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Inspirational Teacher Imparts Life Lessons in the Gym

Teacher, fitness model, and gym rat Nick Ferroni inspires his students with lessons he's learned in the weight room.

Declan O'Kelly
Inspirational Teacher Imparts Life Lessons in the Gym

Nick Ferroni has two all-consuming passions in life, history and working out. In his own words, the former actor turned teacher says: "since I can't DO history; I teach it." That love of education and his dedication to being the best has catapulted him to national recognition as one of the “100 People Making a Difference in the World.” But that bond with history is matched by a dedication to fitness and a commitment to make it an integral part of his life. That choice gained him more plaudits a few years back when he earned a spot on Men's Fitness' “25 Fittest Men in the World.”

In Ferroni’s case, you can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t take the teacher out of the man. When the 6’2” 205-pound educator, who works at Union High School in New Jersey, saw that some of his students were veering toward the wrong path in life because of aggression and emotional issues, he decided to take them to the gym in order to harness that destructive energy and funnel it into positive development via hard work and sweating it out lifting weights. M&F caught up with Ferroni recently to talk about fitness and how the gym can change a young person’s life in a meaningful manner.

M&F: What motivated you to dedicate a significant your life to fitness and working out in the gym?

Nick Ferroni: I have been lucky enough to be involved with athletics my whole life. Some people enjoy working out and some people force themselves. I don’t drink and I don’t do drugs, and my only stress reliever in life is working out. As an educator, I have my best thoughts and creative moments when my mind is clear and I am in the gym and focused on my workout. It’s like anything else; it becomes habitual. Some people, like myself, feel almost guilty when we don’t workout because it is one of the main ingredients to our daily happiness as a stress reliever and as a daily accomplishment.

How do you balance life as a busy teacher and dedicated athlete?

I go to the gym before school and I work out on my own. After school, if I don’t have meetings, I actually train a group of my students from the high school. It’s more focused on them, I work out a little with them, but at the same time it serves many purposes.

I found a lot of success with my students, a lot of whom tend to have aggression issues or tend to be emotionally unstable. I take them to the gym, we work out for an hour, and we relieve stress and aggression in a positive way. Indirectly, this teaches them structure, and it teaches them goals and other all-important characteristics that they carry over into life.  It creates habits and routines that make them successful when they go to college. Exercise is a positive and beneficial force for them.

I have found that people in life who stick to routines and are consistent with their behavior are more successful. They see things through, they complete more things and they are goal-oriented. Following through with a workout and sticking to a workout plan is directly related your success and your focus in life.

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