Dave Trabucco is known internationally as a premier glass sculptor. As a partner in Trabucco Studio with his father, Victor, and twin brother, Jon, his work can be found around the world in prestigious museums, distinguished galleries, and the collections of heads of state. But in WNY, Dave Trabucco is quickly gaining a reputation for an entirely different pursuit—the sculpting of the human body.
This past August, he left behind his glass work to open Trabucco Fitness, a state-of- the-art fitness studio in Clarence Center. And although he’ll continue to work occasionally on special glass projects, he is 100-percent committed to his goal of helping people achieve real fitness, approaching his role as a trainer with the same eye and passion that he brings to his glasswork.
Trabucco’s devotion to fitness began when he was twelve years old—he eschewed high school sports to study and work out on his own—and remained his avocation even as Trabucco Studio grew. But after being sidelined in 2004 by a life-threatening illness stemming from routine surgery, he used the time to become a certified fitness trainer and open a small studio in his house, fitting in clients around his work schedule. The business grew from word-of-mouth about his personal approach to fitness, as well as the individualized attention he gives to each client. (Trabucco works with clients by appointment only and does substantial review and prep work for each session.) “I like to work with people who are uncomfortable going to a gym but really want to change their lifestyle,” he says. “Everybody is different and designing the right program for someone and then fine-tuning it as we progress appeals to me on the same creative level as sculpting. It’s really rewarding.”
Even with a diverse clientele of virtually every age, size, and shape, you won’t find “gym rats” at Trabucco Fitness. “Personal training is not necessarily about muscle growth or even weight loss,” Trabucco says. “The goal is a healthier, less stressful, more energetic life. Whether you’re recovering from cancer treatment or trying to undo the effects of years of sitting behind a desk or on the couch, there is a way for you to reach a higher level of fitness.” He doesn’t believe that pursuing fitness need be a long and arduous grind: “If you’re doing the right things, you’ll get to a point where a switch goes on, and everything becomes easier. You’ll need far less willpower because you absolutely want to do it, to keep going. I can pretty much tell the exact day and time when a client’s body changes and they’re on their way to permanent change in their life.”
Trabucco renovated a 3,000-square-foot former machine shop in Clarence Center for his studio, retaining the retro-industrial vibe of the building and including over fifty state-of-the-art exercise machines, virtually all made in the U.S. and some even custom-designed by Trabucco himself. Working with staff trainers Andy Pruyn (also an accomplished artist) and Matt Domogala (a creative music buff), Trabucco uses the same team approach that worked effectively at Trabucco Studio: “Three minds are better than one and our clients benefit from the team. We collaborate on the workout routines for every client. There are no generic workouts.” The mild-mannered Trabucco relies on his artistic eye to guide him towards his next masterpiece—another client with a greatly enhanced quality of life.
Jazz programmer Bruce Eaton writes frequently for Buffalo Spree.