Tony Catanzaro Shares Tips On Becoming A Better Personal Trainer!

Don't fall into the trap of one-size-fits-all personal training. Learn to be a better personal trainer and take Tony Catanzaro's advice on positive feedback and unique workouts for each body type.

Article Summary:
  • The following insights will help to demystify the process of getting clients on track.
  • To achieve anything in life you must first imagine it accomplished in your mind.
  • A good trainer positively guids a client through their various insecurities.

A lofty challenge all personal trainers face is the variety of body types with which they must work and the individual differences each of their clients possess. Trainers who use "cookie-cutter" programs are under the mistaken belief that one size fits all as far as training success is concerned.

Effective personal trainer's will carefully screen each of their clients to ensure a program is crafted and tailored to that person's individual requirements and unique physical and mental attributes and limitations. But this is not always as easy as it might, at first, seem.

What a personal trainer should keep in mind when designing their clients' programs is the long list of specific and unique characteristics each person has. From current mental state to attitude and motivation levels through to physical limitations and body type, each client possesses a unique assortment of defining qualities that must be factored into program design.

Failure to consider this could at the lesser end of the scale mean less optimal results, at the extreme end, injury or a refusal of the client to continue training.

One of the more obvious factors a client will present upon enlisting a personal trainer is their body type. Though thorough screening will determine exactly what type a person is, their initial appearance will hint at a training program's many possibilities and give the personal trainer an idea of what they are working with.

One's physical genetic potential can be described in three ways based upon three main body types: endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph.

Though malleable to a degree, each of these types will govern how one best responds to a particular training stimulus and will form the basis of how a person will ultimately look once they have achieved their training goals.

Trainers Who Use 'Cookie-Cutter' Programs Are Under The Mistaken Belief That One Size Fits All As Far As Training Success Is Concerned.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Trainers Who Use 'Cookie-Cutter' Programs Are Under The Mistaken Belief
That One Size Fits All As Far As Training Success Is Concerned.

Endomorph:

One who has an endomorphic body type (round, shorter in height with short limbs and a greater potential for undesired weight gain) will not threaten Jay Cutler at this year's Mr. Olympia, but can make significant improvements nevertheless. They usually have no problem gaining muscle size, but keeping the fat off can be an ongoing issue.

Ectomorph:

An ectomorph (taller and leaner, with long limbs and a predisposition for dropping weight fast - the archetypal skinny, hard gainer) will find it difficult to become huge and muscular unless they have the right diet and training program.

Mesomorph:

The mesomorph (usually average height, with a small waist, broad shoulders and greater potential for building muscle mass), however, will gain easily so there may be no need to overemphasize any particular training requirement for them: a good, balanced program may suffice.

The key to working with any of the above body types is to form a training approach around the needs of the individual, not what has worked best for the genetically blessed we read about in the magazines.

The endomorphs, for example, will probably require more cardio, less power movements, which themselves will only serve to accentuate the compactness of his or her physique. Conversely, the ectomorphs will usually require less, if any, cardio as their focus will be on gaining quality size and body fat will not be as much of a problem for them. The mesomorphs can simply count their blessings.

To ensure your clients' successful transformation - whatever their individual goals may be - it is imperative that you know your market well and this requires a detailed understanding of the individual differences each client brings to the training relationship.

In the following interview with Tony Catanzaro, one of the world's most successful personal trainers, he gives his take on how to best cultivate a winning relationship with your client and what to look for when considering training program design.

Regardless of whether your client's motivation levels, body type or attitude limits them in the gains they wish to make, the following insights will help to demystify the process of getting them on track for success.

Tony Will Give His Take On How To Best Cultivate A Winning Relationship With Your Client And What To Look For When Considering Training Program Design.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Tony Will Give His Take On How To Best
Cultivate A Winning Relationship With Your Client.

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[ Q ] Hi Tony. Based on the countless people you have trained over many years, what kind of physical differences have you encountered among these clients? How are you able to get good results with them all?
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Hello David. Well I have come to know and work with many different body types: tall, short, medium and everything in between.

What I find most interesting is that no matter whom it is I work with, the people who achieve the most success are those who are internally confident and confident in my training and nutrition plans.

I have always said "to achieve anything in life you must first imagine it accomplished in your mind". Nothing, and I mean nothing, ever develops. The mind must first create the thought before nature takes its course. Energy goes where the mind flows.

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[ Q ] Which body shape/genetic predisposition is easiest to work and get results with, and why?
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That all depends on what that person wants to do with his or her physique, but I have found that the easiest body type to work with and to achieve results quickly for is the mesomorph: this person has an athletic body and can gain muscle easily; they can develop into great bodybuilders because of their overall balance and perfect posture.

So this is a great mixture for success in and out of the bodybuilding world. I'm not one who believes in textbooks, I'm not one of those guys that search for hours and hours reading books and surfing the Internet for the truth.

Let me say right now, there is no truth or law to anything when it comes to the human body. The human body is an incredible machine run by an incredible engine called the brain. So I do believe we are all products of our thoughts and how we feel about ourselves. I believe we can accomplish anything regardless of whatever body type or genetic factor we possess.

The Human Body Is An Incredible Machine Run By An Incredible Engine Called The Brain.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
The Human Body Is An Incredible Machine Run
By An Incredible Engine Called The Brain.

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[ Q ] How does one know if they are blessed with mesomorphic tendencies? What can they look for?
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I happen to be a true mesomorph. But some people have a mixture of body types. Nothing is written in stone and regardless of body type you have that doesn't mean you can or cannot achieve an awesome physique.

To me shape is more than just measurements and trying to figure out what technical meaning best describes a person. I feel that God created us all unique in our own special way. Did you know that you are one of a kind? Yes, out of all of the people in the world there is no one else exactly like you. We carry a unique genetic blueprint that makes us different from one another.

Just think about it the next time you don't think you are anything special: there's no one like you out there. We weren't built on an assembly line. That's the beauty of life.

Though we combine many qualities into the physique we have a mesomorphic person would have broader shoulders, a smaller waist and a greater ability to get into top shape with the right amount of cardio. They would be considered lucky from a bodybuilding perspective.

Shape Is More Than Just Measurements And Trying To Figure Out What Technical Meaning Best Describes A Person.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Shape Is More Than Just Measurements And Trying To
Figure Out What Technical Meaning Best Describes A Person.

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[ Q ] What kind of training routine and eating plan would you put the mesomorphic person on to stimulate further gains?
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If you're a mesomorph like me, just sticking to an overall well-balanced diet and training routine will be enough to get the job done.

In my experience, eating a high protein, moderate carbohydrate and very low fat diet is key and training with moderate to heavy weights with plenty of cardio four to five times a week is essential for a true mesomorph.

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[ Q ] What body shape/genetic predisposition is hardest to get results for, and why?
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I would have to say the endomorph body type is the hardest to work with and I say this only because of the waist being so large and the person's height being relatively short.

This type of body is always considered fat and overweight because of its structure. It requires more discipline on the part of the endomorphic person when they are aiming to get into good shape as the results usually come slower. A good trainer must understand this and be patient while having the ability to motivate and empower.

A Good Trainer Must Understand This And Be Patient While Having The Ability To Motivate And Empower.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
A Good Trainer Must Be Patient While
Having The Ability To Motivate And Empower.

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[ Q ] How does one know if they have an endomorphic body shape? What can they look for?
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A true endomorph usually has a soft and chubby appearance, are short in height with short limbs; as mentioned they also have a much tougher time losing fat than the other two body types. They could be described as being rounder in shape.

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[ Q ] What kind of training routine and eating plan would you put an endomorphic person on to ensure training success?
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If you are an endomorph I would consider you don't emphasize weights but do more cardio, even take aerobic classes and swim: anything that will help your body gain a longer and leaner look.

Remember, underneath all the fat our skeletons all basically look the same. As far as diet goes, eating small low fat, moderate carb but high protein meals six to seven times throughout the day helps to speed up the metabolism to burn the most amount of fat. Diet is an especially important component for this population.

Underneath All The Fat Our Skeletons All Basically Look The Same.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Underneath All The Fat Our Skeletons
All Basically Look The Same.

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[ Q ] It is well known within training circles that individual genetic differences and traits must be considered when planning a training routine and nutrition plan. Why is this exactly?
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This is very true and I see it every day at my gym: so-called trainers who are training their clients all the same way. It's like the trainer only knows one type of training routine and applies it to every client, regardless of his or her body type, look and goals.

This is why I have specific workout routines for every individual client I train. Every one is different and needs specific training to target the areas they need to improve. I always said my clients are a block of ice and I am the ice sculptor.

Look at your client for any possible physical limitations. If they are long and lean then squats might be a problem initially, so opt for the leg press instead.

If they are more endomorphic then include more cardio and less power moves such as bench presses and deadlifts. If they are mesomorphic then employ a full-scale bodybuilding program to maximize their natural abilities. The key is to look for what your client can do and what their potential is.

I Always Said My Clients Are A Block Of Ice And I Am The Ice Sculptor.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
I Always Said My Clients Are A
Block Of Ice And I Am The Ice Sculptor.

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[ Q ] Is it true that a tall person with long limbs and ectomorphic tendencies will find it much harder to fill out their physique with muscle and struggle to lift weights, a shorter, more compact person might lift with ease? Why is this and what can be done to assist the taller, leaner person to pack on mass?
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This may be true sometimes, but not in all cases. If this is the case for you and you are trying hard to build muscle and lift heavy, I recommend two things.

  1. You must first understand that you won't grow in the gym so train hard and as heavy as possible and then leave the gym and go eat and rest.
  2. Don't train more than one body part a day; follow the workout format below.

Train with three sets per exercise with no more than three exercises per body part in a rep range of 10, 8, and 6 going heavier on each set.

Day 1: Chest
Day 2: Back
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Legs
Day 5: Arms
Day 6: Shoulders
Day 7: Rest

You Won't Grow In The Gym So Train Hard And As Heavy As Possible And Then Leave The Gym And Go Eat And Rest.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
You Won't Grow In The Gym So Train Hard And As Heavy As
Possible And Then Leave The Gym And Go Eat And Rest.

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[ Q ] Is there a certain type of individual who simply has greater motivation to train given their high rate of perceived training success they will have based on the way they look?
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Not really. Motivation comes from inside so it doesn't matter what body type the individual has, but more so his or her drive.

So to ensure a person succeeds in the gym your must first ensure they have inner motivation to do whatever it takes. You can encourage this but it is definitely helpful if they naturally have this mindset in the first place.

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[ Q ] What weight training routine would you place the endomorphic person on?
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I would put them on a routine of complete upper body one day, and complete lower body the next. Rest on the third day and repeat. I would also use lighter weights or just their own body weight with reps as high as 100.

Forget the 12 to 15 reps; they have to "burn to earn". So keeping the rep range high with a minimum of three sets per exercise will do it.

Keeping The Rep Range High With A Minimum Of Three Sets Per Exercise Will Do It.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Keeping The Rep Range High With A Minimum
Of Three Sets Per Exercise Will Do It.

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[ Q ] What would happen of you applied the training routine of a mesomorph to a person with more of an endomorphic type of physique, and vice-versa?
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If you applied the same type of training to a true endomorph - as you would give a true mesomorph - the endomorph would actually look larger and thicker.

If you reverse it and apply an endomorph's training to a true mesomorph, the mesomorph would lose muscle mass and become leaner not necessarily in body fat, but more in terms of lean body mass.

That's why it's so important to train according to your body type if you want success as a bodybuilder. I always say, "When it comes to bodybuilding, one size does not fit all."

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[ Q ] As a pure mesomorph what problems do you encounter? What are the benefits to being built this way?
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At this point in my career I haven't encountered any problems but I do understand the concept of growth and transformation. I'll explain.

Just because I trained a certain way and dieted a certain way to get my body to where it is, this doesn't mean I could continue to do the same day in day out.

If I were to do that I might gain too much muscle or become too ripped, or my body would eventually stop making progress. I have to always monitor my progress to maintain my balance.

There are times when I have to kick it up again because I have gained some fat. This is what I call a complete body analysis. But being a true mesomorph I can take my body wherever I want to go and I have proved that many times.

I can gain weight fast and I can lose weight rapidly - what I want my body to do, it will do. I believe this is true because of my mindset. You must always positively consider your goals and believe 100 percent that they will become reality, regardless of your body type.

Being A True Mesomorph I Can Take My Body Wherever I Want To Go And I Have Proved That Many Times.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Being A True Mesomorph I Can Take My Body Wherever
I Want To Go And I Have Proved That Many Times.

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[ Q ] But analyzing each of your clients and planning their program accordingly is often not as easy at it seems. What advice would you give to a personal trainer who is finding it difficult to plan for each of their clients according to their individual body types?
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The best advice would be to first discuss what goal the client is out to achieve. Their goal should be your goal. You have to first both agree on what needs to be done and what it's going to take to get there.

I love to sculpt my clients into perfection. I can tell immediately what's wrong and what the client needs to do to correct it.

Look at your client and go over his or her diet and lifestyle; even consider their way of thinking. I always say, "You have to be not only their trainer you have to be their motivation as well." They are putting themselves in your hands, so you must deliver!

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[ Q ] Who has been the hardest person you have ever had to train? What specific problems did they present, both mental and physical?
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I'll never forget this one girl who was a project and a half to train. She had a lot of issues and was always looking for the quick fix. I would constantly tell her what to do and it was like it went in one ear and came out the other. It was a constant battle for around two months.

I then told her, "I'm sorry but I can't continue to train you." I think I'm the only person that would ever say that to a client.

But the fact of the matter is, if she wasn't going to listen then what could be done? I also thought of it like this: if I drop her she will then become upset about it and say to herself, "I'm hopeless, I can't do this," etc.

Usually what will then happen is the person will become very depressed for a certain amount of time; then they will become fed up with their situation and look to themselves to do it.

In other words, just like a mother eagle drops its baby in mid-air to fly, I had to drop her in order for her to fly. It worked! After a few months I begun seeing her at the gym and she was doing cardio and losing weight, looking focused. In life sometimes you have to go to the very bottom to rise to the very top.

I Love To Sculpt My Clients Into Perfection.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
I Love To Sculpt My
Clients Into Perfection.

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[ Q ] How do you deal with someone who has almost zero motivation?
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Motivation is something that comes from within that person. Yes I can motivate that person but I have to tap into something inside them to do it.

I'll usually give the client tons of positive feedback, I'll constantly praise them and make them feel like they are winning. This is the only way they will win.

Most people don't have confident, positive people around them in life. It seems people who are miserable and defeated always surround us. You have to surround yourself with the right people in life.

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[ Q ] If someone hates the way they look and they actually do look really bad, how do you make them feel better? And is this approach advisable?
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I don't think there's anyone on earth that is completely happy with the way they look. There's always something you would want to change or fix. In life we need to look outside the looks. On the inside is where you find the true person.

If a person is very insecure about the way they look I simply get them to begin to love themselves by showing them that they can achieve and by giving them to tools to continue their transformation, both mental and physical.

A good personal trainer is very familiar with the art of positively guiding a client through their various insecurities.

A Good Personal Trainer Is Very Familiar With The Art Of Positively Guiding A Client Through Their Various Insecurities.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
A Good Personal Trainer Is Very Familiar With The Art Of
Positively Guiding A Client Through Their Various Insecurities.

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[ Q ] How do you help someone to face the reality in terms of the way they look, so they can accept their need for change?
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I get them to actually look right into the mirror and say to the person they see, "I'm sorry for hating you and now its time to start loving you." When you love yourself you are on the highest level for success.

You have to understand how could anything good happen to you in life if you hate yourself? You can't escape yourself so learn to love yourself and will see the magic happen.

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[ Q ]  Is anyone capable of success regardless of the way they look, or will some people have to face the reality that they will never look the way they wish to? How do you help these people to be happy with what they can achieve rather than sad about what they cannot?
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Anyone, and I mean anyone, can achieve success: it has no limits and it does not discriminate. Only we set limitations for ourselves and discriminate.

Understand that there is a world of opportunity out there for us. There is no shortage of anything and anything is possible if you believe. There once was a wise man that said, "whether you think you can or you can't you are right." That man was Henry Ford.

Learn that your looks are not the main substance to your becoming a success - it's the way you feel about yourself that matters.

I'll never forget this one time I was at a traffic light and a woman was walking across the street in front of my car. She was very overweight by maybe 100 pounds, but by the way she dressed, the way she walked and the way she held her head up I knew right away she was a winner.

She held her head up high and gave off this energy as if she was saying, "I love the way I look and I'm happy to be alive." That my friend is the way we all have to live.

Like I said before, no matter what body type you have, whether its ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph, you are simply perfection on the inside. Remember, it's not the beauty of the flower it's the richness of the soil in which it came from.

If you can feel good about yourself you can achieve all you wish to in life, and this includes the body you desire.

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