Who is the man behind LFTD?Jul 19, 2023
Anthony Monetti, the Founder of LFTD Fitness Co., began his bodybuilding journey at 13. He looks a lot different now, but his passion remains the same, and he’s turned it into a career that focuses on teaching others how to lift weights safely and efficiently to build confidence, embrace a positive mindset, and transform their bodies. Here’s an exclusive look into a recent interview with him.
How did your early childhood shape your career?
Leading up to my teenage years, I was athletic and pretty active. At 9 years old, I was a very hyperactive kid in judo. My parents would even say rambunctious. My older brother and I are 14 years apart. My parents struggled with infertility, as they experienced a couple of miscarriages, a stillborn, and lost a baby at 4 hours old. So, before me, they weren’t sure if they could have kids again.
Then I showed up and was off to the races out of the gate. I was always doing something, constantly moving around, and my parents were older, so they needed something to keep me busy. That’s when sports came into the picture. I fell in love with judo. It taught me discipline and respect through physical activity. It was my first physical, organized, and structured exercise. Then, around 10 or 11, we moved. I had to leave my friends, and at that point, my brother didn’t live at home anymore, so I was basically like an only child.
I was trying to learn a new environment, meet new friends, and I became insecure. I was very anxious in social situations, so I didn’t do much. I resorted to filling the time by eating. My parents intervened and put me into any activity I could do. Baseball was cool, but there were three seconds of action and a lot of downtime. I tried soccer and hated it; all the running was not my thing.
At this point, I was 12 or 13 and continued to gain weight. I watched my mom and brother deal with weight challenges and unhealthy relationships with food. Knowing this, I wanted to take control and change my body. That mindset was the start of something bigger for me.
When was your ah-ha moment?
I was hanging out with a friend inside his house because it was raining. His brother was in the basement lifting weights, bench pressing specifically. I was intrigued and got under the bar. We took some weight off, and I tried it. I loved it.
I remember going home that day and telling my dad I wanted a weight bench for Christmas. Now, you have to put yourself in my dad’s position. Here I was, asking for something after I quit baseball and soccer. So, my dad looked at me and asked, “Are you going to do it? Are you going to stick with it?”
I told him I would, and God bless the man, that Christmas, I got a weight bench. So, I was down in the basement and thought I was extremely cool but had no idea what I was doing. The only instruction I had was this little pamphlet that came with the bench.
I got hurt a couple of times, and one time I couldn’t go to school because my back was jacked up. So, not the most glamorous start to my bodybuilding career, but that was the beginning.
At around 14, another friend of mine had an older brother who was going to Gold’s Gym, so that became a Friday night staple for us. Then, I went to my dad again, but this time asked for a gym membership. And again, he asked some very dad-like questions, “Do you know what you’re doing? Are you going to get hurt?”
He was reluctant but did sign me up. So, it wasn’t only a Friday and Saturday thing. It became a Monday-Friday thing. My parents would drop us off at the gym after dinner around 4:30-5, and my friend’s mom would pick us up at 7:30-8. And I started seeing results. The gym became my environment. My social anxiety didn’t exist when I was there.
Back then, gym culture wasn’t a lifestyle. It was more of a subculture and played into many stereotypes. Lots of men grunting, sweating, loud music, and steamy windows, and I loved it.
At what point did it become more than a hobby?
At 45, I realize I don’t know exactly when it happened. I would think, I can’t wait to train tomorrow, I can’t wait to do biceps, and that happened consistently. The gym was and is always the solution. You go to turn up the world or turn off the world. Mentally and physically, it’s powerful.
Honestly, I didn’t want to be a personal trainer for the longest time because I selfishly didn’t want it to take away from my personal connection to fitness. If you do something every day, you could get bored or burnt out and not want to do anything anymore. But sometimes, something is your calling, and you need to listen, serve others, and give back.
Where did the business truly begin?
It’s one thing to say, “I’m going to become a personal trainer.” And it’s another to say, “I’m going to open a gym.” I want to inspire people, and there’s got to be a level of uncomfortability with that. For me, it’s easy to show up and train somebody, and I don’t want to let that go, but at the same time, I had to consider where I was challenging myself.
I did some different jobs that were challenging in their own way, but nothing felt like a true fit. So, at 22, I decided I wanted to be on MTV. Classic 22-year-old guy aspiration. So, I ended up on the series True Life “Chasing The Perfect Body.” And from there, I continued my fitness journey and turned pro. But I was always pulled back to personal training. I started to realize that although it was easy to show up, teach exercise, and make money, it helped to propel me to live a better and healthier lifestyle too. That epiphany is where the business began.
How do you handle the balance between enjoying and being uncomfortable?
I listen to my gut. Sometimes, I feel a little trapped because I can’t take risks, but isn’t that just the nature of getting older and maturing? The risks I could take at 22, trying to get on MTV, are not the same as I could now. I’m glad I did it, but my risks need to be more calculated now. When I take time to step back and reflect, I can’t believe how lucky I am to exercise for a living, teach people to exercise for a living, and literally help people change their lives.
There needs to be satisfaction with what we’ve been given and to steward that. It’s a matter of shooting for the stars but planting your roots deep. It doesn’t mean I’ll stop pushing myself out of my comfort zone. There needs to be a balance between challenging yourself yet appreciating what you’ve got and embracing those moments of gratitude and thankfulness.
Trust the process, practice patience, and believe in yourself today! LET’S GO!
Hear more about Anthony’s journey through MTV, turning pro, and the creation of his business in the full podcast episode here.
Check out our Project My Life podcast here.
If video is more your speed, you can find us here.
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