I was a little nervous when I was asked to work out with Vincent Virga. Never having trained with a triathlete, I was worried about not being able to stay the course, much less write a feature about it. I was relieved to hear that Virga started training only in June of 2016. But it soon became apparent that he’s a natural at it, and a fierce competitor. Within three months of starting training, he completed two triathlons: in Atlantic City in August, and Mahopac, NY, in September.
“Find a reason why, and go for it,” Virga says. “I have never allowed my fears inside to dictate my life.” His first flying lesson was when a friend who owned a small plane let him take the controls midair.
Virga is a businessman, triathlete, community leader, author, radio host, and pilot-in-training. He’ll take on any challenge, however daunting. In addition to a grueling schedule through the week, he challenges himself with a controlled triathlon every Sunday at the New York Sports Club (NYSC) in Bayonne. Conquering fear, he tamps down anything that is even slightly negative or discouraging.
We meet at the NYSC in the Bayonne Crossing mall on Route 440. After a brief chat, we hop on stationary bikes. I try to gather as much information as I can while I can still breathe normally. It also helps that Virga doesn’t need much coaxing to speak freely about his background and beliefs.
Born and raised in Bayonne to Sicilian immigrants, Virga, 50, talks passionately about Bayonne’s potential. Currently, a member of the city planning committee, he’s previously been president of the Bayonne Chamber of Commerce. “The people of this town have been largely insular, which has hindered the city from realizing its full potential,” he says. He’s especially optimistic about the developments going up all over town. The love and concern for his hometown is an extension of his personal philosophy, which consists of four pillars: Business, Body, Bond, and Belief. “Everything I do involves taking care of my work, body, relationships, and faith,” he says.
An investment banker in the 1990s, Virga has transitioned into a career in wealth management and entrepreneurship. He’s currently president of PFS Wealth Management. Based in Bayonne, PFS offers services in investment and retirement planning, health care benefits, and creative tax planning.
A talented soccer player in middle and high school, fitness came naturally to Virga. He took pride in working hard and making his parents proud. When he started working with his personal trainer, Mike Stanlaw [See our story on Mike in the summer issue of BLP], in June 2016, Virga made up his mind to stretch the limits of one of his most important pillars, the body.
Carrying His Weight
As the conversation continues, we move to the weight room and chat between sets of dumbbell presses, and some punishing leg-raises suspended from Roman rings.
On the way to the pool, he hands me a book he wrote, The S.M.A.R.T. Approach, A 5 Step Process to Life, Leadership and Investing. In this slim volume he effectively summarizes his philosophy of life.
He is also an animated public speaker and radio host. He can be heard every Saturday morning on AM 970. “I have always been told I have a face for radio,” he laughs. As a John C. Maxwell Certified Speaker, he has been a seminar host for the last seven years.
He draws inspiration from Madonna Buder, who completed the Iron Man competition at age 82, the oldest competitor to do so, and from his mentor, motivational speaker Tony Robbins. Buoyed by these two role models, Virga is set to take on new challenges.
As we finish a refreshing swim and hit the showers, Virga says that of all his accomplishments, he is most proud of marrying his high school sweetheart Camille (his wife of 25 years) and having raised two “wonderful” children, Jeremy and Rachel.
One of my greatest accomplishments is just keeping up with him.—BLP