Rocco’s  recovery from pneumonia led him to his fitness comeback losing over 20 lbs, reducing his high blood pressure and getting himself in top shape!

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I was always the healthy, athletic and energetic one in the family. I loved hearing it when family and friends told me “you look great” and “you are getting better with age.” Slowly, though, I noticed those comments were being said less and less. I knew why –

I was becoming the typical Mongelli male, like my uncles, dad and brother, who gradually gained weight and become less active.

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Over the last few years the numbers on the scale were going nowhere but up, and it was when I saw it hit 215 pounds that it scared me. I was always used to seeing it at 195. Round, bloated, lethargic and lazy became my acceptable condition. Egg whites were swapped with donuts, vegetables with cookies, and healthy dinners turned into pizza … all the time.

It all hit rock bottom in November 2013 when I was diagnosed with pneumonia. It was the first time my doctor looked at me and said, “You are very sick, and people die from this.” My weight gain contributed to my low immune system and I am sure it had a part in what I was going through. There I was – my lungs full of fluid, sitting at 212 pounds, with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

I had a hard enough time breathing without being sick, let alone doing it with the weight I had put on. This was my wake-up call.

It took a good six months for me to get back to feeling normal again. Being an avid ball hockey player, I could tell I wasn’t myself on the floor. Guys would run right by me and I would come off the floor panting like I had ran miles, even though it was only a 30-second shift. This is when I knew it was time to make a change. I always felt at home at Bodies by Design in the past, so I decided to get back to the place where I knew would help. Their GRIP program was new to me, but it seemed as if it was designed for me as well. The end goal was mine but the responsibility was shared among BBD’s coaches. Success would only happen if we all made it happen, and it was comforting knowing I wasn’t in this alone.

Having been with BBD since its inception 16 years ago, my familiarity and confidence came back quickly.

During my first session back I almost threw up all over myself, but I could only blame myself for letting my fitness level get to that point.
I had a tough time looking in the mirrors during exercises because I looked horrible, but at the same time I wanted to see myself change. I began to like lunges, love the mountain climbers and developed a love-hate relationship with back exercises. Nat, my trainer, got me focused from Day 1, not only with training, but also with setting my daily caloric intake and helping me choose healthy meal options. Their Nutrient Coaching program, the 40-40-20 rule (40% carbs, 40% protein, 20% healthy fats), and my 1,800 calorie-a-day limit became my saving grace. I had to stick to these numbers if I wanted my transformation to be successful.

Three days a week of intense workouts, great eating habits and playing ball hockey were making me feel like me again. The scale moving in the right direction at my weekly BBD weigh-ins, and my body slimming and shaping was all I needed! Talk about motivating!

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My goal was to get down to 195 pounds, and I had set myself a personal stretch goal of 190. I was able to get past my goal and ended up at 193 pounds, and I was also able to shave 12 centimetres off my waist. More importantly for me, is how I feel physically. I sleep better, I look better, my energy level is up, and my stamina – on and off the ball-hockey floor – has been amazing! I’m also proud I have accomplished the challenges my trainer imposed on me that I thought I would never have been able to do, whether it is the heavy weights I can now lift that I couldn’t before, or overcoming the mental stresses of this journey. Nat has kept me motivated and never let me say no.

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What’s Next?

For me, this is a marathon and not a race.

Everything I wanted to accomplish has become reality, however, it’s the bad dream that I want to continue to avoid. No more waking up with aches and pains, no more being lethargic, no more panting like a dog at the end of my hockey shift. I absolutely love how I’ve adapted to a new lifestyle of eating and exercise. My new favourite word is “clean.” Everything I do now to my body, mind and soul will be “clean.” I have learned how to reduce my blood pressure and cholesterol while getting into top athletic shape!

My goal is measured in both numbers and impact. I want to be lean and fit, however, the most important goal I have is to change the “Mongelli male” perception. I am now the influencer to my son, my nephew and the generations to come, demonstrating that a Mongelli is a healthy male and one will continue to hear compliments of “you look great!” as they age. I intend to keep up the hard work. How far can I go? I don’t know, which is now the motivation. I intend to be healthy for me, my kids and my family. My next biggest challenge will be participating in the World Ball Hockey Championships this May, and if my 25-year playing career is coming to an end soon, I want to make sure I end it feeling like I did when I started at 18 years old – like a bull!

We spend so much time, money and effort making ourselves unhealthy.

I believe we are a product of our environment, and only I can create the environment I want my family to live in. My “aha” moment came when I realized that Every choice you make at the drive-thru, when opening the fridge, or over-indulging contributes to getting ourselves in a downhill spiral. So why not make that same effort to make ourselves healthy! When you do, the uphill climb will seem so much easier and gratifying than the crash of fat free-fall!

Rocco M.

Client Star Profile






Rocco has always been active throughout his life, whether it was playing competitive ball hockey or weight training, and he had always made time to stay active, but he reached a point in his life that most people would describe as “life got in the way.” Being a career-driven person, and having young kids at home, he found himself at a standstill.

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I remember the first time he came back about a year ago and said to me, “That’s it, I’m serious now – no more excuses,” and that he was ready to focus on himself and achieve the goal he’s always wanted.

Rocco has always loved resistance training so we incorporated that into his 3-day-a-week split program, and added aerobic exercises as well. We also included a strict meal plan, where he was still allowed to eat the food he loved, but now he was counting his calories, which gave him the results he was looking for.

I think Rocco is in the best shape he’s ever been in. He has a more positive outlook on life and feels great about himself, which has made him a great family man and very successful in his career.

Nat Augurusa

Trainer Star Profile


Persistence and perseverance are the first words that come to mind when I think of Rocco. He has wanted to be a Star Profile for years now but bad luck seemed to always strike down his aspirations. Whether it was a new sports injury or a car accident, there always seemed to be something that would stop him in his tracks. He would then have to take time off from the gym for recovery, and in the interim, his health would digress and his weight would progress.
rocco mongelli and kris simpsonI haven’t seen too many people get through the setbacks that Rocco has had and keep coming back. It’s truly amazing. Most people would have given up many years (and injuries) ago. This is what makes Rocco a true champion, not just in the sports arena, but also as a family man and in business.
I admire the balance that Rocco has achieved in his life. Many friends of mine would love to continue playing sports and still have time for their families. Rocco has been able to do this and more. He has also has a clean bill of health now, securing his future and really allowing him to live a full life without the fear of the next inevitable health issue. This is true peace of mind.
I also admire that Rocco has put an end to the cycle of what he calls the “Mongelli Male” perception by setting an example for his son and the rest of his family. Congratulations on finally reaching the Star Profile Podium. It was a long and challenging quest, but through persistence and perseverance you made it and we’re all super proud of you!


Kris Simpson
Fitness Coach