If you asked Kenneth “Kenny” Ferrer while he was growing up if he thought of himself as a runner, he would have said “definitely not.” Now, the former professional and college baseball player is an iPEC Certified Professional Coach, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, nutrition specialist, and success coach. We sat down with Aaptiv’s newest trainer to learn more about his transition to running, his teaching style, and how he approaches challenges.
Full name: Kenneth Ferrer
Hometown: Pleasantville, NY
Favorite Snack: Hummus, fruit, Magic Spoon cereal with Ripple plant milk
Favorite type of music: Old songs that have been remixed into current EDM music
Favorite hobbies: playing with his French Bulldog, Snax; writing a stream of consciousness journal
How did you get into fitness? Did you play sports growing up?
I was a baseball prospect from the age of nine years old. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. I was successful on one team, then I got invited to play for another, then to these Little League World qualifying teams, which then lead to these Babe Ruth League teams. It’s this snowball effect that many athletes, who then become student athletes, experience.
I was a very good hitter and had a really good arm. By the time I got to high school, my senior year I was Louisville Slugger Player of the Year for the state of New York. I got 30 scholarship offers and choose Elon University. I was also Player of the Year for my county. I had all of these crazy accolades.
So how did you get into running?
While I was very successful at baseball as a pitcher, I was a terrible runner. I actually hated running until I was about 21 years old. I was tied up in this mindset that I was built for power, not speed. It wasn’t until my first year in NYC, after I left baseball, that I started to adopt the first seedlings of my runner’s lifestyle. Now I see myself as a runner.
The first start was the studio I taught at. I started there as a client, and my first sprint for 30 seconds was at an 8.0—I thought it was going to die. But I went about it with this mindset that I wanted to make gradual improvements over time. I increased the speed to 8.5, which I was able to handle, but then I started increasing it by .1 every class. In the end, I ran at 12.5, which was the maximum, at a 15% incline for over a minute. Basically, through the progress of challenging this whole belief, I learned that we’re much more capable than we give ourselves credit for. We just need to be able to take those daily steps in the right direction.
How does that feed into your teaching style?
I constantly encourage runners at all levels to run their finest sprint, to increase their speed by .1 every day. If you’re biting off small manageable chunks, you’re experiencing levels of accomplishment and confidence that pour into every area of your life. I look at fitness and these classes as an opportunity to help other people make small changes in terms of process that then lead to big shifts in terms of outcome.
Do you have a mantra?
Yes, it’s actually written on my inner forearm. My mantra is, “you decide who you are.” I got that at a point in my life where I took all these tangible steps towards my dreams. As a result, things happened–not necessarily in the way that I expected them to—but, because I was open, I was able to see them for what they were.
How do you get through a bad day?
A few weeks ago they started modernizing the elevator in my building, and I live on the 7th floor. I already have a spiritual practice—I call it going to the spirit gym—that involves gratitude, setting an intention for the day, meditating, and just actively spreading good vibes and doing kind things for people. Now, at the end of the day, I do something called stairway to gratitude. After every day, I walk up the stairs, and I reflect in my Instagram stories on what I’m grateful for that day. I do it until I get to the top of the stairs. It makes me totally disengage with the inconveniences that were thrown at me and engage with all the things I’m grateful for in my life.
It’s really all about perspective. I’m not letting myself get to the top of the stairs without reflecting on some of the good things that happened. It also challenges me to look for things to be grateful for as I go through my day so I can reflect on them later on. I’m not saying that I don’t experience challenges, I just don’t label them as bad. I think everything happens for a reason, and it’s just about shifting your perspective to see what you can do with it.