My Youth Fitness Story and Passion

Posted: December 22, 2014 by dannytwoguns in Erie Youth Conditioning and Performance

My main and primary passion has always been fat loss and helping people towards those goals. As my progression went, that turned into female fat loss and eventually specializing in the “older” or as I like to say “more experienced” female population and I’ve written about that a lot on here and in my #1 best selling book, “Get With… The Program.” But I also have a passion for youth training for both performance and fat loss. Here is that story.


As I write this, I am 29 years old but I have the injury history and the “wear and tear” similar to a 50 year old… I’ve been called an “old man” just about my whole life from my laundry list of injuries and ailments. When people say that their mother is a saint, for me that is an understatement. How my mother dealt with the stress and fear every time I played in a sport event, left the house or did something that wasn’t inside a bubble, I have no idea. I was a walking catastrophe.

My orthopedic once told my mother that she had to figure something out with what to do with me and how often I was in there that it was realistic I’d be dropped from her insurance.

If I were to list all of the injuries and ailments, we’d have an article so long no one would read, but I’ll list the major landmarks…

In 2nd grade, I broke my arm. Both bones of the lower arm (radius and ulna), the bone of your upper arm (humerus) and also dislocated my elbow in a fall on my elementary school playground.

Multiple and various injuries (stitches, shoulder dislocations, knee and hip injuries etc) occurred over the next 10 years but no other major orthopedic surgeries until…

In 12th grade/my senior year I “blew out” my knee in pre-season baseball (simply rounding 2nd base on a hit) and had an arthroscopic surgery to repair it.

One year later, I had a more invasive surgery on that same knee to fix what the previous surgery didn’t and had what they called an Osteochondral Transfer Graft surgery which in non-doctor speak could be described as a teenage knee replacement – they graft bone/muscle/ligaments etc from another part of my leg into my knee. The size of what they took out was bigger than I thought my actual knee was.

It was recovering from this surgery that prompted me to lose 100 pounds over the next year and officially started my journey into training (although I was doing everything wrong but that is another story).

I dislocated my right shoulder regularly during that time (as well as times before it) – totaling about 6 dislocations in that time period, 5 of which I was able to “pop” back in on my own, one of which a friend had to “set”. I in no way recommend this but it is what it is.

Then, one year later I had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn labrum on my left shoulder (note – not the shoulder I constantly dislocated). I tore the left labrum/shoulder simply jumping into a pool and had to be ambulance’d to the hospital to have it set.

It was recovering from this surgery and the aftermath of which I began to regain the 100 pounds I had lost – and then a few more. When you don’t lose weight the right way, lose it too quickly etc, you destroy your body and inevitably gain the weight back – and that’s exactly what happened to me.

And that is what officially sparked my journey to learn anything and everything fitness – at first to fix myself and then leading to helping other people not have to follow the same path I did.

The path of not only being overweight and obese my whole life but also being ridiculously injury prone up until that point where I figured out it simply came down to strength and I was able to “fix” what was wrong with me, get to a healthy weight and not be chronically injured at every turn.

I say none of this to impress or garner sympathy in any way, I simply say it to rather impress upon you that none of those injuries or issues were due to collisions or any sport-like activity or trauma like a card accident. They were all preventable. So let’s back track a little bit. Being constantly injured and being obese are two primary things that influenced the path I chose in life but they are also two things that could have been avoided completely.

A lot of fellow fitness professionals and strength and conditioning coaches can trace their passion back to a coach who drove them to success.

I don’t have that story.

The best coach I ever had was little league baseball (it was my dad) but after that and in other sports during that time I had coaches that ranged from “meant well and had good intentions but knew nothing about athletics” to just terrible and even dangerous. My “peewee” football experience and the coaches were so horrible that I don’t feel comfortable writing publicly about it – and resulted in me not playing football past the 6th grade.

Bad Coach

Not only did I not have that coach who empowered me, educated me and fueled my passion – I had the complete opposite the majority of the time.

Part of the reason I have such a passion about training the youth population (ages 6-11) is because I want to be the coach that I never had. The coach who empowers, educates and ignites passion.

Had I had the coach who taught me how to move well, how to run well and who took into account my individual needs, abilities and movement competency…

Had I had the coach who was able to influence me and create passion and motivation…

Who knows how much sooner I could have found my passion and how many injuries could have been prevented. And that is the most important part – every injury I had could have been avoided.

I remember one time my mom took me to the doctor because I ran funny. I did run funny, every step resulted in a knee valgus (inward deviation of the knee), moreso in my right knee (funny how that is the one that needed the major surgery) and every step looked like I was about to fall over.

It wasnt running funny, it was/is two things… It was weakness/lack of strength and it was never being taught how to run. I didn’t have anyone to help with that. I actually had coaches who would just make you run and run. And then run some more even though most of the team clearly couldn’t.

I want to be the coach who teaches you how to move well, then move often. How to run, sprint, jump and crush it – safely and effectively. To make your life infinitely better – now and 10-20 years from now. This goes for all ages, but especially the youth.

The coach who teaches you how to be strong. How to be confident. Because when you move, look and feel better you are more confident and when you feel like you can do anything, a funny thing happens – you can do anything. And they don’t teach you these things in school – but we can and we do.

Bad Trainer

Not This Guy…

And that’s why we do what we do and why after I got Twoguns Training Systems rolling and growing well, my next natural progression was to Erie Youth Conditioning and Performance. In a time where the youth population is incredibly more sedentary than my generation was, and 100x more sedentary that the generations that came before it, it is so incredibly important that we help address any and all issues that the youth population faces – and truly make a difference.

The person I wish I had when I was 10.

Let this be your call to action to get your son or daughter into our youth specific programs, you can contact me at (814) 882-8001 for more information and to get started.

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