This article is dedicated to the loving memory of Alena Luciani’s father, Joe Luciani. May he rest in peace.
From Golden Hawk to Bobcat and now a York Lion, Alena Luciani has stopped at nothing to reach new heights and achieve her goals. She’s making a name for herself in the athletic world as she takes on her newest career as the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach to all our great varsity athletes.
Name: Alena Luciani
Position: Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach
Hometown: Oakville, ON
Educational Background: BAKin from WLU & MSc in Coaching from Ohio University (certifications: CSCS, Pn1, USAW-SP1)
Age: 27 (even though people think I’m 21 J)
Favourite Quote: “Someone once told me not to bite off more than I can chew. I said I’d rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity.”
Hobbies: Running, cooking, blogging, finding hidden gems for good food and good coffee
What sports did you play growing up? How did you get introduced to the sporting world?
Ah, what sports didn’t I play growing up! I tried a bit of everything, but primarily basketball, soccer, volleyball, track and lacrosse (I tried dance but it totally wasn’t my thing). Basketball was my favourite, so as I got older that’s the one I focused on, which led me to play four years with the Laurier Golden Hawks.
I would definitely credit my parents and my brothers for getting me into sports. I spent so much time watching my mom, dad and brothers in sport that it was only natural for me to follow – and I’m so happy I did!
What was your experience like being a student-athlete at Wilfrid Laurier University?
It really was awesome – what a privilege it was to be able to represent my school playing the sport I love. It wasn’t easy at times, a lot of sacrifice goes into being a student-athlete but it was most definitely worth it. I also had my fair share of difficulties, but I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything; it helped shaped the coach and the person I am today.
What led you to pursue a Masters in Coaching at Ohio University, and what did you take from that experience?
My brother Vince actually did his Masters in Coaching there a few years prior and always spoke so highly of the school and program. I knew it would be a very important step for me as a strength coach to pursue my Masters, so it was a natural next step. It was also great to get experience coaching at an NCAA DI school to get a different perspective on things.
What started the whole idea of Training2XL?
It was after I had finished my sports career and I was moving in the direction of being a strength coach that I started to realize I felt a little lost without sport. I wanted a platform and an outlet to share my passion for sport, coaching, training and nutrition with others. I wanted to share what I learned throughout my experience as an athlete and show others the importance of living a healthy lifestyle – not just in sport, but in life as well.
So, Training2XL became my platform to share my passion, but also get hands-on with helping others. I offer training programs, nutrition coaching, one-on-one and small group training on my website. I want to help others succeed with their goals, whatever those may be. You’ll hear me refer to everyone as an athlete – athletes in sport are athletes that are still competing in organized sport and athletes in life are people that are looking to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. As much as I love working with athlete still competing in sport, I never want to narrow my demographic to just them – we’re all athletes!
Training2XL was actually a group-training program I created at Laurier. I had just spent my summer working at Twist Sport Conditioning in Burlington and I wanted to bring that same group dynamic to my job as a personal trainer at WLU. Definitely need to give props to my mom for the name Training2XL (which means TRAINING TO EXCEL) she’s the clever one!
Who is your role model and why?
I have four…the four most important people in my life – my mom, dad and two brothers Dante and Vince. Each has helped shape me into the person I am today in very different ways. They’ve guided me, challenged me and loved me unconditionally through my journey. My dad recently passed away but he left me with so many life lessons to carry on to all my current and future athletes – I hope to continue his legacy through my coaching.
Why did you choose to come to York and how has your experience been so far here at York U?
Crazy how timing in life works sometimes. I had just come home from Ohio and had been applying to so many coaching jobs when the position here at York popped up, I applied immediately and the rest is history! It’s been great so far. The athletes have been awesome and have made me feel so welcome (even though I was once a Golden Hawk). I am so excited for what’s to come this year!
How do you plan on making a difference in the Athletics Department here at York as the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach?
I want to bring my passion for sport and coaching to all the athletes here. I want to share with them the tools I wish I had when I was a student-athlete, and I want to help them in their journey to success. I’m a little bit of a nutrition geek, so that’s something I’ve been excited to bring to York – helping athletes understand the importance of good nutrition in their performance and everyday lives!
What is one thing you always share with the athletes you work with? What is one piece of advice you’d like to share with our readers?
As I mentioned above, it’s a PRIVILEGE to be a student-athlete and not one we can take for granted. Be proud and work hard. I also remind them that I’ve once walked in their shoes so I do understand what they’re going through, and continue to live vicariously through them everyday…
Don’t be scared of early mornings and a little hard work – if you really love what you do, it won’t feel like work!
What are some of your goals for the future?
Oh boy, you’re asking someone who writes goals every day…I have a lot! But I definitely want to always continue growing, learning and enjoying what I do. I am going to keep developing Training2XL and continue helping athletes succeed in sport and in life.
After a long week, how do you wind down?
A bottle of kombucha (GTS’s is my fave) and recipe testing in my kitchen, or blogging/reading at a local coffee shop or café.
I’d like to personally thank Alena for taking the time to share so much about her personal journey to where she is now. You are truly an inspiration to many. I, along with the rest of Her Campus YU, can’t wait to see all that you achieve this year. Welcome to York U! If you’d like to keep up-to-date with all things Training2XL be sure to follow Alena on IG @training2xl and visit her website www.training2xl.com