"To inspire, guide, and educate all those seeking improvement in themselves."
TheoFit got started as an Instagram account to help motivate young athletes in my local community. As I grew as a coach, I wanted TheoFit to become something more than an Instagram account occasionally posting a picture or video. I wanted TheoFit to be an educational platform where anyone and everyone could find guidance and inspiration to simply move their bodies, adopt a healthier lifestyle, find links and recommendations to home fitness equipment, as well as self education material, sport specific training, and a blog section.
We are given one body in life. Let's learn to take care of it, so that we can truly LIVE.
Who Am I?
My name is Theo Gioles. I grew up in Wantagh, NY as a multi-sport athlete. Ever since I was young all I ever wanted to do was play sports. I loved, and still love, the art of practicing and pursuing self-improvement.
The pursuit never stops really.
I attended Farmingdale State College as a Business Major and played 4 years of Division III tennis.
It was through my college tennis career that I truly discovered myself and who I wanted to become in life.
That is the amazing aspect of sports. The emotional roller coaster when practicing and competing, learning to control that emotion, the physicality, the teamwork and communication, learning and embracing the act of following before you can lead. All these factors and how one responds to them plays a huge role in the person someone becomes.
And this is how it all began for me...
It was the summer going into my junior year of college. The tennis team at my school had never won the conference championship nor had they ever made an appearance at the NCAA tournament.
Throughout the summer I was on the tennis court for hours every day: hitting balls, playing points, practicing my serve--anything I could do to be better. The typical on-court training process of a tennis player.
At that time, fitness was not a term I fully understood. I just figured, "Hey, I'm running around on the court, my heart rate is up, and I'm sweating, which means my fitness is improving." Yes...
And at the same time, a huge resounding 'No'.
While my cardiovascular system was being trained in accordance with the energy systems required in tennis, my muscular system was beginning to break down. Which created a list of problems that began to arise in the middle of my summer training.
First, my wrist began to hurt. "Nothing a little pre-wrap and medical tape can't fix," I said. After a couple of weeks of playing through the pain, the pain became excruciating. Did I stop? Nope. I taped up my wrist more, iced it when I got home, and dealt with it. "That's normal," I said to myself.
Until one day of training my elbow began to hurt. Then my knee. Then my feet.
It got to the point that I had my wrist taped up, knee taped up, KT tape on my elbow, and my gait cycle looked like I was walking on broken glass.
Not so normal anymore.
It hurt for me to say it, but I told my teammates that I needed to take a couple of weeks off from tennis to let my body heal.
Easily the smartest decision I had made that summer.
What I didn't understand at the time is that repetitive movement patterns, such as swinging a tennis racket and golf club, can not only cause pain, but can lead to muscular imbalances and joint dysfunctions that can have a severe effect on the rest of your body, your movement, athletic technique, and can cause muscular and joint compensations that lead to further injuries.
Everything is connected.
After the 2 weeks of rest from tennis, I started training at full force again (like an immature testosterone driven male). Some pain returned, some didn't. But I was smarter about taking more rest days during the week to manage the pain levels. Which was at least a step in the proper direction. The importance of rest and recovery can not be overstated.
The tennis season then began and not only did we not achieve the goal of conference champions, the pain I had in my body caused me to not perform at my best all season long. I had to pull myself out of the line up one match due to severe knee pain, and in another match the pain in my elbow was so bad that I couldn't even lift my arm high enough to bring the water bottle to my mouth! And that's when realization started to smack me in the face.
"How can I help my teammates while I am in this condition?"
"I am nothing but a liability. I can't even lift my arm. How am I going to swing my racket effectively?"
"I don't understand. I trained so hard in the off-season, why am I not getting the results I want?"
I didn't lack drive, passion, and motivation in the off-season. What I lacked was knowledge and proper guidance when it came to true functional fitness. Once the season of my junior year ended, I had a lot of self reflecting to do. I didn't want to feel the way I did ever again. And I'm not just talking about the physical pain I was in. It was the feeling of hopelessness that I didn't want to experience again. I didn't want to be a liability to the team. I wanted to be the person they relied on for a big win. I wanted my teammates and coaches to see that I was leading by example all season long. I reminded myself that my senior year will be my last year ever of college tennis. And I REFUSED to leave school without a conference championship and without experiencing the NCAA tournament.
So not only did I completely rest from tennis for weeks, I dedicated those weeks to research of tennis specific strength and conditioning, injury prevention exercises, nutrition, periodization, rest and recovery. After I compiled what I believed to be a well rounded off-season strength and conditioning program, I showed it to the athletic trainer at my school and he was amazed at the lengths I went to write a detailed 3-month off-season program. He agreed with the program and wished me luck. The moment I got the 'OK' from the trainer is when my life quite literally changed forever.
I immediately went to work correcting muscular imbalances, improving posture, stabilizing my core, lifting weights, prepping my meals, and correcting any faults in my tennis technique at a low and controlled intensity.
After a few weeks, I felt much more aware of my movements.
A few weeks after that I noticed a dramatic improvement in my overall strength, power, and quickness.
I was hitting tennis balls with ZERO pain, my body was moving efficiently, and my mind felt clear and composed.
By the time our season rolled around, I had no injuries, gained 10 pounds of muscle, was physically and mentally stronger, quicker and more explosive, and a more well rounded tennis player. I was ready.
My senior season turned out to be the best of my college career. Personally, I only lost one singles match, helping to give my team an opportunity to win, which after all, was my main focus: to be a valuable asset to my team each and every day.
As a team, we ended up winning the conference championship on our home courts and qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time in the school's history. Still to this day, it is one of the greatest moments of my life. Not because we got to hold a trophy, not because I played better tennis, or because we beat a rival team. But because I proved to myself that there are no shortcuts in life. If you set realistic goals and apply planned purposeful work, you get the results you want.
It doesn't mean it will be easy. There were plenty of days (and there still are) where I didn't want to train or go to the gym. There were plenty of nights where friends wanted to stay out late, drink alcohol, and eat wings. But I couldn't. Because I understood how I would feel the next morning and how it would negatively affect my training and progress. In the moment, it hurt to say 'No' to my friends. I didn't want to disappoint them. But I had goals. I had a vision. And that day when my vision became a reality, surrounded by my teammates and coaches, family and friends, giving each other hugs and high fives, I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to pursue the rest of my life.
Upon graduating from college in 2011, I immediately began educating myself in physiology, biomechanics related to sport, speed, agility and quickness training, nutrition, strength and conditioning, and corrective exercise. Through the National Academy of Sports Medicine I got certified as a Personal Trainer, and received specializations in Sport Performance, Youth Exercise, and Golf Fitness.
I began my career as a fitness coach in late 2011 and haven't looked back since.
Well, that's not entirely true. I have looked backwards.
When I do, it's to smile on the good times with family, friends, teammates, and coaches.
And to ultimately remind myself that there are no shortcuts around hard work, especially when it comes to your fitness.
So do yourself a favor... Embrace it.