Beauty and the Beast

Wearing a TFW (Training for Warriors) rubber bracelet on his left wrist, Keith unlocks the front door of the gym. The pitch black gym awaits the sound of rubber plates dropping on the floor, and high-tempo music playing in the background, like a movie soundtrack to a fight scene.

Keith flicks on the light switch, walks to the office, drops his gym-bag on his desk, and heads to the kitchen to prepare a pre-workout drink. The music comes on and his stretching routine begins. As Maria’s first client walks through the door, greeted with a smile and hug, the office door closes shut. Keith begins his workout by warming up with a set of power cleans. The Rouge wrist guards are strapped, while his palms are covered in white chalk. Today is the day, he can just feel it. Grabbing the bar beneath him with both hands, Keith instigates himself, conveying words of motivation to lift the 205 pound bar with thick black rubber bumper-plates on each side, with the words Rogue Fitness embroidered on them. On the first try, the bar hits the ground at a failed attempt. “Come on, you got this, it’s nothing,” Keith says while coaching himself through. As he approaches the Olympic bar once again with his palms re-chalked and feet shoulder length apart, the bar is instantly lifted to his collarbone for a fraction of a second, and then dropped to the floor. “Woooo!” The energy from his voice attracts Maria’s attention instantly as she exists the office. Keith has just reached his highest goal of Power Cleans, topping at 205 pounds.

These few minutes define Bulldog Bootcamp & Nutrition. The love of fitness, health, clean eating, and words of encouragement is not only what the gym stands by, but it is what intrigues athletes to come back day to day, to be trained and driven to the brink by their coaches.What do you get when you put a devoted nutritionist and high-octane trainers with a total of over 12 certifications between them both? You get a boutique gym that offers an array of unique classes and non-repetitive workouts that are guaranteed to show results to your body within the first few weeks.

THE BEAST: Q&A WITH TRAINER KEITH WEISS

With eight certifications underneath his belt, Keith explains his admiration for Bruce Lee.

“He [Bruce Lee], never talked down on different styles and techniques of training. Instead he went out and learned them all. I don’t put down all these different styles that other gyms teach. I want to be educated on as many of them as I can. I want to learn them all.” What drives Keith crazy with the majority of gyms and their owners is that they only teach one philosophy and talk down on other gyms without trying it out for themselves. “Even with a great philosophy, the coaches themselves are arrogant, and that type of attitude is unhealthy for a gym. I love Bulldog [gym] because here we have three coaches that are very educated and certified with zero egos.”

When asked what makes a gym strive, Keith states,

“Being educated, humble, and putting the athletes before you, and NO ego is what a trainer needs to do to ensure their clients get the very best. That’s how the gym will strive.”

What made you love fitness, and make it your career?

“Growing up with a dad that was a 7th degree in Shorinjiryu karate, he pushed Erick [Keith’s brother] and I from the age of 6 to be the best. On the mat he didn’t treat us like his kids, we were his students.”

What happened with the Army?

“I joined after 9/11. After seeing soldiers struggle during basic training it motivated me to be the best trainer and coach. To help people live a better and healthier life.”

What’s your future goal for Bulldog?

“My ultimate goal is to get more certifications. Learn from different coaches, and hopefully in 2 years, launch Bulldog Certifications.”

You have a certification with Martin Rooney’s Training For Warriors correct?

“Yeah, my opinion, Martin [Rooney] is one of the top coaches in the world. This July I’ll be going for my Level 2 Certification for TFW. I’m hyped about that.
When I heard so many great things about Martin Rooney as a person and a coach, I wanted to find out more for myself.”

Why did you choose to be affiliated with Training For Warriors and use Martin Rooney’s technique in your gym?

“I love the system because it has it all. Detailed warm-ups, strength training, endurance training, speed training, and nutrition. In my opinion, it’s the most complete system I’ve experienced thus far.”

After interviewing Keith, I took it upon myself to contact Training For Warriors to find out more about how a certified trainer becomes an affiliate. After getting in touch with John Annillo, Director of Business Operations at TFW, I asked him what stuck out the most about Keith, and why he chose to be affiliated with his gym. John stated, Keith had a fire type personality, and was really able to influence and motivate the other coaches during the certification process. We keep our affiliations small and intimate, but after seeing what Keith represented, I saw that our missions aligned with one another, so we felt it was the perfect fit to be affiliated with his gym.”

THE BEAUTY: Q&A WITH NUTRISIONIST MARIA CORSO

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Business owner, personal and group nutritionist, and mother of two, Maria Corso handles the day-to-day office work at Bulldog, while finding time to coordinate small-group training and consulting for clients’ nutrition and health. I had the opportunity to chat with Maria while I photographed her. A certified and educated nutritionist and fitness trainer, Maria went in depth with me and opened up about her passion for nutrition.

What makes you so passionate about nutrition, health, and helping others eat clean and live a healthy lifestyle?

“Coming from a family with numerous medical issues like cancer, high cholesterol, and diabetes, nutrition has always been a matter very close to the heart. I wanted to grow up being healthy. That’s when I started to get into cooking clean foods, and started my own experimentations in the kitchen.” After taking me over to their kitchen area, Maria reaches for a variety of fresh fruits and green vegetables. Slicing a lemon and squeezing it into the blender, she explains why she wanted to be a professional nutritionist. “After having my children, I decided to go back to school. I was the talk of my neighborhood because of how good of a job I was doing making my own baby food for my kids, and for how healthy my kids were.”

Maria begins to blend the ingredients together, and pours herself a cup of green juice. She hands me a small sample cup and continues, “Everyone kept saying, you should be a nutritionist. I decided to go back to school and get my 30 above [30 credits above your masters degree] in nutritional science. It’s honestly the best thing I’ve ever done.”

 

So what are your future plans?

“I’m actually planning on continuing my education even further, and enrolling in the Fall at Rutger University for their PHD program in Nutrition.”

 

This ambitious beauty for a moment took me into her hectic world, which begins every morning at 5AM sharp and sometimes doesn’t end until the wee hours of the night, juggling her career as a full time mother, trainer, and nutritionist with close to a hundred clients underneath her care. One line fully defines Bulldog Bootcamp & Nutrition, and world renowned trainer Martin Rooney’s quote does just that. “When the success of your athletes becomes more important than your own, you can officially say you’ve gone from athlete to COACH.”

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