Miscellaneous Miscellany Monday: Coaching Advice, Warming-Up, and Spinning

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NOTE: I have a favor to ask of all Boston-based readers.  If you live in or around Boston, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post (#4).  It’s life or death.  Well, not really…..but you should scroll down anyways.

1. One of the best pieces of advice I received when I was a young Padwan trainer wasn’t the sage piece of advice depicted to the left, but rather you’re ALWAYS being observed. Whether it’s management, other trainers, members, or that creepy looking dude doing BOSU ball squats with shorts that are waaaaaay too short over there in the corner, people are watching.

If you’re the type of trainer or coach who just stands there, watches the clock, and just counts reps, then people watching are going to perceive you as someone who doesn’t give a shit – and they’re likely not going to go out of their way to give you their money.

Conversely – and this is something I’ve always prided myself on – if you’re a trainer or coach who actually does his of her job and actually COACHES – gives feedback, pays attention, and fixes form and technique – it’s amazing what happens.

I remember a number of cases back in the day when I worked in various commercial gyms where I was approached by patrons who were on the fence to hire a personal trainer. The only reason why they approached me was because they observed how I worked with other clients. They could see that I was a bit more “in-tune” and that I took pride in coaching my clients well.

Like I said, people are always watching.

Case in point: fast forward to last where I received this random email from a young coach who came to Cressey Performance to observe for the day.

“Tony, Thank you for taking the time out of your day yesterday to introduce yourself to me. I know you don’t have all the time in the world and it meant a lot to me. Your efforts to improve this field are incredible and truly inspiring to a young coach like me. 

Also, you are by far the best hands on coach I have ever observed. Just watching you I was able to know what you were saying and how you wanted them to perform each exercise. I recall one particular athlete performing the Turkish Get-Up on the turf and you brought her through the movement step by step, breaking it down until she fully understood how to move her body properly. 

After about 5 minutes she was able to perform the Get-Up effortlessly and that was incredible to observe. Keep up the great work Tony, what you’re doing for strength and conditioning is truly inspiring.”

I’m not posting this to brag or to give myself an internet high-five or to point out that  my tricep is on point in that picture above. All I’m trying to convey to all coaches or trainers who may be reading: PLEASE, just give a shit.

That is all.

2. One of the perks of having a successful and popular blog is that sometimes I get contacted by people asking if I’d like to try out their product.

I liken it to those old Life cereal commercials featuring Mikey.

Now, I am no where near as hard to please as Mikey.  Typically when something free arrives at the facility and I have a package waiting for me in the office I’m doing cartwheels on the gym floor 15 seconds later.

But I’d be lying if I said that some of the stuff I’m sent is garbage. Thankfully that’s few and far between.

One of the more practical and convenient products I was sent to tryout recently was the ISObag by Isolator Fitness.

I know this is going to come across the wrong way, but I’m often entertained (and sometimes taken aback by people’s questions).

As you can imagine I get asked a lot of questions during the day – it comes with the job.  But not all of them are fitness related.

Not too long ago I was on the gym floor eating a meal out of a standard Pyrex dish when a client came up to me and asked, “is that a meal you’re eating?”

No.  This big thing with food in it, and which holds my utensils.  That’s actually a magical doorway that leads to Narnia.

Come on – of course it’s a meal!!!!

On that note, everyday I bring 2-3 meals with me to work that I place into separate dishes and that clang around in my gym bag, and on certain days, when I’m really lucky, spill….in my gym bag.

It sucks.

The ISObag has been a god-send.  It comes with several easy-to-clean dishes that fit nice a snug into the bag. And because the bag is insulated, the meals will stay either warm or cold (there’s a compartment to place an ice-pack) depending on which you prefer.

It’s made my life much easier, and for any fellow meathead reading who experiences the same woes, I guarantee this is a game changer.

For more information you can checkout the website HERE.

3.  I had the pleasure of consulting on an article for the Muscle & Fitness website titled Bulletproof Your Body: The Ultimate Warm-Up.

Yeah, yeah I know – reading about how to warm-up correctly is about as exciting as listening to another Taylor Swift break-up song.

But I promise, this one is different. Check it out HERE.

4.  And finally.  Many of you who read this blog on a regular basis know that my girlfriend, Lisa, is pretty much RoboCop.  Except, you know, she’s not a robot.  Or a cop.  Or a dude for that matter.

Either way, she gets shit done.  She can crush chin-ups at a moments notice:

She’s a fashionista:


And, she’s down with humoring my Star Wars obsession.

What’s not to like!!?!

In addition to all that, on top of working as a Psychologist she also teaches several spin classes in and around Boston throughout the week.

She’s been a Spin instructor for about seven years and while I’m admittedly a little biased – she’s really good at what she does.  She plays awesome music, she actually coaches and cues people, and, given her psychology background offers a unique perspective on motivation that many instructors, quite frankly, lack.

I think spinning offers a TON of benefits and is the most “user-friendly” form of interval training out there.  You never hear of anyone injuring themselves on a spin bike, which is why it’s often my first choice for people who are interested in group exercise classes.

Well, as it happens Lisa just started working at a new spin studio called Velo-City right in downtown Boston in Back Bay, and I’d like to help out in spreading the word about her class.


Go HERE and sign up for Lisa’s class on Saturday morning at 9AM.

The first class is FREE.

Everyone who signs up, and then introduces him or herself to Lisa after the class and hands her their email, I’ll send you a coupon code for ONE free month of training as part of my Premium Workout Group on WeightTraining.com.

You’ll meet Lisa, get an awesome workout, and then I’ll take over your training for a month! And even if you don’t want to participate in the Premium Group, you’ll still meet Lisa and get a kick-ass workout in.

And you’ll probably want to continue going.  Lisa is that good.

It’s a win-win either way.

You in?

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.

Comments for This Entry

  • Brent

    I'm an odd person cuz I love discussing warm-ups, and methods. They still confuse me mightily though. IF (and I know that's a big if) someone has rockstar mobility and stability, would a warm-up sequence look different? For instance, if it is squat day, why not just power through some light goblet squats followed by maybe some low level plyos (depending on individual...jump rope etc), to get all sweaty and stuff :) You would get all the cool things like ankle ROM, hips, t-spine extension and all the other good stuff one can tweet about. Also, in regards to stuff like scap stability work, how do you determine if a client should do something like a back to wall arm slide, or something like a forward shoulder slide at 135? Both are important. I obvi. overthink things, but unless someone has some glaring issues, I don't see why we have to get all cute and fancy. Just rehearse the movements for the day, throw on some smooth love hits from the 80's and get your lift on :) I think Pavel's new book 'simple and sinister' has a pretty bare bones warm-up sequence. Clearly, most people need the work, but if not, wouldn't maintaining mobility and stability be had with the workout itself?

    January 27, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Reply to this comment

    • TonyGentilcore

      I totally "get" what you're saying and I can't say I disagree with you. BUT......how many people do you know who could walk into a gym, bang out only a few sets of light squats, and then go right into their workout? All this warm-up article alluded to was to hit on some areas that tend to be problematic for many people = glutes, t-spine, ankles, etc. Nothing fancy or anything.

      January 29, 2014 at 8:53 am | Reply to this comment

      • Brent

        Yeah, I hear ya. Peeps got probs. To follow-up though, if someone could hypothetically bang out a 21 on the FMS (didn't tim collins do this?) wouldn't that person's warm-up be different than Stiffy McStifferson's warm-up (i.e. mine)? One would be more corrective and the other maintenance? Did I just answer my own question? :) And because you are so kind and answer my incessant questions...gonna give you a blog topic idea Tony. How in the holy hell do you determine what shoulder mobility drill to do with a client when there are 500 different variations out there? Do you just mix it up week to week, or maybe you have a shoulder mobility wheel at CP, spin that bad boy and whatever pops up, the client does? When I screen a client and they have poopy shoulder mobility, I have about 20 different ideas in my head. Do I just stick with what cleans it up, and for shoulder mobility maintenace, spin my shoulder mobility wheel and see what pops up? Sorry yo, I gots me lots of questions...and Tracy and Jillian don't answer their emails :)

        January 29, 2014 at 8:01 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Mike

    Doesn't Lisa know that spinning gives you bulky quads?? Just kidding, I can't pass up a chance to make fun of Tracy Anderson. Good post as always.

    January 27, 2014 at 9:55 pm | Reply to this comment

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