It’s a ‘G’ Thing: Strongman competition gives New Yorkers fresh start and raises money for animal shelter

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“I love the physical challenge, pushing my physical body to see what I can do,” Todd Giorgi said.

A simple motivation, Todd Giorgi brings to the gym every day. Each rep is a reminder of how far he’s come.

“I used to be a junkie," he said. "I was addicted to some pretty hardcore drugs back in my youth.”

He’ll never forget the moment he decided to make a change.

“My decision came almost 16 years ago," he remembered. "[I said] I can’t do this anymore and I need help, I was done, I mean I was going to die.”

It’s a past Todd’s chosen to embrace, to show others that things can be different.

Now he’s the owner of NY Strong in Mamaroneck.

“I get to help people every single day,” Giorgi smiled.

He also hosts 'Strongman’ competitions, an amateur contest with varying events like the sandbag carry, log press and tire flip.

“Strongman isn’t always about being the strongest and lifting the most weight, some things are done for time or carried for distance,” he explained.

“It’s incredible, just to lift things you never knew you could do,” Kristen Boulay said.

Kristen Boulay grew up cheerleading and never pictured herself here

"I was a tumbler in cheer and my boyfriend convinced me that if I went to the gym with him, I’d be a better tumbler,” she remembered.

After her first tournament, a couple’s challenge, she was hooked. But as her body began to change, she faced some insecurities.

“[My necklace] says 'Strong is beautiful' and that’s very important to me as just the idea of being strong but still being able to be a woman,” Boulay said.

By day, Kristen’s a high school English teacher and by night...

“I am a world champion this year," she smiled.

This weekend she’ll be competing at Todd’s 'Strong-est Man and Woman 2' Show, all of the participants this weekend will be helping a good cause. Proceeds benefit Paws Crossed animal rescue, a way Todd feels is a small way for him to make up for the life he once lived.

“They were gonna die in the shelter and I just didn’t want to see that happen,” he said.

 

Produced by: Kim Pestalozzi