Congratulations to Tony for earning the final Member of the Month award of 2021!!  Tony is a man of goals and habits.  He’s recently found a ton of success in his fitness journey, as he took some time to reflect to understand how to get from where he was to where he wanted to go.  He dialed in his nutrition.  He increased how much he was coming to the gym.  He was patient.  He listened to his body.  He started gradually challenging himself more and more.  His work ethic is simply – get the job done!  He determines something he wants to achieve, sets a plan in place to accomplish it, and then goes out there and executes on that plan! Congrats again, Tony.  Well deserved my friend! Be sure to check out the Q&A we did with Tony below!

How long have you been at Firewall and what made you want to start?
I have been at Firewall Fitness since November 2017.  I joined because my wife Kim, who has always been into fitness, was giving it a try and her brother Jared was also an avid CrossFitter. For the first year or so Kim and I both attended about 3 classes a week. It was hard and I was sore all the time.  Ultimately Kim moved on to other fitness classes and methods (she did not love the barbell or rig) but I was all in by then. I think I really fell in love with the method during my first open. I embraced the challenge and found it humbling how low my scores were compared to even modest athletes. I don’t mean to sound conceited but I am fairly high functioning at most things I do. It was really refreshing to be working at something I sucked at. Even 4 years later I feel that way. So many movements still to get (handstand push-ups) and master (damn you rope climbs and double unders). 

You were 1 of 10 people who made the committed club every month in the year 2021.  What motivates you to be that consistent?
I’m pretty self motivated. At this point coming 5 days a week is just what I do. I think mostly it’s about the anticipation of the workout and  how I feel after. I like thinking about the workout. What do I want to get out of it? Is it a fastest/best score day? If so what’s the plan of attack? Where are the breaks? What am I good at? Where can I move faster? Or is it a day to work on a particular movement or challenge myself with a higher weight? I don’t know if there is a method to my madness but it gets me thinking and strategizing about things “not work” and that is satisfying. I also like the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a workout. Not so much the soreness but knowing it’s done and seeing how close or not I got to my goal. Sometimes I also sit in meetings later in the day and think “did anyone else here do a 34” box jump today”? 😂😂😂

How does your fitness inside the gym benefit you outside the gym?
Mostly by giving me a mental outlet so I can be in the moment and focus on one thing for an hour a day. It’s hard to think about work when your heart rate is 170 and you can’t breathe.  Also I have a lot less back pain than I used to have. My back would often “go out “ when I moved suitcases or other heavy objects. Knock on wood that has not happened in 5 years. 

What’s your proudest accomplishment of 2021 both in and out of the gym?
In 2021 I lost about 20 pounds from January to May. For me it’s not about what I eat.  It’s about portions. I used an app that helped track calories and still used shakes and bars, lean protein with most meals etc, generally the same diet I always eat. I just ate less and with exercise the weight came off. Definitely helped with burpees!!  

Outside the gym, I made the decision to move from Merck to a much smaller company called Flagship Pioneering. I’m still doing new drug development but the environment is totally different and getting me out of my comfort zone!!

What is a goal inside and outside the gym for 2022?
Inside the gym I’d like to get to a 2 plate squat (225) with great form. And maybe a muscle up! Oh and maybe try more than 1 open workout RX (if safe to do so).

As for outside the gym, I want to go on a real vacation somewhere. Have not been anywhere outside of NY, Maine and Massachusetts since Greece in ‘19. Damn pandemic!

If a friend was asking you to describe what a class was like, what would you tell them?
Welcoming, friendly, physically and mentally challenging, and definitely scalable. Always scalable. 

What piece of advice would you give to yourself when you were just 3 months in to CrossFit?
Don’t skip leg day and make sure to focus on accessory work. I think I’d give myself the same advice today. 

What do you think your kids will be doing 15 years from now?
I think my older daughter Felitcia will be an MD. She always has been super caring and empathetic. My younger daughter Eliana is an entertainer and singer. Hoping she will make it in the theatre. She’s very talented. 

What’s a fun fact about you that most people don’t know?
When I was about 12 years old I met Mother Teresa. My mother worked for a charity organization that gave her an award and I came along for the ceremony. She talked to me for 5 minutes. Super memorable experience. Not every day you meet a saint.