Faces of Long Island celebrates the uniqueness of everyday Long Islanders. In their own words, they tell us about their life experiences, challenges and triumphs. Newsday launched this social media journey into the human experience to shine a light on the diverse people of this wonderful place we call home.

‘I view everything like an arm-wrestling match.’

Deer Park

“I was trying to teach my son how to ride his bicycle around the time COVID happened. He was a very active kid, and I was very much overweight. I was 270 pounds and couldn’t keep up with him. I was almost passing out from exhaustion. I would run probably 10-15 feet and not be able to keep going.

“It got to the point where my son said, ‘Dad, we could do this when you’re feeling better.’ That was it. That was what lit the fire under me and motivated me to try and be a better version of myself for him.

“I lost over 110 pounds in about a year and a half. I was able to do it by eating right, lots of exercise, and finding what worked for me, both my personal body type and mentality. Not all diets work for everybody. It was trial and error until I found what kept the weight off.

Restoring and recovering people’s bodies from their busy, stressful lives is something I’ve taken a lot of joy out of.

“I didn’t want to be skinny though; I wanted to be strong. I first got into arm wrestling at a renaissance fair back in 2019, when a friend of mine saw me and said, ‘Hey, you’re strong for no good reason. Let’s get you on the arm-wrestling table.’ I said, ‘Sure. Why not?’ and came in second place without any training.

“I’ve been doing it for about a year and a half, and now I am competing at a pro level. It is an underground sport still, but I am hoping I can help bring it into the limelight. I would love to see it become an Olympic sport.

“Arm wrestling has become a deciding force in my life. I view everything like a match. The slightest adjustment in your wrist can change the entire outcome of the match, just like the slightest adjustment of your perspective in life changes your entire day. You can start your day on a positive note or a negative note. You just choose how you want to perceive it. It’s hard to stay healthy, but it’s also hard to be unhealthy.

“I have also been a licensed massage therapist for the past 10 years. Restoring and recovering people’s bodies from their busy, stressful lives is something I’ve taken a lot of joy out of. I also utilize a lot of services to help restore myself to the highest peak level I can. I use cryotherapy, a hyperbaric oxygen chamber and compression therapy. All of these different types of things can help your body do more of what you’re asking it to do.”

Interviewed by Dan Offner