“It was all a dream, I used to read MD magazine…” Seriously though. As far back as I remember, well… at least since I was 8 years old when my family and I had just moved to the awesome US of A from Romania, I have this vivid memory going into Chuck E Cheese’s and passing by a New York Sports Club, and looking in awe through the wide windows at all the shiny equipment and all the people working out. And I said to myself – “One day I will go to the gym and work out too and have big muscles like Bruce Lee, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Arnold and Rambo…



Fast forward 17 years later, I’m standing on the Tribeca stage at the Atlantic States Championships, being handed a novice overall trophy by Jay Cutler himself at my very first bodybuilding competition! But let’s rewind a little, there’s a lot more that’s happened prior to getting here and a lot more after…


Born in 1986 in Pitesti, Romania to Marius and Marcela Petric, one a mechanical engineer gone entrepreneur and the other a math teacher, I was the first child, with my brother being born four years later. We had a normal childhood, well… if you consider normal in the sense of growing up three years under the communist rationing system, seeing a revolution unfold and then enjoying the new perks of democracy with an overload of candy, soda and exotic fruit being readily available – it was a good time to be a kid in Romania!


It wasn’t until 1995 that my parents won the visa lottery and we picked up and left with four large duffel bags and $3,000 – the land of opportunity. And opportunity is what we got, as my parents took advantage of the Clinton years and partook in all sorts of government programs to take career development courses, Medicare and plenty of food stamps. Six years later, they had taken all the exams to recognize their diplomas from Romania, both got certified and began teaching high school math, had just bought their first home and were ready to interview for citizenship. Point in sharing all these details is that their drive to succeed and their values were deeply rooted in me, in turn making me successful in any endeavor I’ve aspired to achieve.


Now back to what got me to start lifting things up and putting them down. It wasn’t until while attending Pompton Lakes High School that I began working out, first in the little gym we had at the clubhouse of our townhouse development the winter of my sophomore year. Now you’d think – as a young 17 year old in New Jersey I started working out to fit in with all the other Jersey spiky haired, Armani Exchange wearing guidos. And you’re absolutely right, I did. Prior to that I was a skinny goth weirdo with long hair who decided to have a full transformation and happen to win the “Best Dressed” and “Most Changed Since Freshman Year” categories in the senior yearbook. Go figure!


Now, it wasn’t until later during free gym hours at the end of my senior year that I mustered the guts to begin lifting weights. Prior to that I was intimidated – I didn’t want to look stupid and incapable of doing exercises the right way. To my surprise, all the kids on the football or wrestling teams were eager to give me pointers and even compliment me on the way I look.

To be continued…

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