Final Entry: Fiscal Fitness

November 01, 2009
After earning an accounting degree and all-conference honors as a college football star, Luke Sniewski was a player then coach for the Falconara Dolphins in the Italian Football League. He then decided to tackle another career path—that of a CPA and certified personal trainer to business professionals. A senior tax associate for Gedeon & Sniewski Certified Public Accountants, Sniewski also offers corporate consulting on the relationship between physical well-being and productivity. California CPA caught up with Sniewski in the gym for some insight from his playbook.

What are the parallels between physical and fiscal fitness?
I majored in accounting in college, so I understood the amount of time that goes into studying and researching tax laws. Upon entering the fitness industry, however, I realized there was more to training than bench presses and biceps. Constant studies and findings bring new information into the fitness industry all the time. If you don’t stay with the times through research, you will be left behind. Luckily, these skills were ingrained in me through my accounting experiences.

Who hits harder: Italian Football Leaguers, college d-men or the IRS?
That will have to be a toss-up between college d-men and the IRS. A college hit may leave a mark and some physical pain, but the other can leave a mark on your wallet for an even longer time. The Italian Football Leaguers have a bit to go before their hits become more memorable, but the European leagues are well on their way.

How much of your football experiences carries over into your career as a trainer?
Football coaches have a knack for getting the most out of their players, both physically and mentally. Often, I’m training clients that have not had this kind of experience. When clients are exposed to this stimulus, they reach new heights. The most important change in all of my clients is the mental shift and the feeling that they can accomplish anything, which far surpasses any superficial goal they may have had previously.

When is the pressure more intense: during the five seconds in the pocket or the five weeks before tax day?
Tough question. Being in the pocket is an environment where you maintain a majority of the control. Being behind the desk leaves you at the mercy of your clients. I guess that long, drawn-out pressure can break you down more intensely than the breakdown of an offensive line. 

Is a fit person more efficient and effective in other areas of life?
Certain commonalities have emerged with business professionals—neck pains, low back pains, low energy levels, finger numbness, etc.—and these are also the problems that I have to solve as a trainer. Each and every time that these issues are resolved, clients tell me they have more energy at home and increased productivity at work.

We have to ask: How much do you bench press?
Ha! I have not been asked this question since college and pro teams were scouting me. I know I have to answer this, but it’s very important to mention that the deadlift is much more important in athletic and everyday functional performance. Three hundred pounds—the total weight of my client workpapers.

How are you helping keep your clients’ money safe in this economy?
I have to explain to my clients that our economy, by nature, is cyclical. The wrong thing to do is to be fearful of the future. The opportunities will be, and will continue to be, out there that will benefit clients. At the same time, each money decision should be made with a little more analysis and thought process behind it. 

What team do you think will win the Super Bowl?
It’s hard to argue against a Manning vs. Manning (Colts vs. Giants) Super Bowl, but I think Favre and Brady could have something to say about that. The good thing about the NFL is that it’s like watching a popular soap opera, so you never know what to expect, and you’re always surprised.    
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