Father of two ten-year-old twins, Patrick Curreri believes that one of the greatest things he can do to instill strength and confidence in his sons is by taking time to build it in himself. In this interview, Patrick shares how feeling strong — both mentally and physically — is about more than just himself. It’s the best way for him to be a role model for his family and a contributing member of his community.
What does a day look like in your life?
My husband and I have ten-year-old twins. So that keeps us on our toes, plus we homeschool, so most of the day is focused on them. Then I’ll get to my work, and that’s really how it goes.
How do you balance homeschooling with work and making time for yourself?
My husband and I really stress building confidence in our sons, and the best way is for us to build confidence in ourselves. I know we don’t have to talk about it right away, but Tonal has changed our lives.
It’s a technological wonder on our wall that we can access at any time, and it helps us build that mental strength and toughness. I bring so much emotion to every workout and leave it all there. It helps me find more focus during the day, look out for the boys’ needs, and leave all the negatives behind.
When you bring your emotions to every workout does that happen organically or require a conscious effort?
I didn’t always know how to do that. Firstly, I learned that from the coaches. I think Tonal has assembled the best group of coaches ever. I take what they say very seriously, and that allows me to leave everything else behind. You create confidence by working out, and then you begin to leave more space for positive feelings, and there’s less space for negative feelings.
In one of Coach Pablo’s boxing workouts, he talks a lot about his own history with bullying and how once he became stronger, nobody came after him. I also take cues from folks like Coach Natalie. I’m comfortable in my skin now — not because my body is perfect — but because I’ve learned it’s okay to look the way I do and still feel powerful and good about myself.
As a 42-year-old, these are things I didn’t think I would be learning. I can’t tell anyone else how to do that, but it happened gradually, as I made for the positive.
Secondly, Tonal is an amazing piece of technology, but when I found the community and my core group of like-minded folks who enjoy working out, that’s when Tonal really felt like it had a soul. That’s where I connect, and that’s why every workout is emotional. I have these feelings tied not just with Tonal but to myself and how I relate to other people because of this beautiful piece of equipment.
How has your newly-cemented strength and confidence positively impacted other areas of your life?
There are a couple of different ways I think about that. A year ago, I couldn’t do even one push-up without being winded or falling on the floor. My husband and I had been sick for about nine months — we had gone through a COVID-like illness. Both of us felt very weak, both physically and emotionally, and just drained from dealing with ongoing issues of bias and nastiness from our own community because of who we are and how we live.
We have been very active in the community. I served in office as a councilman in a historically unfriendly area to people of color and LGBTQ+ folks. We were taunted and targeted because I had initiated things like the first Pride resolution.
The ability to mentally and physically stand up for my family and my kids means everything. It allows me to be a good role model for them, and again, if I can protect them and defend them emotionally and physically, there’s real power in that knowledge. That’s where my strength and confidence come from.
The second is we live in the middle of a great hiking trail, and there are so many outdoor activities that I wouldn’t attempt — like hiking or taking the boys on a trip. I couldn’t physically engage with them outside. I was their soccer coach, and I couldn’t even run across the field. So I would hold myself back. Now? They laugh at me because I can pick them up under each arm and run around the house.
Although being an active community member wasn’t always easy, are there any moments that made you feel proud?
At its most basic, we got to model for our kids and show them that everyone can and should be involved in government. Even though politics can be toxic and change doesn’t always happen — some of my best personal moments were fighting for a few hundred dollars to add more sand to the ball field.
It’s the local stuff that council folks get into. So while everyone’s screaming and yelling at each other, it’s rewarding to get down to the actual business of running a town. That’s a lesson I even carry with me now. Cut through the noise and get down to what can be fixed and what can be done right now.
Many of us feel frustrated and sad about everything we can’t change in the world, but would you say that doing things in your backyard helped with that?
Of course! I mean, since it is Pride Month, we’ll talk about that. I’m gay, but I didn’t introduce the Pride resolution in my county because of who I am. It was because other folks in the community had called or emailed or sent a message to me saying we’d never had a Pride resolution in our county before from a city council. So, they asked me to convince the other council members to vote for it.
The people who reached out to me had the most incredible stories. They spoke at public sessions and meetings about their experiences, many of which weren’t easy to share. Watching them do that gave me the strength to go ahead and push for the resolution. It’s amazing how you can be inspired to make a change by one person telling a story. There are folks out there who need someone to speak for them [and take action a little closer to home].
What’s been your favorite experience about your journey as your strength has evolved?
I started this journey accidentally because my husband loves technology and loves buying gadgets. My husband kept mentioning these ads that he had seen for a digital weight machine, and he always wants to buy the newest and latest technology, and I said sure!
The last time I had seriously worked out was in 2007, and I was just constantly frustrated with my general lack of strength and energy, and I got tired of feeling that way. I wasn’t really looking to improve myself, but I knew something was missing. Tonal organically started to improve my life.
I’ve spent 42 years beating up my body. So when I’m going through any process, I try to remember that it took me 42 years to get here. It’s okay if it takes a few more to get the rest of it right.
I can do about 40 push-ups now, but my biggest source of pride is that I’ve mastered barre classes. I look like a demented ballerina, but when Coach Gabby looks at you through the screen and says, come on, baby, I know I’m getting through every pose!