By Luke Lombardo
“Sometimes it takes someone to wrong you in order for you to do what is right for your life.”
This is the saying I now live by.
Despite the fact that I was born and raised an East Coast kid, I’ve always had a strong affinity for the West Coast. I was never able to truly articulate why, just something about the atmosphere. And of course, the weather.
Back in 2013, when I initially began working with the megaformer, I was Lagree certified by a master trainer named Piper Michelle Yi. Her energy was infectious. I instantly adored her and wanted to be her friend. Over the years, I became extremely close with Piper and also Jen Yates, another master trainer and owner of her own megaformer studio in Pasadena. I often visited LA for work and pleasure. Every time I went to visit, I felt at home. I would conjure up a plan each and every year to move out to LA. I would tell Piper and Jen with excitement of the plan that I promised I would finally set forth, yet each year came with a new excuse to stay in NYC. Something was holding me back.
"Every time I went to visit, I felt at home."
Then life threw me an uncomfortable curve ball — a bad breakup. And, temporarily, I let that curve ball throw me out of the game.
The thing about being an endurance athlete is that training requires A LOT of hours, meaning that you have A LOT of time to yourself and quite a bit of time in your head. My training, the only thing in my life I always felt I could truly depend on, seemed impossible to maintain and I hit an all time low.
Sometimes you have to let emotions run their course and accept them as relevant for the time being. After all, we are only human! While sadness seemed to take over during long training rides and runs, something I was able to take advantage of was a little bit of anger that was boiling under my veins. This allowed me to sprint faster than I ever had before, so I took advantage of my temporary state of being. I hit the track hard, and I reassessed my spring race plans.
While I had initially planned on running the LA Marathon in February 2016, I refocused my energy on running and placing in a big 5K in LA the day before. This way, I could still race, as well as be in LA for the Olympic Trials and to pace a friend for the LA Marathon the next day.
The days leading up to my imminent trip to LA, I began to really think about if it was finally time to make the move. Finally, a few days before my LA trip, I sat on my couch, looked at my puppy, Mabel, and smiled, “Mabel, I think its time we have ourselves a little adventure!”
My trip to LA solidified any question of a doubt that I had about the move. As always, it felt like home. My race went great. The Olympic trials were inspiring, and I immediately got back into my training regimen. Most importantly, I had a supportive work environment in Jen’s studio, Studio Metamorphosis, that had patiently waited for me to finally put my “big boy pants” on and make the move I had been talking about for so many years. (I am also now working at 2 other studios in LA as well: Lagree Fitness Studio and Pilates Platinum.)
When I landed back in NYC, I said goodbye to friends and coworkers who I love dearly, had more than a couple tears, about 763 hugs, and with 5 suitcases, Mabel and I got on a plane and moved across the country.
As I write this, I have been in LA for exactly 4 weeks. Like any major change in life, there have been stress, tears, and adjustments, but for the most part, excitement, opportunities, and lots of sunshine.
LA and NYC are essentially like apples and oranges, so I truly believe the two aren’t comparable in any manner. Here are a few things I’ve learned in the past 4 weeks:
1) I lived in NYC since I was 18 years old. Needless to say, getting back to driving has been an adjustment. At first, I was essentially Cher Horowitz with her little white jeep wrangler.
2) From a training perspective, it is truly glorious to wake up every morning, knowing that it is going to be another beautiful day of sunshine and warm weather.
3) Mabel is truly living her best life here. We hike and go to a dog park everyday.
"Change is scary, but change is exciting."
I’m excited to continue to grow, work, learn, and live. Change is scary, but change is exciting. It forces you to grow as an individual. If anything, the best part of this change is to finally be able to say that I did it. And most importantly, that I did this for myself. That in itself has been a major accomplishment for me.
To conclude, I will refer to a present my best friend, Alex, got me the day before I moved out to LA. It is a necklace, with a rectangle representing NYC, as well as the state of Pennsylvania (where I grew up) and the state of California (my new home). They are all a part of me. They all define me. And they all will continue to be a part of the story that is called my life.
"They are all a part of me. They all define me."
Luke Lombardo’s first love is fitness, as witnessed by his credentials as a Lagree Certified trainer, RRCA Certified Running Coach, and fitness writer. Luke has been a dedicated athlete from a very young age. He belongs to an elite running team in LA and has also run marathons for numerous charities, raising money for children as well as for ALS. Currently he has a record high of placing 16th in his age group for the LA Marathon.
Luke's high energy, athleticism and likeability have attracted press coverage, including The Today Show, E! News, Good Morning America, In Style, NY1, Fox5, NY Daily, Metro NY, Shape and Gawker, to name a few. Luke claims that nothing in the world makes him happier than helping others reach their fitness goals.