I am a certified personal trainer specializing in programs for children and adolescents. I design training regimens that take the emphasis off competition and place it on “play" by incorporating games (designed or modified to the capabilities of the child/adolescent) into each session. Some examples of these games include: Laser Ball, Time Traveler, Crazy Animals, Pilot's License, and, my all time favorite, Tractor Pulls. My philosophy is one of INclusion, not EXclusion. The best way to include a child or adolescent in an activity is to find out what he/she loves, such as a favorite television series or character, a video or computer game, or even a movie, and use that as motivation. I teach kids to actively pursue excellence in small, manageable increments through my method of EMPOWER. In essence, I teach kids how to move properly in order to reduce the risk of injury, and I focus on continuous improvement, not performance. My overall objective is to enable any child, regardless of ability or background, to have an active life through play and ultimately develop a long-term love for exercise.
My approach to fitness was developed by my own experiences. At the age of four, I was diagnosed with a learning disability that was both retrieval- and language-based. The diagnosis opened the floodgates to a series of judgments - from teachers, peers, and even relatives - as to what I could or could not accomplish in life. Despite my challenges with academics, there was one area that made all of that disappear: sports and fitness. All my insecurities and self-esteem issues were an afterthought when I was out on the fields and courts. This was possible as a result of a special set of programs that I was fortunate to be a part of while attending a school for students with learning disabilities. I participated in sports programs that emphasized play, inclusiveness, and a level playing field. It didn’t matter if you were a fast runner or fast math problem solver; it didn't matter if you could score 20 points in a game or process 20 words at a time; it didn't matter if you struck out or hit a homer by acing your exam. Everyone had their moment to shine.
I have since learned that this opportunity was quite unique. Sports and fitness can be intimidating to many children depending on their ability; I believe it should be used to promote inclusion. Sports and fitness can be a gateway to building self-esteem and confidence. With that in mind, I’ve created a unique approach to youth fitness by getting my clients to play and move prior to my injecting technique and development into the session. I consider myself to be both a teacher and a coach. As a teacher, my goal is to plant seeds; as a coach, my goal is to get results. Overall, my main objective is to provide kids, especially those who have been challenged just as I was, with opportunities similar to those I had growing up.
I live on the Upper West Side where I was born and raised. I grew up with a bigger backyard than most kids because my backyard was Central Park. I love to work out and am extremely active in many sports including basketball, baseball, tennis, golf, boxing, and scuba diving. In fact, scuba diving has allowed me to travel to many places such as the Bahamas, several Caribbean islands, Hawaii, Mexico, Australia, and Greece.
Michael holds the following certifications: ACE Certified Personal Trainer, IYCA Youth Fitness Specialist Levels 1-3, IYCA Youth Athletic Assessment Specialist, IYCA Youth Nutrition Specialist, NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist, NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist, NASM Group Training, CPR & AED, Concussion in Youth Fitness, and DIR 101 Certified (Developmental - Individual - Relationship-based), U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Emily Kline, MS, OTR/L
Emily is a licensed Occupational Therapist who received her Master of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy at University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she specialized in Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Disabilities. Emily has experience working in a variety of pediatric settings including schools and sensory gyms. She enjoys working with children of all ages and has specialized training in sensory processing, early intervention, reflex integration, and apraxia. Emily lives in Manhattan with her husband and rescue cat.
Brian Sullivan is a certified corrective exercise specialist, focusing on enriching the lives of our clients through personal training and sports activities. Growing up in New York City, Brian was involved, and competed, in numerous sports from an early age including basketball, boxing, baseball, swimming, and soccer. Brian has been working with students and youth with special needs for nearly a decade. As a teenager, he served as a mentor and tutor for his neighbor's son who was on the autism spectrum. He has experience as a Travel Trainer at the Rebecca School, helping students of all ages navigate through the city using various transportation modes. In addition, he supervises students at job internships and in diverse community settings such as the Urban Farm at Battery Park, Farm for City Kids in Vermont, and Best Buddies. Brian lives on the Upper East Side with his pet parrot, Geronimo.