Joel has a B.S. in Exercise Science and a minor in Coaching from Miami of Ohio.  After spending 4 years as a member of the MU gymnastics team and a full year as a Division I intern strength coach,Joel began working professionally as a personal trainer and strength coach at an elite Chicago health club.  Since that time, Joel has furthered his professional education by becoming certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (CSCS), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (CPT), CrossFit Level 1 Trainer (CF-L1), USA Track and Field, Certified Speed and Agility Trainer, F.I.G.H.T. Instructor (Israeli Martial Arts), Certified John Clarke Combat Wrestling Instructor, a graduate of the SOF/a program (a 7 day leadership boot camp put on by the Navy SEALS and Army Rangers simulating mini-BUDs), as well as numerous other certifications.

Since 1998, Joel has completed 11 Ironman Triathlons; over 30 marathons; multiple Ultramarathons; 2 100-mile trail races; represented Team USA at the World Long Course Triathlon Championships; made the Team USA Duathlon team; earned 1st degree Black Belts in Haganah and Taekwondo as well as a Green Belt in Combat Wrestling; had top finishes in half-Ironman, Ironman, marathon, and urban adventure runs; top age group finishes in triathlons; top finishes in the Tough Mudder; completed numberous GORUCK Challenges; and has become a certified FIGHT Instructor.  Among his list of athletic accomplishments, Joel has completed 7 Racing the Planet 7-day 155-mile desert ultra running races (in Chile, China, Egypt, Antarctica, Namibia, Australia, and Nepal.

Joel specializes in high intensity, endurance/ultra endurance, strength, flexibility, sport-specific, and injury reconditioning. Since 1996, Joel has worked with a full array of populations with goals ranging from youth to adult, weekend warrior to professional athlete, celebrity to royalty.  Joel continues to pride himself on bringing his unique brand of fitness to all of his clients. After years in a corporate health club setting, Joel opened First Step Fitness to offer a facility where creative trainers can push their clients to reach their goals.  He believes in his message of, “Catch Up, Keep Up, or Lead the Way” and works to bring that message to his clients every day.  As a co-author of the book The Power of Team, Joel believes fitness and teamwork can make any goal possible.

Phone: 312.933.5295


  • High Intensity
  • Endurance/Ultra Endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Sport-specific
  • Injury Reconditioning


  • B.S. in Exercise Science
  • Minor in Coaching
  • Miami of Ohio
  • 4 years MU gymnastics team
  • Div. I intern strength coach
  • 11 Ironman Triathlons
  • 30 marathons
  • Multiple Ultramarathons
  • Two 100-mile trail races
  • Black Belt Haganah
  • Black Belt Taekwondo
  • Team USA World Long Course Triathlon