several competitions. In 2013, I would had the opportunity to compete at the North American Strongman Nationals in Texas.
The 2013 Nationals wasa loaded show with Strongmen including; the overall winner Rob Kearney who is currently competing at Worlds Strongest Man on CBS Sports, Dave Daly who is currently a pro heavy weight competing at the Giants Live, James Deffinbaugh who won the 2017 Lightweight America Strongest Man, and many other great competitors. I competed against 74 other men in a 2 day, 7 event show. Day 1 consisted of four of the seven events, at the end of the day I was in second place, just behind Kearney. When I woke up for Day 2 my body was totally ravaged. I could not believe I had 3 more events to go. I was in 3rd place going into the last event and after it was all said and done I took a 6th place finish.
There is a reason why this article is called “A Decade of Pain”. The last few years have been a wild ride. I have had much success, winning New Jersey Strongest Man, Delaware Strongest Man, and qualifying for Nationals every year. But through all the success, there have been some obstacles as well. In the last few years I have had 2 surgeries, tore my calf, had bulging disc in my neck, a tear in my tricep/elbow attachment. I have had PT, ART, ARP Wave Treatment, chiropractic work, acupuncture, PRP, and more. But throughout the process, I also set 2 New York state records on the axle press and 18’ deadlift, won 2 competitions, and qualified for Nationals. It is important for individuals reading this article to know that no matter what obstacle you come across your intentions must never change! Keep things in perspective so that you can assess the issue and attack it. I have been in the strongman world for over 10 years and I may be getting older, warm ups may take me longer, and my training at times must be more sensory based (keyword: sometimes), my intentions still remain the same. My goal is to do everything in my power to become the strongest version of myself.
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