“I share what I’ve learned with my family and others because I want people to live as long as possible and feel as good as possible.”
- Michael Illicete
Meet Michael Illicete, CPT
“I’ve always liked exercise,” says personal trainer Michael Illicete. “It began for me when I was quite young—five or so years old, watching The Rock in his first Summer Slam workout. I saw this and thought, ‘I want to do that!’ Right after that, I started working out in my backyard. I also started creating my own exercises. I’d use whatever was available as a base or implement for exercise. It could be a chair or a milk crate…very functional. Just making things up as I went along.”
Early On Role Model
Michael enjoyed success as a high school and college athlete. He excelled in football, wrestling, and lacrosse, ultimately leading to coaching. “When I was still in high school,” he says, “people were asking me, ‘What are you doing? How have you achieved your physical goals?’ I would explain and demonstrate. I would train my peers and teammates during summer vacations, and being the team captain, this happened with the encouragement of my coaches. They trusted me with that responsibility because they saw my results and approved of my methods.”
Michael also drew much inspiration from his family. “I had two uncles who impacted me,” he says. “One was a trainer, and I spent a great deal of time training with him. He was always around and was very inspirational to me. My other uncle passed in 2016, which was a big thing for me. He had diabetes and suffered a stroke. He died because of his health. That may have been the ‘A-Ha!’ moment that compelled me to take what I was doing to the next level. He didn’t take care of his body as well as he should have, and he lived with us, so it really hit me and motivated me to see a direct correlation between fitness and health. I share what I’ve learned with my family and others because I want people to live as long as possible and feel as good as possible.”
We Are Family
The ‘family’ dimension is also part of what drew him to Fitness Incentive. “I always knew Fitness Incentive was around, but when I learned that it was a privately-owned gym, my interest spiked. I prefer privately owned gyms because ownership decides how things are run. They set the tone. It’s not corporate, not a franchise – it’s family-based. Everything I do is family. I come from a big family, so there’s a pervasive team-building atmosphere. Corporate gyms try to do this, but it’s tougher, and their efforts come off as inauthentic in my experience. I’ve worked in corporate gyms—most trainers have; it’s just something we must do. But I like the independence of the private club. I like supporting local, smaller businesses. Local shops, not Walmart. Fitness Incentive is a beautiful gym; family owned and operated, and everyone is very friendly.”
Make It a Lifestyle
“The hardest thing for many people is making fitness and exercise a lifestyle. This is what I strive to do: help people find their own way to establish a fitness- and health-driven lifestyle. It’s different for everybody, and part of my job (maybe the biggest) as a professional is helping people find the path that works for them. This means creating programs for individuals. There is no ‘cookie-cutter.’ I had a client who didn’t really know what he wanted but had a lot of pain in certain areas. I advised him to get bloodwork done, and he had some issues, which we addressed largely through nutrition. Over time, he got to a point where he felt a lot better and was a lot fitter. And that’s why I really focus on individual needs. Sometimes, some people need to be in Physical Therapy before they begin training. Others might need to begin with a dietitian. It all depends on the individual.”
Just Love It!
“I love being a personal trainer because I want people to live as long as they can strong, pain-free, and happy,” says Michael. “I feel powerfully motivated to give back by sharing my knowledge and experience. It’s very emotional for me to understand that I can actually help people. That is priceless.”
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.