“I flourished athletically in the military. The service added additional disciplines such as calisthenics and cardio (a lot of running), functional lifts, and things like lunges, push-ups, and pull-ups to complement my weight training. It gave me a greater exercise perspective…”
- Daniel Bonner, CPT
Meet the Trainer: Daniel Bonner
Help. Lead. Guide. Teach.
These are the words that come to mind when speaking with Daniel Bonner, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, about what motivates him to excel at his chosen profession. They form a unifying thread when considered in the context of his life and career, and establish that the fitness industry was a natural fit for him from the start. “To me, it has always been about making fitness a lifestyle,” he says. “I’ve always had the knowledge, so as a professional, it’s all about sharing that knowledge with others.”
In The Beginning…
Dan’s fitness thread began unspooling early and continues to do so. “As a high school athlete, I played varsity football, and we had very strenuous strength training programs throughout the year. A lot of fundamental, practical knowledge—much of which I continue to utilize today—is based on these early experiences, especially when it comes to the major strength lifts like squatting, deadlifts, and benching. The desire to compete and excel reinforced my deep interest in fitness.
I went on to play football at Monroe College, which led to my joining the military. I flourished athletically in the military. The service added additional disciplines such as calisthenics and cardio (a lot of running), functional lifts, and things like lunges, push-ups, and pull-ups to complement my weight training. It gave me a greater exercise perspective—broader than that which I’d had.”
The Growth Continues
Dan remains active in the military to this day. “Six years in, I found that I wanted to share my knowledge with other people. So I studied for the NASM certification test—one of the hardest, in my opinion, because I also looked at the other tests. I became certified and began working at New York Sports Club in White Plains, NY, where I’m from. I had a solid client base there but eventually moved to a H.I.I.T. studio. My personal training career really began there. I expanded my H.I.I.T and interval knowledge at PhatBurn, also in White Plains, then branched out again to F45, a well-known Interval studio. All the while, I was training private clients—both home and field workouts.
After a break, there was more schooling, which led to this latest chapter: a relocation to Long Island. “After doing some local research, Fitness Incentive stood out to me, especially after considering two other big-name gyms. I felt the vibe, liked the amenities (sauna!), and especially liked that there were a lot of machines on the floor that no one else had. Very unique!”
Go For Strength
Asked to discuss his training philosophy, Daniel responds candidly, “I never came to fitness because of looks or esthetics; I approached it with the mindset and goal of being stronger. Of boosting endurance and performing at a higher level physically. ‘Go for strength, improve yourself, and the esthetics will come,’ I always say. I want people to feel confident and comfortable with themselves—to look in the mirror and love themselves.”
“I’m powerfully motivated by a desire to help people,” he continues. An important part of his approach involves communication. “Consultations—initial and ongoing—are major,” he says. Through them, I learn vital particulars. What the client wants to achieve, how much time they have, current eating habits – the information I need to create the right program to help them achieve their goals.”
With his military and sports training backgrounds, Dan is well acquainted with training groups. “I taught a course in which I was in charge of an entire platoon, leading them through physical training regimens. I actively instruct classes now and have a dedicated fan base. It’s about commitment: my own and that of others.”
Dan “the Man”
The unifying thread extends to include superheroes. “I’m kind of a fanatic about them,” Dan says with a smile. “I go to cosplay conventions every year, and I wear the superhero uniforms…the whole nine!”
For Dan, the bottom line is simple: “No matter how good you may be, I can improve your form—whoever you are—and your results. And I can train anyone: older, younger, men, women. I can create an effective, successful training program for anyone.”
About The Author
- Paul Smith
Paul Smith manages member communications and graphic design for Fitness Incentive and Incentives Spa. He is a frequent contributor to Fit to Print.