Personal Trainer Of The Month: Alex Carneiro

Personal trainers have power to help or derail their client's goals. Alex understands his responsibility as a guide toward fitness success.

I knew I wanted to get involved with the personal training industry, but I didn't know how to motivate others to change their lives. I decided that by becoming my own client and making my own changes I could inspire others. I have been now in Colorado for the past six years, inspiring people worldwide and training locally and globally.

Last year I started my own company named AC FIT which emphasizes in custom nutrition, supplement, and training plans for clients worldwide to access and get custom plans.

When and why did you become a trainer?

I became a licensed trainer back in 2010 by pursuing my certification with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). I wanted to become a trainer because I already had the knowledge to help others, but I knew I needed to make it official with a certification.

The first place I submitted my resume to for an internship also required their trainers to have a personal trainer certification in order to teach. Helping others achieve their personal goals brings me a satisfaction that can't be explained; that's why I became a trainer.

What is your training style? What methods do you use?

My style differs from client to client. No client is the same, so I don't think everyone should be trained the same. It depends on the goals of the clients.

If I must learn new ways to train clients then I do so, but I stick with one universal rule: I train clients with respect, and avoid any type of strenuous exercise that might put them in risk of getting injured at the moment or cause any type of injury later in their lives.

Who are some of your most notable clients?

My most notable clients are usually my clients who want to compete and get ready for a 3-4 month body transformation. Those are the type of clients who have an end goal and aren't looking to joke around with nutrition and training.

They are serious about what they do and have full respect for the session. The transformations have been mind-blowing, both physically and mentally.

Can you please you give me an example diet and training program you put together for your clients?

Diet plans and exercise vary from individual to individual, but here is a plan I recommend for a male trying to build and shape the pectoral and biceps muscle groups:

What are the most common mistakes a client makes?

The most common mistake does not happen when they are with me, but when I am not around. Nutrition is a key to body transformations, but I cannot expect everyone to have control or discipline over everything they eat.

Nutrition is the skeleton key to any physical transformation and it's hard to keep track of what my clients decide to eat or not. I emphasize in the majority of my sessions that what we eat is primarily responsible for the way we feel and look.

What are the most common mistakes you believe a trainer makes?

Not learning more. I believe we can keep learning until the day we pass our light in this life. We should learn daily, constantly, to keep up with ways to improve our clients' lives and improve ourselves. To try the same thing over and over again does not improve the trainer's capability.

Another mistake I believe a lot of trainers do is lying to their clients. You have to be real with your clients and tell them that results not only depend on the client's capability of performance at the gym but outside of the gym as well. Trainers need to be real with their expectations from clients and vice versa.

Do you set your clients up with a full diet and training plan for them to follow by themselves?

I charge separately for that. However, if the client desires a nutrition plan, then I absolutely work with them on that area. I don't believe in diets, but I believe in lifestyle changes.

That is the first thing I tell anyone who approaches me about nutrition. If you think about the first three letters of the word "diet" you will notice D-I-E. My clients need to understand that they need to change their bodies and mindsets for life itself, not just for training.

How do you keep your clients motivated?

I consider myself a method of motivation with everything I go through in life. As an IFBB Pro and International Pro Fitness model, I try to motivate others with my own story and life. I believe a trainer needs to live the life they preach. Otherwise I would be a hypocrite of life itself.

If I have clients competing, I can understand how hard that can be mentally. I constantly keep in touch with my clients (texting, or over the phone) to make sure they are still on the right path. It's key to know how to keep each individual client motivated to keep pushing and learning.

Do you train a male client differently than a female?

Absolutely not. The only thing that might change a little is in the lower-body portion of exercises. With male clients, I don't emphasize the gluteus area as much as I would with a female. In regard to intensity and dedication, I expect that no matter how old, what gender, or where they come from, they will perform as best as they can daily, at the gym and in life.

How have your changed your approach to clients over the years of experience?

You live and learn daily. I have worked in high-end clubs and with street people. With time, a trainer learns how to talk to individuals differently and how to train and treat them.

I have not changed how I train clients. I expect everyone to give 110 percent every time they meet me.

How do you start a client on a new program? Do you do some kind of assessment?

The first thing I ask of my clients is their full biography: age, where they come from, what they do for a living, their lifestyles, nutrition, and daily habits.

From there I start getting and idea of who they are. I focus on what they want to achieve out of their end result. From that point, I have a better idea of the whole individual and start to figure out the best way communicate with them, how to motivate them and push them to their limits.

As mentioned above, clients are individuals and you need to figure out what motivates them the most, and use that motivation to keep them going.

Do you prefer to train male or female clients and why?

I have no preference when it comes to gender. As long as they are happy and excited to be there with me for the next hour and give it their best, that's what matters.

Most of my female clients can push harder than my male clients, so honestly there is no preference.

Do you feel just as much like a psychologist as you do a personal trainer?

Psychologist, trainer, advisor, friend, counselor—you name it. A personal trainer can sometimes fit in different positions for a client and sometimes it can act the other way around. I have seen trainers who like to talk about their personal life more than the client. If the client doesn't mind that, then perfect.

A personal trainer, as the name implies, acts on a client's life personally. That is why I do not believe many people should become personal trainers; they have more responsibility than they might think they do. I like helping and guiding people through their problems. It helps me step out of mine and analyze things differently.