How We Met
James: I have been a personal trainer since 2012. I got my degree in exercise science and it has been my passion ever since. I was training in upstate NY(Monroe) at Gold’s Gym. I had a great experience but I needed something bigger. I made the decision to move to the city and join Crunch Fitness. After only 90 days I was working my way up to management and become assistant manager. I was getting all these “people you may know” notifications on Facebook. I figured “Oh she’s cute!” and friend requested Erica. Maybe a year later, I am fitness manager of my club and I come in from port authority at 6:00 AM. I severely burned my leg after spilling coffee on me from Au Bon Paine. Long story short I was out of work for a week. While I lay at home, I notice a beautiful woman post that she needed help. ” Hey! Does anyone know about burns/burn creams? I burnt my arm on an egg cooker!” I messaged her immediately ” Hi, you don’t know me but I am the manager at 38th st Crunch.
Please take my advice and keep it covered when you work at the gym!” 2 hours later and we are still talking. We find out that my sister also was a performing Arts major at pace university, our hometowns are 20 min apart, and most importantly we have the same wacky sense of humor and love of fitness. It’s a no-brainer at this point, I asked her to grab coffee with me. We meet by her job at 34th St and we have a 2-3 hour coffee date. From here we made plans that upcoming Friday to go get sushi, and then we went dancing. I had no other agenda on my mind.. I didn’t want the night to end. We kept making plans from there and then everything happened so fast because it felt right. After only 5 months of being with each other, we went to Punta Cana… After a little over a year, we moved in with each other. A little under 3 years I asked her to be my wife. She is my best friend and I could not be more thrilled.
Erika: James and I are both Master trainers at Crunch Fitness, but have always worked at different club locations in NYC. We never formally met at work, but were Facebook friends. On January 31, 2016, I posted about a burn on my arm I had recently gotten (from my egg boiler machine, How trainer like of me!) and James messaged me with advice from a major 3rd degree burn he had also recently gotten on his leg from scalding hot coffee.
While James private messaged me with the intent to warn me to keep it covered so it doesn’t get infected in the gym (how romantic), We realized immediately how much we had in common. With the obvious commonalities of our job and being from Italian families, we realized that I had gone to college with Jame’s sister and sister-in-law at Pace University- and also majored in theatre in the same small department as they did. We also both shared a very unique love for movies and theatre – James’ family had owned a video store while he was growing up and me being an actress as well.
Having been messaging non stop all night, we decided to meet for coffee the next day. We met at Caffe La Cera (now Wattle Cafe) on 2nd ave & 34th street, and after over 2 hours & many refills, James had to run to his next client. Before he left, he made the immediate move to ask me on our first official big date that week to go to dinner: already with restaurant, date, & time picked out. I was very impresssed. And very excited.
A few days later, after texting every day since, we met at Sushi Samba in Times Square for dinner, had our first kiss and decided that we didn’t want the night to end and that we needed to go dancing. So we ran to Copacabana and for that entire weekend, we saw each other every single day. 2 weeks later, and inseparable, we. decided that we wanted to be exclusive and he rest is history!
To this day, we refer to their burn scars as how we met and stop to have a dance together regularly when the moment strikes.
how they asked
She has been wanting to be a Youtube fitness couple for so long now. We already have backlighting and everything because she does audition tapes as a working actress. So I figured… “Oh my God, this is so simple and perfect”. I am going to stage a fake fitness video and pop the question when I demonstrate a half kneel exercise! I’m a go-getter so when I knew what I wanted I acted fast. 2 weeks before I asked, I took a trip to her parents’ hometown to ask for permission. They both cried and so did I. I was touched when they said I was already like a son to them. Next step was the ring! I got it as soon as possible and I fell in love with it the second I saw it.
It was perfect for her little hand. I placed the ring in my shoe next to where we were taping. She came in a huff and tired and I started to get nervous and a bit anxious. Then I took a deep breath and said, I have to stay positive she will be fine. We started the video and all my worries washed away. Once I demonstrated the half kneel and grabbed her hand, she thought I was kidding! It couldn’t have gone more perfect! After I ask her to be my wife I go to put it on the wrong hand. We both laugh and that’s such a “us” moment. I then can’t think of a better way to celebrate then having Frank Sinatra New York New York blasting in our apt as I kiss her as hug her the tightest I ever have.
Erika: I had been wanting to film YouTube workout videos with James because We’re both great at sharing our knowledge and a fun combination to boot. And I also have professional lighting and a filming set up for self-tape auditions. So, James made the plan for our official shoot date on Friday, August 3rd.
We began filming a segment on how to deadlift and a few minutes into my very geeky demonstrations, James added in that sometime your hips can be uneven, so working from a kneeling position can be very helpful. He got down on one knee and I laughed out loud at the couples joke I thought he was making… until he grabbed my hand and began his whole speech of how I’m his best friend and he much he loves me. I’m pretty sure I blacked out at that moment trying to figure out if this could be what it actually looked like… and if so, did I just nerd out in my sports bra for our engagement video?! …until he reached for the shoe rack behind him And pulled out a ring box with exactly the ring I had always imagined.
Totally speechless and shocked, my jaw dropped and I yelled: “I THOUGHT YOU WERE JOKING!!” After quite a while of speechlessness James finally said so….? And I yelled, “OBVIOUSLY Yes!” James then laughed and went to grab my right hand (#righthandproposal ?) and without missing a beat I pulled it away and said “Wrong hand”, Handing him my left hand. Then James hit play on his phone to cue “New York, New York” in a truly classic film moment fashion and we danced into the first moments of our engagement.
*The video was immediately posted on Facebook in its entirety… including a pre recorded intro video of James explaining that he “just got the call that Erica’s ring is ready.” And that he’s “going to ask her to marry me in this video, so stay tuned”
Over the next few days, our Facebook video post blew up with over 3,000 views and comments, messages, hearts, phone calls, and texts with such an overwhelming outpour of love and excitement from family and friends. And a unanimous obsession with James’ proposal and how fitting it all was for us.