By Annalisa Gangone
Danan Fleary, current student at SFC, has an interesting profession with a tumultuous backstory: he’s a licensed personal trainer.
“When I first started going to college, physical therapy was my major. Got my associates in physical therapy and was qualified to be a physician’s assistant. Then, I got derailed. The counselor at that school said it [exercise physiology] works hand in hand with physical therapy”
Although personal training was not the goal he originally was working towards, Danan kept moving forward and attempted to get his bachelor’s in physical therapy at Hunter. However, the year he started attending, they removed the program, leaving Danan stranded.
He then transferred back once again to Queens College and decided to stick out a degree in exercise physiology.
“I hated it; I guess I decided to continue with it because it was something I knew. I just wish I had stuck to my guts and continued with physical therapy.”
Later in his career in Queens College, he was offered a chance to take part in a research internship on bone density in the elderly and the connection exercise has on it.
However, “I was running the whole program and my professor didn’t like it, so he ended up telling me that I wasn’t allowed to do it [the internship] anymore and that I’d end up failing.”
Upset with losing out on a great opportunity, Fleary decided to search for another internship.
“I ended up at the Equinox right here in Brooklyn Heights. I did my hundred hours and they kept me on. I’ve worked there for about six years.”
He just recently quit his job at the Equinox and has started his own business.
“With my degrees in nutrition and exercise physiology and my certifications, it puts me at “exercise physiologist,” so very different from just a personal trainer.”
Danan’s new business is a little mix of everything he loves, “I still do training with my clients, I do a lot of corrective exercise, and lifestyle training”
With his help, “people can go about their day feeling good about themselves, and getting them interested in working out, having it become a part of their normal routine”
“I work with clients who’ve had surgeries and help them get back to normal living. Normal things like walking, walking up the steps, I work on the physiological aspects of their life”
Although to many, exercise feels like a drag, Danan wants people to think of exercise as something maintainable yet fun.
“I’m more about lifestyle… I keep it more as functional movement. I’m into figuring out what you like to do and taking those things and working with those things.”
When asked what his favorite form of training is, Danan said, “Kettlebells are a big thing for me… the good thing about them is that the heavier it is, the better your form is… It’s a little bit of a lot of things. Functional training, resistance training, endurance training, strength training; it pretty much is all encompassing.”
Even with all these accomplishments, Fleary enrolled at SFC for a very specific reason.
“My end-all be-all is to become a nurse anesthesiologist.”
He also plans on getting training in the field of pain management.
“Getting people to start moving, if I can incorporate that somehow, it would be interesting to see the progression of somebody dependent upon a pain medication and trying to wean them off of that with functional movement and exercise of some sort to keep the pain level down.”
Danan wants to help people get to be the best they could be.
“I have a very nurturing attitude. Helping people is energizing to me… I like the enthusiasm. If you need help, I’ll help you in any way I can.”