I grew up on Long Island and attended college in Manhattan, where I earned a degree in the Russian language. I imagined life as a U.N. interpreter, or perhaps a foreign service officer. Before that dream could be realized, I found myself with the opportunity to work in the exciting world of New York fashion. My job as a buyer and salesperson not only took me around the country, but around the world. It even landed me an appearance on the Regis and Kathie Lee show! Working in fashion was very rewarding for me, but as I was turning 40, I became restless for a new challenge.
When I hired a personal trainer, Michael Bronco, I had no intention of making fitness my life. All I wanted to do was to get in shape and stay healthy. I learned alot about exercise, but more about myself. And I came to appreciate the discipline and rewards of proper training. I had never been athletic, but I found that the solitary sport of bodybuilding matched my abilities and rewarded my concentration, focus, and hard work. It also started to improve my health and physique, which was an added and very visible bonus.
When Michael first suggested that I enter a bodybuilding competition, he might as well have suggested that I travel to a different planet. The goal of standing on a stage to be judged – in a bikini – seemed so distant! But I started the journey. My twice weekly workouts became six trials in self torture. Training at one of the most hardcore gyms in New Jersey, Michael often brought me to tears. When I finally did stand on that stage and win my first competition, it was at once one of the most frightening things I had ever done, but also the most liberating. At the "mature" age of 42, I had bested women half my age and was in the best shape of my life. My physical and emotional attitudes were transformed. I was on fire to show others the path. I quit my job in the city and became the first person that Michael hired to work for him. Now, almost 20 years later, I have never regretted a day of it. I have found my true calling – as an educator and motivator. Every day, I try to teach my clients the same things I learned on my journey – not only the how and why of exercise, but on a deeper level, how to gather the strength to be even more than you think you can be. Now, when someone walks into Bronco’s Gym, I will be the first person they meet, and I look forward to helping and teaching each and every one of them; and to make them love exercise and fitness as much as I do.
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