Three years ago, I turned down an opportunity to pursue a post-graduate degree in Physical Therapy, and instead learned to code. Prior to my decision, I worked at NYU as a strength and conditioning coach for its Division III athletes. It was my first job out of college, and it was a dream come true to train athletes for a living.
I graduated from SUNY Buffalo with a degree in Exercise Science, I always wanted to train athletes and work in the athletic world. I interned around the country as a student, and I was a disciple to industry leading coaches and organizations in sports performance.
Since then, I’ve learned to build mobile and website apps, and even made a good living doing it for 3 years. I was introduced to many new concepts in the computer programming world, and believe me— it was quite hard at times to grasp those learnings. Interestingly, what I found after sticking through the immersion of a whole new field of work, was that the experience of transitioning into a software developer made me view challenges and concepts — that I thought I understood, in an entirely new and analytical way.
After I graduated college, I always thought it’d be super cool for anyone to train like a college or pro athlete.
Two years into working as a strength coach at NYU, I realized there should be an app for this. I didn’t know how to code, but in my spare time I learned how to make a website and create mockups.
The idea was called Atrium, and it was a fitness app that would bring teammates together to train as a team, thus the “atrium” name. Awful name, but a lot of motivation.
At the time, I was also in the middle of figuring our my career path and how I would generate a steady income. Physical Therapy seemed like a stable and clear direction for me. I loved fitness and sports performance, but juggling NYU and personal training at Equinox was hard.
Fast forward to today
This class changed a lot .
This free online class by MIT changed my life. It’s called “Technology Entrepreneurship” and it gave me the confidence and basic know-how on starting an internet business.
I left strength conditioning and fitness to pursue a field I wasn’t entirely sure about. I learned how to code, got a tech job, and continued building my app in my spare time. I said I would never want to get too involved in tech, just enough so I could build my product and move on. But the truth is when you want to be great at anything, you cannot help but pour every ounce of effort to stand out. I did that with fitness, and I’m trying to do that with software development and technology.
Even though I never hoped to stray far from my passion for sports, programming has opened so many doors for me. I’ve made incredible friends and colleagues in tech that I can’t imagine not meeting. I’ve also developed a new set of skills, particularly computer programming and deep problem solving, that I really lacked before I wrote my first line of code in 2015.
The toughest lesson I had to learn
Up until now, I thought technology would save the day. People use mobile apps and I know how to build them. Innovation in website development has moved really fast, and some web applications just blow me away every time I use them. Big tech buzzwords like AI, AR, machine learning, and deep learning have sprung up in the last three years, and companies like Google, Apple and Facebook are racing to be at the front of these domains.As a programmer who writes code 40 hours a week, I’ve also adopted the mindset that better software equals better business, and that if I want my apps succeeding in the fitness industry, I, too, need to build smarter technology and take the lead in this innovation race.
Wrong.Coaches and trainers just need to be better coaches and trainers. Athletes need to be attentive, trust their coaches and put the requisite hours in the gym and in their sport. I’ve spent so much time focusing on the wrong things, because I often forget the core needs of coaches and athletes.
I actually don’t think coaches don’t really have no problem sharing their content on a google excel sheet. I’ve seen coaches share static word documents outlining their premium workout program. I am not insinuating that this is a scam or ripoff, I am simply sharing with you a really tough lesson I am trying to swallow— do not add innovation where it is REALLY not needed.
— If you’re interested in what I’m building and what SuperFit, the sports fitness app hoping to be more down to earth with users like you, follow this blog and download the free app here.