The Fitness Academy

My Fitness Journey

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Hello all, welcome back!

Someone had suggested I speak a little bit more about my own personal fitness journey that I have been on since 2005. I have to start off by saying my first inspiration from the fitness world came from my father. I can remember growing up in our small apartment in Hoboken, NJ. In the corner of the master bed room he had one of those all in one gym stations. It was a flat bench that could raise up for incline with dip handles behind it. It even had a cable attachment for lat pulls and leg extensions in the front of it. He was a true mans man at the time. Metallica blasting, no shirt on, constantly going over to the mirror to check his “gains.” He even had a camcorder and started filming his workouts. This was WAY before Facebook and Instagram. The energy in that tiny bedroom was infectious. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was hooked. I wanted to feel like that! I wanted to lift heavy weights and build a huge chest! However, I came to realize in my early teen, overweight years that it was not as easy as it looked. “You mean to tell me one day of bench press won’t give me the chiseled pecs I’m looking for?” “Is it supposed to be this difficult to lift 15 pounds?” “What is this soreness!?” Needless to say I didn’t last very long with that mindset. I went through the rest of my teenage years including high school very quiet, self conscious, insecure, overweight, etc.

Fast forward to 2005, I just graduated high school and got a job at a local gym where I started out as a life guard for their swimming pool. I wasn’t even old enough to workout there without a chaperone. When I finally turned 18 they allowed me to workout by myself. This was my first time showing any consistency working out and boy, did my body adapt quickly. I saw and felt my chest getting bigger and stronger by the month, my arms were starting to show definition, my confidence was through the roof. It was not controlled, I was downright cocky. I also knew nothing about nutrition or how the body worked. This will come back later in the story.

So over the course of about 7 years working at this gym I ended up working in every department. I worked the front desk, I became and online certified trainer (which is a joke and a disservice to the fitness industry if I’m honest), I headed over to the sales department and even had my hand in the marketing department. At some point this gym I was at started to rent out space to a personal trainer trade school, this will also come back later. At around 21 years old I tore 2 ligaments (ligaments attach bone to bone) in my right ankle playing basketball. I had no health insurance, my uncle had to pay out of his own pocket for me to get an MRI. No health insurance meant to surgery, no rehab. My ankle is currently being held together by scar tissue. I had crutches and stayed off that ankle for months, testing it each month to see how it was healing. This was a dark time for me. Unable to work, I stayed home all day, every day taking prescription pain medication and eating all day long. Hello, weight gain and depression! As soon as I was able to start putting weight on that foot, I did and I returned to work against their wishes. I started to rehab myself, picking the brains of anyone that seemed like they knew what they were talking about. I wanted to play basketball again, I started to work on my cross over, slowly and painfully. I can remember still being on crutches, hobbling over to the bench press and getting in as many sets as I could during the 30 minute lunch break I had. The soreness had never felt so good.

As my ankle got closer to 100% I started to work with a personal trainer that free lanced at this gym. It changed my life. I had never been stronger and the education on lifting that I received from him is a huge part of what I apply to my business today. After working with him for over a year I eventually had to discontinue due to the fact I had decided to go to school to become an RMA (Registered Medical Assistant). I was working at the gym during the day and going to school at night. Finding time to workout became difficult and remember when I said diet would come back into this story? Well, here it comes.

Your body will talk to you. It will send you signs that something is not right. I never put much thought into what I was eating or how I was living. So that meant late night diner trips after spending a few hours at a local bar. There is about 3 different fast food chains within a 1 mile radius of my town, I even had picked up smoking cigarettes! I had asthma, I literally could not leave my house without a pack of tums due to acid reflex and I was taking 4 – 8 Advil every single day due to stress headaches. Side note, pain medications do not work for stress headaches. I felt horrible every day, I was getting sick every few months. My wake up call came when I went to the doctor for a check up. My BMI told me I was obese, he wanted me to fill prescriptions for a daily asthma inhaler (I had only had an emergency pump to this point), he wanted me to see an orthopedist for all of the pain I was in (my body aches were terrible when I was sick) and a neurologist for my head aches. I did none of what he asked. I refused to accept this as my new life. I stopped smoking and got my obese @$$ on a treadmill for my heart and lung health. I changed my diet which amazingly stopped my antacid use and I quit my job, I woke up the very next day headache free. I also started taking zinc to help boost my immune system. Thanks, doc.

From that point on I never looked back. I had realized that between rehabbing my own injury, putting myself through school (and graduating) and doing an complete 180 with my health that I could do anything I put my mind to. Anything. So, that’s what I have been doing ever since. From owning a dance studio to driving trains for the HBLR. Putting myself back through school to become the best fitness professional I could be. The school I am referring to of course just so happened to be the personal trainer school that was located inside of the gym I started working at when I was 17. Now if that’s not full circle then I don’t know what is! The Fitness Academy will be turning 1 year old in few months and none of this would have been possible if not for all the pain I had to endure both physically, mentally and a  whole slue of other wild stories not mentioned in this blog.

So, that’s my story, or at least part of it. The message behind it? Embrace your pain, never fear change and believe in yourself. Let your heart lead you, it’s way smarter than your brain.

Peace & Love,

~ Matt G.

The Fitness Academy, LLC

If you’re seeking change in your life and need help to get started feel free to reach out to me. Change starts within the mind and your first session is always on me!

@FitnessAcademyNJ on Instagram

201.983.3510 (call/text)


Booty Building 101

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Yes, finally… The post you’ve all been waiting for! Ladies….. and gentlemen, welcome to booty building 101

Hello again my fit fam and welcome back,

Imagine how well Sir Mix A lot would have done today had his song “Baby Got Back” came out (almost) 30 years later. Having a big strong booty is all the rage nowadays. I’m not going to dive into how this came to be or how your Instagram feed is setting you up for extremely unrealistic goals. Let’s just focus on doing everything you can to work your booty to it’s full potential. I will however, spend some time explaining the actual physical benefits of building a strong booty that goes beyond aesthetics.

So, why should you actually want to build your booty? Well, there are actually three muscles that make up the booty. Gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. These three muscles work together to abduct, rotate and extend the hip. Strengthening your glutes can help improve posture as well as improve your athletic performance. The glutes help assist us in standing up, walking, picking up objects from the floor (parents think about how often your picking up your children) and climbing stairs to just name a few examples. There is a lot of power located back there and strong glute muscles are vital for sprinters, volleyball, tennis and basketball athletes among countless other sports and activities. So from you everyday desk job worker, stay at home mom or athlete you can confidently say; everyone can benefit from a strong backside.

Here is how it’s done. First and foremost you’re going to want to build up some strength and (muscle) endurance before focusing solely on size. Exercises like squats, glute bridges and reverse planks are great for beginners. (Keeping in mind that your core is stable and strong enough for these exercises) Train smarter, not harder. A smart newbie should try all of these exercises with no extra added resistance and a good coach near by to check for proper form! It’s important for you to know how to progress your workouts through adding resistance and changing little things in your form to keep the tension where we want it as well as which exercises are actually going to target the glutes most effectively. When you finally make it to the world of dead lifts, hip thrusts and sumo squats, then you’re really cooking! But of course the most important part again, is progressing safely.

Once you’ve properly developed your strength and muscle endurance you will graduate to hypertrophy training, this is where the biggest impact for size is made (if that’s what you’re looking for). You’ll have to do some research during your workouts to figure out what percentage of your 1RM (1 rep max) to hypertrophy train at. It could be anywhere from 50-75%, also figuring out how many times per week you want to target glutes to get the most out of your hypertrophy training. I suggest sticking to a hypertrophy program for about 6 weeks. Stick to the program, eat your protein and carbs and watch the size pack on! I highly suggest taking a measurement or taking pictures to tangibly track your progress.

If you would like to dive even deeper into this topic with me you can always e-mail me at

If you would like to schedule your complimentary 90 minute consolation, feel free to e-mail the address above or call/text 201.983-3510

Best of luck on your fitness journey!

Peace & Love,

~Coach MG

Follow me on Instagram @coachmgnj and @fitnessacademynj

Diet and Nutrition

Dieting & Nutrition 101

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Hello Fit Fam, welcome back!

Today We will be going over not so much the science behind dieting and nutrition, but more covering over the basis to help keep your sanity. The reason I feel covering this topic from this perspective is because, right off the bat I will let you know that every single person in the world is different from the next. So there is not one diet or nutrition plan that will work for everyone. The dirty truth the fitness industry doesn’t want you to know is that the secret for success lies within trial and error, lots of patience and perseverance.

Mindset. This comes first. Accept that this is a life long journey and the goal is not just to drop 10 or 20 pounds but to find a way to live your life that is the healthiest for you while not being miserable. No one wants to eat chicken, broccoli and brown rice everyday and since you’re not competing in a body building competition, you don’t need to! If you are struggling with your weight due to unhealthy eating habits to think you can completely change your entire lifestyle in one shot is too unrealistic and will set you up for failure in the long run. Trial and error. Set your self up with small obtainable goals. How is your water intake? Do you drink a lot of sugary sodas and iced teas? Can you drink one less can of soda per day and replace it with an extra bottle of water? Seems silly right? Well, for some people this can be a struggle and this one little change can be the catalyst that sets you up for success in the long run. Last thing I will mention about mindset. Your biggest critic is probably yourself. So as you start to make these small changes to your lifestyle, if you have a day where you aren’t doing what you’re supposed to be doing, that’s okay! Change is not linear, you can and you probably will fall off the horse a few times. Change begins and ends with perseverance and patience.

Your body is just a vehicle. You’re very own, very personal, very customized vehicle. While you are awake, while you are alive, your body is burning calories and calories equal energy. That and only that is the true purpose for food. To fuel your vehicle for the day. The more you move, the more physical activities you take part in, the more calories you will be burning. Unfortunately, we live in a society where food has become entertainment. Just take a minute to reflect on that. When you are looking for something to do, how often does the solution of a night out eating and or drinking come up? Are you eating to fuel your vehicle or are you eating for fun? Are you actually hungry or are you bored? I challenge everyone to try just a few days of intermittent fasting. Try this and you will find out what true hunger feels like. Not to mention the actual scientific benefits of fasting that I will save for a future post.

As I said before, everybody is different and fasting may not be the answer for you and that’s okay. I encourage everyone to put in a little effort to invest some time into themselves. Track your calories, get an idea of how many you are actually eating on a daily basis. Track your macros, same concept. Learn about yourself and your body. Document things. What times are you eating? So much to think about! Something I have all of my clients do is in some form or fashion (texting pictures is usually the easiest) is to journal every single thing you put into your mouth for a 14 day period. You don’t have to worry about tracking calories or the macro-nutrients, I handle all of that. At the end of the 14 day we can come up with a game plan together on where we can start to make some changes.

I hope you able to take some of what you read here today and reflect. Ask yourself some of the questions you read above. If you would like to dive deeper into this topic with me, as always you can e-mail me at

The Fitness Academy is dedicated to helping you not only achieve your goals but also to set you up for success long after your time is up with me.

E-mail, call or text (201.983.3510) to schedule your complimentary 90 minute consultation.

Peace & Love,

~Matt G.

P.S. The Fitness Academy will be hosting an all day seminar (10 am – 6 pm) on May 20th led by Holistic doctor, Dr. Julian Cano. You can sign up on his website