A bodybuilder, student and Big Daddy’s Supplements and Vitamins business owner, Nicholas Craig Evangelista has accomplished more than the average 20-year-old.
In the gym six to seven days a week, sometimes twice a day, Evangelista’s bodybuilding story began four years ago when he underwent an appendectomy. During his surgery, Evangelista suffered complications that left his intestines kinked and twisted. This led to the surgeons cutting out an extra three feet of Evangelista’s intestines and leaving him lactose intolerant and with Crohn’s disease.
During his recovery on the hospital bed, Evangelista read fitness and nutrition magazines. Because of the outcome of his surgery, he decided to start living a healthy lifestyle by eating right and working out, which sparked his interest in bodybuilding.
“One day I just decided to do a competition and I actually took tenth place my first show, which is not good. I didn’t have a coach, I didn’t know how to diet, I didn’t even tan. So I was really, really white compared to everyone else and I had no idea what I was doing on stage. It was pretty embarrassing but it was a learning experience,” said Evangelista, referring to his first regional bodybuilding competition, only one and half years ago.
“I took it from there and it became somewhat of my passion, I do it all day, every day, I love it,” said Evangelista.
Evangelista’s ambition towards bodybuilding led him to the Florida National Bodybuilding Championships this November in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. There, he competed for his Pro Card, which would have dubbed Evangelista officially a professional bodybuilder by the International Federation of Body Builders. Coming in sixth in his class, Evangelista just missed his chance for the Pro Card, keeping him at his amateur status.
“Nick’s ability to stay focused and determined have enabled him to reach the level he has. Being his long time training partner, I witness his ability to maintain a very high level of intensity while continuously pushing himself beyond limits,” said Anthony Boccio, Evangelista’s best friend of 16 years and training partner.
After the competition, Evangelista stayed optimistic and focused on the positives, “I’m not on my diet, I got to enjoy it while it lasts,” said Evangelista as he unwrapped and ate a roll of Smarties candies.
Born and raised in Centereach, N.Y., Evangelista was always an active child. He started playing football, wrestling and lacrosse in the 6th grade.
“Nick was an energetic kid. He always was determined to finish something ranging from climbing to the top of a tree in our backyard to doing as best as he could in every sport he played,” said younger sister, Brianna Evangelista.
By the time Evangelista’s senior year of high school came to an end, he received a partial scholarship from the University of Tampa for lacrosse. That same year he suffered a shoulder injury that forced him off the field for an extended period of time.
“I ended up blowing my shoulder out senior year. But I feel like everything happens for a reason,” said Evangelista. “I gave up a life in Tampa relaxing by the pool.”
After declining the offer from the University of Tampa, Evangelista realized he was never going to have a typical college life. Instead of going off to college in Tampa, the same place his parents were getting ready to move, he decided to attend his local Suffolk Community College to major in business and minor in nutrition and get ready for a life on his own.
Before Evangelista could get to college, he began his own business, Big Daddy’s Supplements and Vitamins in Centereach Long Island. Without any formal business knowledge, he used the money he made as a fitness model and a personal trainer to start the business.
“Basically all he did was eat, sleep and drink his business,” said Craig Evangelista, Nicholas’ father. “He sacrificed his own personal time. He never really hung out with his friends too much, as much as he should’ve, as much as a regular person would’ve.”
Evangelista’s father played a big role in starting Big Daddy’s. He helped his son start a business plan, find a rental space, open up a business account and contribute 50 percent to the total $100,000 cost of starting Big Daddy’s. Evangelista, in turn, named the store after his father.
“It’s a lot of learning, and basically you need to live and learn,” said Evangelista. “Business can always be better. I’m basically making enough to pay off the rent and the bills.”
But for Evangelista, money was never his focus.
“I love helping people. It’s really not about money for me. I’d rather help people and see them get results and change their lives and live happy, healthier lives. It’s probably the best feeling in the world,” said Evangelista.
When you first enter Big Daddy’s, you are surrounded by shelves stocked with supplements and vitamins on yellow walls. Straight ahead, passed the wall of Evangelista’s success posters, t-shirts and meaningful dollar bills, is the workout room where Evangelista trains his clients.
The 20-year-old typically trains younger clientele, who receive discounts if they’re sill in school. Evangelista passes the chance to make extra money by charging student-clients less, because he, like his clients, understands a student’s limited budget.
As a young trainer, Evangelista can easily relate to his clients, like 20-year-old hockey player James Hall, who’s trained under Evangelista.
“Nick helped me in a lot in training. He taught me the right way to train with out hurting myself as well as learn what supplements I needed to help my body recover and grow,” said Hall, Evangelista’s friend of nine years.
Evangelista already has people working for him. Other personal trainers rent out Big Daddy’s personal training space to train their own clients. This way Evangelista is already spreading his name out to the local Long Island bodybuilding and fitness community.
“I know what I’m doing now, is so worth it because by the time everyone is getting out of college they’re going to have to go find jobs. Hopefully by the time I’m 30 I want to be able to have a couple of these stores and be able to sit and relax and have people run them for me,” said Evangelista.