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Carlstadt Man Ditches Dream Job For Elmwood Park Gym

In August, Mike Nunziato will celebrate four years in his Elmwood Park location. Photo Credit: Instagram
That's 156 pounds of chains attached to the bar Nick Suriano has on his shoulders Photo Credit: Instagram

CARLSTADT, N.J.– Mike Nunziato of Carlstadt was preparing himself mentally and physically to become a New Jersey state trooper.

He had the working out part down pat. The former outside linebacker for Paramus Catholic and Monmouth University also earned a health and fitness degree.

The catch: Exams.“I never wanted to study for them,” said Nunziato, who also obtained a criminal justice degree. “I gravitated back to the [physical] training.”

A dozen years ago, he became a personal trainer.

His parents didn't like it.

“What kind of career can you make out of this? You have no benefits, no retirement,” they said.

Undaunted, Nunziato chased his new dream, eventually opening Total Nunziato Training (TNT ), which focuses on sports performance, 1-on-1 training, adult fitness and physical therapy.

“We build a different atmosphere,” Nunziato said. “You come in for one class at 4 or 5 p.m. every day and the music’s blasting. The next class, the music is different, the atmosphere is different.”

“I’m constantly educating myself,” said Nunziato, who was invited to speak at the University of Michigan and continues to seek new certifications.

In August, he’ll celebrate four years in his Elmwood Park location.

There and at his former Saddle Brook location, Nunziato has trained some of North Jersey’s elite athletes, from undefeated four-time state champion wrestler Nick Suriano to NFL player Blake Costanzo to former PC star and current Michigan Wolverine Jabrill Peppers.

Over 20 of his athletes have earned Division I scholarships.

“These are some blue collar, tough kids,” Nunziato said. “If they’re there with me, there’s no B.S.”

Nunziato has trained Suriano since the latter was in fifth grade, and they were both recently featured in Sports Illustrated.

“He’s special to me,” Nunziato said.

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