Tony Ardolino, 2nd place in the bathing suit competition and wins Mr. Gay USA pageant

Tony moved here from a somewhat small town in Maine with a dream of becoming Mr. Gay World USA.
Even though he made decent progress on training on his own he held back because he was afraid of getting hurt training by himself and needed someone to help bring his physique to the next level.

He was a bit torn between me and another personal training studio nearby in Boonton and saw me training inside and decided to take me up on my personal training free trial.


Some of the obstacles that came up before we even started were neither of us had done this before (some compete year after year) and he only had 2 days per week where he could come and train with me. So I needed to create a customized program that was complete and ruthlessly efficient that would still bring him the kind of results that would make him a contender. There was no room for error or filler exercises.

I had put together a program that in just 2 days per week would cover his entire body.

I knew we had to train:

  • upper-body push (bench press and military press)
  • upper-body pull (chin ups)
  • hip dominant movement (hip thrusts)
  • knee dominant movement (squats).

And I had to have a strategy to progress each of them to bring the best results possible, as fast as possible.

The competition was stiff. We were up against 50 other contenders each of whom had won in their state who also had the same dream and some had resources we didn’t have. Some would spend thousands upon thousands upon thousands on having pageantry coaches, professionally made costumes, and having performers on stage with him.

Tony had me, his work ethic, a wonderful singing voice, his creativity, and a DIY costume he put together himself with things bought at the dollar store.

But I like to think I’m good at what I do, and Tony is a hard worker. He traveled all the way from Andover 40 mins each way and showed up each day ready to bring me his best. Doing this despite the pressures of work and having a princess business (he had to stay in Florida for about a month on a work assignment), going through a breakup, and losing loved ones along the way.

But the program I designed for him gave him significant increases of strength like doing 20 consecutive reps with 15lbs heavier than his previous Bench Press 1RM among other increases in overhead pressing and squatting and full body strength.

Not only did his entire body get much stronger but he developed a balanced and toned physique that won him 2nd place in the bathing suit competition. Beating out Instagram influencers with millions of followers.

The strength increases not only gave him the physique he needed to not just be a contender, but also the self-confidence he needed to be true to himself and win the whole thing.

Mr Gay usa trains at Eric Moss Fitness
Tony being crowned Mr. Gay USA

In truth, I believe it was Tony’s authenticity that won over the judges. Instead of trying to be what he thought they would want, he had the confidence to be himself, to be who he was meant to be…which in the end is what they actually wanted.

Now, he is going to represent the United States taking on the winners of the other countries. He’ll have a team behind him and hopefully, I’ll be the one in charge of making sure his physique is as perfect as possible.

What comes next? World domination.


Eric Moss is a personal trainer in Boonton and doubles as a world-record-holding modern-day professional performing strongman, author, and motivational speaker. In the tradition of the strongmen more common during the turn of the century, he performs feats of strength such as bending steel and breaking chains as part of a show and speaks on goal achievement for corporations, nonprofits, government as well as for schools and universities. His exclusive personal training studio is located on Main Street in Boonton New Jersey, is close to Mountain Lakes, Denville, Montville and Parsippany New Jersey.

Highlights from my most recent strongman show (first one at a church)

If you are unfamiliar with me, in addition to being a personal trainer with a personal training gym on Main Street in Boonton, I’m also a modern-day performing strongman. In other words, I perform feats of strength like bending steel and breaking chains as a part of a live show much as they did in circuses and theaters during the late 1800s and early 1900s but with a modern-day twist.

This video shows some of the highlights from my most recent strongman show. It was my first one at a church. Though I’m a spiritual person, I don’t often espouse my beliefs on others unless they ask and I feel they are actually open to hearing it. It was a referral from a former personal training client of mine who is a member of the congregation there. I hope you enjoy it.

No, we don’t get religious in my place. We are exclusive because we are inclusive of races, genders, ethnicities, sexual preferences etc. We don’t judge (that’s not our place). We are united under the common goal of training to be our best selves.

If you are interested in training with me, I offer a one-week trial membership. Text me at 973 476 5328 to get started.


Eric Moss is a personal trainer in Boonton and doubles as a world-record-holding modern-day professional performing strongman, author, and motivational speaker. In the tradition of the strongmen more common during the turn of the century, he performs feats of strength such as bending steel and breaking chains as part of a show and speaks on goal achievement for corporations, nonprofits, government as well as for schools and universities. His exclusive personal training studio is located on Main Street in Boonton New Jersey, is close to Mountain Lakes, Denville, Montville and Parsippany New Jersey.

The mistake with Functional Strength Training

One of the ways I distinguish myself as a personal trainer with a personal training studio in Boonton is by saying what I do is functional training. Functional training is distinguished from bodybuilding style training in that it is intended for performance, rather than pumping up for aesthetics alone.

In my opinion, functional strength training is often misused and misunderstood. Years ago, a woman I trained hurt her back shoveling snow (before she met me that is), and hired a personal trainer to come to her home. The personal trainer had her do exercises on a stability ball while lifting light dumbbells claiming it was for functional strength. I had her do deadlifts.

The truth of the matter is functional strength, needs to have STRENGTH plain and simple. Strength training should make you strong. Controversial right? The main question I have when it comes to exercise selection is “Will this transfer to whatever sport, activity, or occupation we are training for?”

And there are many ways to build strength. It all depends on how it is programmed and progressed. Right now among my clients, I have an acrobat, 2 performing martial artists, a lacrosse/football player (right now he trains with his team), a multi-sport triathlete, an electrition, a paramedic preparing for an elite level certification, a woman in the military training to be fit for duty with the new physical standards, a ballroom dancer and a nurse among others who escape me at the moment. Each of them wants to be stronger for their chosen endeavors.

“strength” is “functional strength”

And barbell training can work for that, so can kettlebells and many other ways of creating resistance. I like to mix and match the various methods I’ve learned over 17 years of doing this. Often times what determines the course of their training is their personal preferences.

Strength training needs to make you stronger plain and simple and it needs to be taken in the context of what the goal is. For me and my other business as a modern-day performing strongman, my training needs to keep me at a level where I can perform my feats of strength, and I also like to be all-around strong and look the part (people want to see the physique of a superhero).

And when it comes to the various challenges oftentimes seen in the gym, yeah circus stuff is fun and good, but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Think of it this way, who would you rather have come and help you with whatever you do, someone with a double bodyweight deadlift? Or someone who can balance on a ball?

How about instead of doing weird challenges (like squatting on top of a barbell), why not see how good you can get at your sport? If you don’t have one, why not see how strong you can get at the basics (however you define them). Can you add weight to the overhead press? How about seeing how much stronger you can get your squat? What about being able to do more chin-ups (or even your first)? You can add other stuff too, but if it’s in a program, there needs to be a reason for it.

If you need help with putting it all together to get real results, send me a text at 973 476 5328 and start your trial membership at my personal training studio in Boonton.


Eric Moss is a personal trainer in Boonton and doubles as a world-record-holding modern-day professional performing strongman, author, and motivational speaker. In the tradition of the strongmen more common during the turn of the century, he performs feats of strength such as bending steel and breaking chains as part of a show and speaks on goal achievement for corporations, nonprofits, government as well as for schools and universities. His exclusive personal training studio is located on Main Street in Boonton New Jersey, is close to Mountain Lakes, Denville, Montville and Parsippany New Jersey.