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Meet Your Neighbor: Meet the Neighbor – Michael S. Palmieri

By Callie Thomas

“We are born neither winners nor losers; we are born choosers.”

– Anthony Clark, Former World’s Strongest Man

Do we control our destiny or do unseen forces manipulate us? This question is one that the youth of our community are faced with on a daily basis. Should they follow what they believe is a pre-determined path or can they instead choose the life they want? It’s a question that resident Michael Palmieri is familiar with, particularly as he has spent the better part of 25 years giving teens the right tools to make important choices that will ultimately shape their lives.

Palmieri has the mind of an athlete (probably because he is one) and he’s spent his career researching, training, educating and consulting with other athletes to enhance their performance. He does this through a combination of science and training at his company, The Institute of Sport Science & Athletic Conditioning. It’s easy to envision that this imposing 250 pound man would hold a certification in strength and conditioning and could easily fit the bill as a certified Sports Performance Coach, a title he received while attending the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado. In addition, Palmieri holds other certifications in heavy sports, combat sports, speed/power and physique athletes training while also serving as a brand ambassador for Las Vegas based XYIENCE, the official energy drink of the UFC, and working with XYIENCE’s team of UFC athletes. What may be most unexpected and ultimately intriguing is his dedication to teaching Las Vegas youth the necessary skills to avoid poor lifestyle choices as president of the non-profit PB & J Leadership Training Camp. Michael Palmieri talks about his involvement with the camp, about making a difference in Las Vegas and what motivates him.

How did you get into sports and what made you want to work with other athletes?

“I got started by following my older brother around the gym. He was a competitive bodybuilder.  When I got old enough, I got into powerlifting and playing baseball. A few years later, I started working with athletes.”

Tell us about PB & J Leadership Training, Inc.

“We’re dedicated to teaching the youth of our community the skills needed to avoid negative lifestyle choices such as drugs and gangs and instead become productive leaders in our society.”

You’ve had a long history supporting PB & J Leadership Training, Inc. How did you get started?

“I was a participant in the first leadership camp back in 1987. I have participated in every camp from youth staff to adult staff. When the gentleman who was running it at the time retired in 2004, I took the entire program over.”

That had to be an enormous undertaking, but an inspiring one.

“There is no feeling like it. When I’m in public and a young adult comes up to me and says, ‘Mr. Palmieri! Do you remember me from camp X number of years ago?’ I see that they have a family of their own and a good career and it makes me very proud.”

How do you teach teens in the program about taking control of their lives?

“We provide activities that offer a drug and violence free environment and give the participants the capability to address these problems. Through what we call ‘positive peer pressure,’ PB & J allows young people the opportunity to empower themselves to actually be part of the solution and help with the reduction of drug abuse and gang violence.”

What do you think motivates you?

“I’m passionate about my belief system, my business and my camp kids. I’m very committed to hard work and making solid plans.”

Tell us something about yourself that you think others might be surprised to know.

“I was born and raised in Vegas and am the youngest of six (four sisters and one brother) and I’m basically a nerd. I’m extremely left-brained, so I approach everything analytically.”



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