Staff Spotlight: David Mancuso

UW Health Fitness Center Staff Member David Mancuso

The Fitness Center is excited to welcome our newest staff member: David Mancuso.


David recently moved to the east side of Madison from up-state New York with his partner, Tiffany who accepted a position as a dentist at a local family health clinic. They visited last fall and loved what the city of Madison had to offer so they decided to make the journey to the Midwest.


David was born and raised in Utica, New York. As a youth, David’s athletic interests included playing football and running track. His desire to improve his athletic performance sparked his interest in fitness and strength and conditioning.


Following high school David joined the Marine Corps Reserves. After basic training, David began his college career and is the first of his immediate family to pursue higher education. His academic pursuit was then put on hold in 2004 when he was deployed to Iraq. His experience in the military and being overseas gave him an educational experience that he could not get from college alone.


Following his tour, David returned to New York and attended SUNY–Cortland where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Fitness Development. Before he graduated he became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and completed an internship with the Syracuse University football team.


After a couple of years as a personal trainer in the commercial fitness sector, David returned to school at Ithaca College where he earned a Master’s degree in Human Performance (a hybrid degree combing exercise physiology and sport psychology). This focus especially appealed to David from his extensive experience working to educate, motivate, and effectively influence positive behavior changes in athletes and general populations alike.


David returned to Ithaca in 2012 where he studied Therapeutic Massage and Hydrotherapy at the Finger Lakes School of Massage. He became a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) and specializes in deep tissue massage, sports massage, and is currently doing an apprenticeship in Structural Integration.


David has strong interests in helping individuals take ownership in their own health through adequate and appropriate physical activity and good nutrition. In this respect, David’s proactive philosophy fits in perfectly with our mission and purpose.


David has developed an interest in sustainable farming and how to get the healthiest foods into the mouths of consumers (farm to table). He and Tiffany would like to have a small farm someday.


In his leisure time, David enjoys reading books and articles on a variety of topics related to health, fitness, nutrition, and the mind-body connection. David and Tiffany share their home with Gatsby, their rescue “tuxedo” feline. They have enjoyed exploring Madison and are looking forward to their first summer here.


David is currently working opening FC shifts on Wednesdays and Fridays. We hope you get a chance to meet him soon. How about a few words from David himself?


A Q&A with Dave


Why Did You Choose This Profession?

I started out with the intention of working with athletes to improve performance, which led me to become a strength and conditioning specialist. However, as my fitness philosophy evolved I became more interested in helping everyday people to improve their overall health and fitness. I watched many close family members suffer from early death and disease related to poor lifestyle choices and realized that these epidemics are very common across the country. I became determined to help others and myself avoid the same fate. I developed a passion for educating people about the benefits of living a balanced lifestyle in pursuit of optimal wellness. This includes a well-rounded approach to healthy exercise and nutrition habits, but also other often neglected factors such as proper rest/recover, stress management, and an overall awareness of what your body needs. I believe that our nation is in need of a cultural shift and I’d like to think I’m helping to create that change. 


What Do You Like About Working Here (So Far)?


The community here is great, both the members and the staff. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming. Our members are definitely dedicated to maintaining and improving their overall health and are consistent in their routines. It’s very refreshing to see a community of gym-goers who are committed wellness rather just seeking "six-pack" abs and weight-loss by any means necessary. We have a very well-rounded staff of health and wellness professionals who maintain a high standard of scientifically based exercise principles. I love that UW Health has so many wellness programs for both patients and employees from community gardens to pediatric fitness to integrative health. It definitely seems like there is a culture of holistic wellness here, which I admire and am proud to be a part of.


Hometown: Utica, NY


Current residence: Madison, WI


Pets: A tuxedo cat named Gatsby


Favorite Music: Almost anything depending on my mood… except country music. I love 80’s rock!


Favorite Color: Red


Favorite TV Show: Game of Thrones


Favorite Movies: Rocky


HobbiesReading, Working out, Listening to Podcasts, Exploring Madison and trying new restaurants with my girlfriend Tiffany (we’re kind of foodies)


Favorite Foods: Eggs and Bacon, Steak (pasture raised, of course), Pho (Vietnamese Soup)


Favorite Vacation Spots (thus far): Vermont


Favorite Sports Teams: I was a big 49ers fan growing up but I’ve lost interest over the years. I have enjoyed rooting for the Badgers recently.


Something Very Few People Know About Me That I'm Willing to Divulge Here: I won a Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament in college and went on to the Regional Finals. The winner of that round actually went to Las Vegas to compete in the finals… Unfortunately, I lost in the first round and didn’t get to go...