...and Kenny’s a coffee snob. So we teamed up with this favorite New Yorker to create the Strong New York Blend, a new special dark roast named after Santucci's community-driven fitness venture Strong New York. Buy a bag here before it sells out!
We asked Santucci some clarifying questions and here’s what he said:
CK: Tell us about Strong New York.
Kenny: It started off as an event. I was fortunate enough to go to enough seminars and conventions in the fitness space, and I was traveling all over to go to these things, and I thought, “I live in the greatest city in the world. How do I not have access to all of this?” So the idea was to throw my own event. I started gathering all the doctors and nutritionists and scientists who I listen to and share ideas with and we got together and started this event. The first one we did had 50 people and the last one we did had 500 people, so it’s grown exponentially. Then COVID happened and we had to pivot.
I had already started this fitness lifestyle brand of t-shirts and things, so I continued to develop that, and within the midst of COVID I started doing classes. People were really excited and started thanking me for them. It gave them something to do, so we started developing these classes and taking our time with them, and now it’s evolved into a gym. It’s been a natural, organic evolution.
The idea behind Strong New York comes from my philosophy about strength: it doesn’t have to be about how much you can pick up off the floor, but can you pick yourself up? Can you pick your friends up? That’s where true strength is and I think the gateway drug is lifting weights because what you can do physically translates into what you can do physically and emotionally as well.
CK: Do you have online classes / who can get involved and how ?
Kenny: I have an online program called Ladder—it’s my Strong New York program on the Ladder app. I put up weekly workouts and people can follow along with them. Once the gym opens, there will be a virtual component where there will be a TV and you can link to the TV and do the workout along with everyone in the class. However, I highly encourage people to go to the gym and workout with people because you need that as much as you need the other stuff.
CK: Let’s talk coffee — what made you want to make a blend?
Kenny: If you’ve seen a picture of me, I probably have a cup of coffee in my hand. I’m a huge coffee snob. I love coffee. In New York City there’s a coffee shop on every corner. I’m always looking for new coffee shops and I just love coffee. Eventually when I have more space, I want to build a coffee shop in the gym. So I just love coffee. Aside from working out and being in the gym, coffee is my thing.
CK: How’d you go from The Real World to fitness?
Kenny: I was always into fitness. I was really fat as a kid so I got into fitness when I was 13 or 14 years old. I fell in love with the gym. It made me feel better. It made me look better. People started to treat me differently. I started to look at myself differently, and I just fell in love with how I felt. Naturally, I wanted to get other people into it.
In particular, my parents were out of shape and I wanted to get them into it. So I did. My mom had a massive heart attack 6-7 years ago and they said the only reason she survived surgery was because she was in good shape.
At the end of the day, I just want the best for people. I’ve seen what it can do for people’s minds and lives. You become more confident. You’re more willing to take a chance on a date or a job or whatever it is. I think being strong helps you do those things.
To join the cause, buy Strong New York Blend here.