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Location: Mansfield, CT
Time: August, September, October 2020
This is the story of my life how my fitness journey began. I grew up in a regular middle-class Russian family. Love for sports was brought to me when I was 6 by my dad. And I'm extremely grateful for that.
My journey started in a ballroom dancing class. Couldn't say that this was a choice of my life, but it helped me to explore the flexibility of my body. It took me about a year to understand that I probably should try something different. And I was advised to try taekwondo. Martial arts movies were extremely popular back in the 90's and I've started to condition my body. It was a very simple routine, but it worked. It mostly consisted of pushups, squats and crunches. Stretching was the cruelest part. To be honest I was shocked when someone intentionally kicked me in the stomach. That was a sign for me to move on.
At the age of 9 I started learning Greco-Roman wrestling and I really loved it. Conditioning was on another level as you need to have enough strength to hold the ground. It was a great time of my life for the next 4 years. I loved it, but eventually got bored and started to skip the classes. all the moves started to look the same.
Due to lack of motivation I've had a break from sports for the next 2 years. I've gained a lot of weight and became chubby. Even my parents stopped considering me being fit. I didn't see the change as I was totally comfortable the way I look. I didn't see that person I've turned into.
That was the time when my dad stepped in. He brought me into an underground gym full of adults, who looked like criminals. We were great workout buddies. we were training in a park, in a gym. Soon enough I became addicted to iron and started to lift weights. I found a gym next to my high school. I didn't have a lot of friends. So, the gym became my sanctuary after school. I could spend hours as I started to see changes in my body. Muscle definition became something I don't want to lose.
Soon enough my classmates started to admit the way I look. My authority started to grow and guys started to ask how I train. So, I brought them into the gym and it was my first experience of coaching. I didn't have a nutritionist license and our post workout meal consisted of 2 cans of tuna and a loaf of bread with mayo. Most of you would say that this is a lot of bad carbs and cholesterol. But we were teenagers and it worked for us).
In university I didn't like the PE class and considered it totally lame. That's how I joined the university's powerlifting team and did it for the next 3 years. The results were great, but I lacked flexibility. I was big and stiff. At this point I've gained the confidence to join boxing class. After a year of boxing I've transitioned into Muay Thai and this was one of the greatest experiences.
That was a part of my life before I moved to the US. It happened right after the university graduation.
Back in Russia I was also attending yoga and Pilates classes. It helped me to better understand my body. As you can see, I had enough experience to train on my own when I moved to New York.
I was looking for proper Muay Thai classes, but did not find anything better than Tiger Schulman’s MMA. It was fun fitness and good cardio as nobody really tried to improve the level of skills. I was lucky to figure out that I have a boxing coach from Ukraine working in the same restaurant I did. We had the same schedule and for 1 1/2 years I was improving my boxing skills.
But life started to progress and I found the work in Manhattan. Unfortunately, I had to drop the classes and start to train on my own again. My workout time became very limited and I've started to do calisthenics. For better results I was doing supersets and this was the time when I got the best body of my life. My level of fat was unhealthy, but I fell in love with my ripped body. My abs became my business card.
By the way, you all probably heard the phrase that abs are made in the kitchen. And this is absolutely true. A very special person in my life helped me to change my diet. I stopped eating pork, I didn't eat red meat at all for the next 2 year. I've started to eat cleaner, my skin improved big time. Making fresh squeezed juice or a protein smoothie was my favorite meal. I worked long hours and was eating very little. This is how I opened up for myself intermittent fasting. I forgot about bloating, lost 2 sizes and for the first time in my life gained six-pack.
I love making new friends and growing my fitness community. Always trying to learn new cool tricks. And I guess others feel my friendly behavior and every time I am working out; I get a couple people who are looking for advice. This is how I met my last 2 martial arts coaches. It gave me an opportunity to attend the Dan Inosanto seminar. For those who don't know - he was a close friend of Bruce Lee and his weapon defense teacher.
Currently I'm a NASM certified personal trainer. I love to explore body movements in the way of making my body stronger, mobile and have better endurance. I'm coaching in functional fitness that consist of calisthenics, HIIT, resistance training with bands or weights if we are in the gym. Personally, I love to surf, play tennis and practice Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu. Steel mace is the only form of weights I love to use for my conditioning. It mimics movements from different sports and helps to get better at them.
I'm extremely grateful to John BBPics for the opportunity to have a fitness photoset. He is a professional in his field. It was a great pleasure to work together.
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