As with many of us, serendipity played a part in where Rocky ended up with his life’s work. A friend in high school started taking him to the gym to work out, and he loved how it felt and what it was doing for his body. As a competitive gymnast, combining that with weight training was an excellent complement.
When Rocky first moved to California, he was just trying to get a job anywhere. It was the early 90’s and a recession meant few jobs were available. So he got a job as a line cook in a local restaurant for about a year, but then they changed owners and got rid of all their staff. One of his roommates at the time was looking through classified ads for himself and saw that a local health club was looking for staffing. He said, “That sounds like you, why don’t you go apply?”
Rocky did and got hired as an exercise instructor (even though they were looking for sales people to sell their memberships. He wasn’t interested in sales; he just wanted to help people work out). In a few months, he went from part-time to full-time. A few months later they began a personal training program and the person heading up the program asked Rocky if he’d like to be a trainer. He thought heck yeah, this is amazing! I’m going to get paid to work people out? It was essentially the birth of personal training.
Personal training had been around in the 80’s but not very long. It was mainly geared towards corporate executives, Hollywood stars, and maybe wives of those types of people. It was just starting to get integrated into the mainstream. So Rocky become one of the first personal trainers in the gym’s new program. They didn’t require certification. They said if you can push someone and motivate them that’s all you need, but Rocky thought he needed more and became certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association