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Tony Gentilcore Interview How to Become A Personal Trainer

Apr 21, 2021


Tony Gentilcore Interview How to Become A Personal Trainer with Chris Hitchko – Show Up Fitness

If you don't know who Tony Gentilcore is, you must have been living under a rock for the past 20+ years! Tony G is the MAN, the MYTH, THE HUNK!!!!! Tony is based out of Boston, MA and an expert in overhead athletes and shoulder health. He is the architect behind The Complete Hip & Shoulder Blueprint (With Dean Somerset who I've also interviewed) & the Complete Trainers Toolbox. When it comes to becoming a successful personal trainer, listen to the words of one of the US top personal trainers.

Fan Boy moment with one of the US best Personal Trainers and Strength Coaches Tony Gentilcore. We both write for and now Tony helps contribute to Show Up Fitness Internship with his Corrective Exercise unit that he teaches.

Tony has recently partnered with Show Up Fitness Internship to teach our corrective exercise course. Too many trainers sign up for $500+ Corrective Exercise (CES) courses via NASM-CES or ISSA and are unable to ask questions. During Tony's 2-month course, he will be teaching twice per week for an hour each class for ONLY $100 per month! You'll learn how to assess, program, lift heavy shit properly and implement corrective strategies to help your clients move better. Listen to what Tony has to say about personal training in the book How to Become A Successful Personal Trainer&

Tony Gentilcore – Master Jedi Knight, Boston Based Trainer (Core), Expert contributor T-nation & Men's Health

1. How much was your first paycheck as a trainer or if you had an internship, how long did you work for without any pay?

After I did my student teaching my senior year in college (I was going to be a health teacher, but soon realized that 1) wearing a tie every day sucked balls and 2) teaching middle schoolers sex education wasn’t the most fun thing in the world to do. Luckily, I also had to complete an internship for my concentration (in Health/Wellness Promotion), and ended up landing a sweet gig at a corporate fitness center just outside of Syracuse, NY. It lasted the entire summer and the only payment I received was a handshake and a job afterward. The stars aligned and it just so happened the place where I was interning had opened up another full-time position by the time my internship was over, which meant I was able to wear sweatpants to work every day. Score! If I remember correctly that job netted me around 20K for the year. Granted it was middle-of-no-where central NY, so the cost of living was pretty low, but my average paycheck was $380 per week. Lets just say I wasn’t buying grass-fed beef back then.

2. What was your biggest challenge as a new trainer / something that you didn't expect?

Honestly, the nuances of being a “people person.” The school doesn’t prepare you for when a real, live, in-the-flesh, person is standing there in front of you and you have to, you know, have a conversation with them. Some of my first training sessions were pretty freaking awkward. Lots of weird, awkward silences or me quoting Lord of the Rings. “You shall…..not……PASS!!!!’ Being a good training isn’t all about knowing the nuts and bolts of assessment, program design, and exercise technique. It helps, for sure, but it’s not the “x-factor.” The x-factor is not being an asshole. Not being an asshole = avoid being the pretentious know-it-all who tries to talk over people’s heads and win them over with big words like synergistic dominance, reciprocal inhibition, feed-forward loops, or apical expansion. Most clients could care less and probably think you’re a tool if you speak to them that way. Not being an asshole = being a people person. Being able to talk about movies, television shows, music, their kids, their partner, their dog, the shitty LA traffic. Not being an asshole, and learning people skills is a vast challenge for many new trainers.

3. What is one book every trainer should read?

I’m going to cheat and say this: I think the best trainers, and those who do really well are avid readers and diverse readers. Meaning, they don’t only read training and nutrition books. Don’t get me wrong: it’s important to read books related to our field in order to get better, but I also encourage new trainers to expand their literary portfolio and read other books too: fiction, non-fiction, business/personal development, Kama Sutra, etc if for no other reason to be a well-rounded human being. Training: I don’t necessarily agree with all he says in the book (particularly with regards to some of his squatting cues) but Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe is an excellent book every incoming trainer should read.

***I will say, too, that books can become outdated pretty quickly. This is why it’s important to stay in tune with the popular fitness blogs so you know what some of the fitness superstars are thinking TODAY. Too, I’d HIGHLY recommend subscribing to research reviews. My “go to’s” are:

– MASS – Monthly Applications in Strength Sport

– Alan Aragon Research Review

– Strength & Conditioning Research Review (Bret Contreras)

– Business: Give and Take by Adam Grant. Cliff Notes: those who tend to be the most successful in any field are those who pay it forward.

The Complete Shoulder & Hip Blueprint that Dean and I did is spectacular as well.

4. If you could be a mentor to someone starting out in the industry, what would you suggest?

Well, I’ve been told by others I am a mentor to them, so that’s cool. I guess the one thing I’d suggest is don’t be an uppity douche and charge people to come shadow you or observe. I’ve written on this on several occasions, but I never understand why some coaches do this. When I was at Cressey Sports Performance we always had an open-door policy. Anyone who wanted to come in to watch for a day (or two) were more than welcome to do so. We had nothing to hide. I follow this same policy now that I’m on my own. Anyone who reaches out to ask to stop by or come hang out for an afternoon are more than welcome to.

5. What do you think is the most overrated aspect of the fitness industry (areas of improvement)?

The idea that distance coaching is easy. It’s not. Many trainers have aspirations of ditching their commercial gym gig in lieu of setting up some distance coaching empire, where they’ll be able to live anywhere and travel the world……all while working with people over their laptop. Let me tell you that it’s NOT that easy. This isn’t to say I don’t feel there’s a way to make distance coaching a viable source of income for some people, but the whole idea that it’s easier is BS. It can be waaaaaaaaay more time consuming than people think, and I’d recommend, highly, to try not to be seduced by all those Facebook Ads you see from trainers saying you’ll make six-figures within two months if you only follow their system.

6. What do you think is the most underrated aspect of the fitness industry (biggest opportunities for growth personally / financially?)

I think it behooves any trainer to work on his or her’s writing skills. It’s a saturated market out there – everyone has a blog – but those who write well, write good, actionable content, and do so consistently, will always float to the top.

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If you want to become a personal trainer, check out our 2-month internship program in San Diego (La Jolla), Los Angeles (West Hollywood) and Santa Monica. Classes are held daily in person for the hands on learning portion Monday – Friday. Every morning classes are LIVE on ZOOM and recorded if you can't make a class. This allows for ANYONE to become a personal trainer and learn the ins and out of training from ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD! All you have to do is SHOW UP!

If you can't commit to our 2-month internship, we also offer weekend seminars covering hip and shoulder anatomy, programming, social media development with @Danicoco1 aka the Queen of Social Media. Find us on YouTube HERE and Social Media Show Up Fitness & Show Up Fitness Internship

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