If you’re a regular at Elevate, you know John Faggiano. A wiry guy with an impish grin and an encyclopedic knowledge of music, he can regularly be found leading a challenging session of Spin, a small group class or a personal training session.
It’s evident that John’s comfortable and happy in the gym, but it’s a passion-based pursuit that he’s only returned to in recent years.
Q: Much of your professional life was spent in the musical field – you played drums professionally for many years and taught drums and percussion. What made you decide to become a personal trainer?
A: My two passions have always been music and sports, so it was a pretty easy decision. I started working out when I was young. I’ve always enjoyed exercise – I came from an athletic family and I was intrigued by TV fitness personality Jack LaLanne. I even own the Charles Atlas course – remember the guy on the back of the comic books who promised to keep you from being a weakling who gets sand kicked in your face?
As a kid, I was active in the Boys Club gym programs, and in high school I wrote workout programs for friends.
I started college as a physical education major, then decided to pursue my love of drums and music instead. I ended up working in music – performing and instructing – for most of my adult life. As I got older, however, moving back toward working in fitness seemed like a natural progression.
Q: Do you find there are similarities between teaching music and teaching fitness courses?
A: Absolutely. In both cases, you must understand pedagogy. Whether you’re teaching a person to play the drums or to get in better shape, you must have the knowledge to put that individual on a path that leads to improvement.
I’ve trained musicians in groups for years, so leading a small group class or a personal training session in the gym is a natural fit for me. I’m comfortable being in front of people and I know how to run a class effectively and motivate participants. It’s a delicate balance – you’ve got to give your students enough to satisfy them, while also keeping them hungry for more.
Q: What do you view as the most important components of any workout experience?
A: A great workout is the primary thing, as well as a desire to come back.
I’ve learned a great deal through watching other instructors at Elevate. They’re very good at what they do, so I’ve picked up a lot of tips.
Q: What should someone coming to one of your classes expect?
A: Plenty of attention to detail in terms of form! I try to give people in my classes a lot of individual attention, address any questions or injuries they might have, that sort of thing. When you’re taking a class with me, I want you to get a great workout, have time to recover and walk away with information you can use outside the gym.
Q: If a person can only do one thing a day to improve her fitness, what would you recommend she do?
A: Walking is great exercise and something you can do anywhere, and push-ups are a terrific, go-to exercise, as they involve the entire body. If you don’t have a lot of time, intensity in your workout is the key. If you want to realize metabolic changes in your body, intensity trumps duration. It also helps to be clear on your goals – are you working out to lose weight, stay healthy, maintain flexibility, lessen stress? Regardless of your reasons, you need to take a holistic approach to fitness.
Being healthy and fit isn’t just about going to the gym and working hard, you also need to think about nutrition and your attitude. It’s one big package.