Tony Gentilcore Swag Now Available: Building a Brand

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If you were to tell me ten (0r even five) years ago that I’d see my name plastered on a t-shirt as some sort of “brand,” I would have laughed at you.

“Yeah, right” I would have said back then. “What’s next, lightsabers are real? Donald Trump will be considered a viable presidential candidate?”

And here were are, in 2016, my name is plastered on a t-shirt and Donald Trump is considered a viable presidential candidate.1

Special Edition “Because Heavy Things Won’t Lift Themselves” Tee: Front View

Special Edition “Because Heavy Things Won’t Lift Themselves” Tee: Back View

For those who want to skip the foreplay, you can go HERE to order your fancy schmancy TG apparel.

For those looking to be wined and dined a bit more and seduced with a little word play and backstory, continue reading….

Building a Brand

To be fully transparent: there’s still a small part of me who feels like an impostor, a fitness industry fraud. Who am I to put my name in a t-shirt?

I graduated college in 2002 with a degree in Health Education and was lucky enough to find an internship at a local corporate gym that summer.

For eight weeks I was an intern.

I opened the gym some days, and closed it on others. I worked long hours and felt woefully unprepared the entire time. I remember when I was handed my first “client” and felt like crawling into a corner and hyperventilating into a paper bag.

That internship led to a full-time job, which then led to several simultaneous part-time gigs as a personal trainer in local commercial gyms.

I did that rigmarole for three years.

And then I met some guy named Eric Cressey and we immediately became good friends. I ended up leaving central NY and moved to CT where Eric encouraged me to interview at a gym where he was hired out of grad school.

We worked together for a year and through a series of events decided to move to Boston in the Fall of 2006. It was during this time when I started dabbling in fitness writing. I wasn’t any good then (some may argue I’m no good now), but seeing my first article published on T-Nation was an amazing feeling.2

It wasn’t long after moving to Boston and getting a job at a swanky downtown establishment that an opportunity arose to write a fitness blog for the Boston Herald.

Some of you reading may remember the Step-Up blog. If you do….my sincerest “thank you” for sticking around. I owe you a steak dinner or something.

In the summer of 2007 Eric, myself, and Pete Dupuis opened up Cressey Sports Performance. The rest, as they say, is history.

Since it’s infancy, CSP has grown into one of the most recognizable and respected training facilities in North America (if not the world).

And up until a few months ago, that’s where I happily resided in my little strength and conditioning bubble.

It’s where “the magic happened.”

Yes I was (and am) a co-founder, but as far as the ‘business’ was concerned my main role was to serve as an ambassador for the CSP brand. To help build an army of deadlifting Terminators and 95 MPH baseball throwing assassins.

On the side, however, I was given free-reign to build my own brand underneath the CSP umbrella; to try to make Tony Gentilcore a thing.

I had hoped.

I transitioned my blog on the Boston Herald to my own website and continued to hammer away at building that. The more I wrote, the more I started getting inquires from the likes of T-Nation, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Men’s Fitness, and various other sites and magazines.

Mind you: this was all happening 5-6 YEARS into my career.

I didn’t start with a brand…..I built one.

I’m now 14 years into my career, and finally feel accomplished enough to have a t-shirt.

It’s a lesson I wish more fitness professionals would understand – particularly those just starting out. Many are more enamored with building a brand before building anything.

I’ve seen some trainers who have been training people for less than six-months writing ebooks on how to train people. Worse still, I’ve witnessed some people act as consultants on how to build a successful fitness business, yet don’t run a business.

Let alone a successful one.

And don’t even get me started on Insta-celebrities:

Then again, I’m not the one with millions of followers. FML.

And Yet I Can’t Help (But Sometimes) Feel Like an Impostor

Impostor Syndrome (source Wikipedia):

“Also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a term coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes referring to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as “fraud”. Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved.”

I know it’s my own stupid negative self-talk talking, but when people place my name amongst many of the elite coaches in the industry (Mike Boyle, Dan John, Robert dos Remedios, Gray Cook, EC, Mike Robertson, Bret Contreras, Mr. Miyagi, to name a few) I can’t help but revert back to when I was handed my first client back in 2002, and feel woefully ill-prepared and ill-suited to accept such claims.

I mean, these are coaches who I still learn from, who I still feel indebted to for making me better. Who have numerous gyms, products, and speaking tours amongst them.

And now people are inferring I’m on the same level or on par with them?  Pfffft, maybe if you gave me a +47 handicap.

Look Tony’s got a t-shirt. That’s cute.


Okay, that’s enough: I know I’m good. I know I’ve helped a lot of people. I feel I’ve done things the right way. I don’t think I’ve made many enemies. And I’ve stayed in my lane.

I’ve written over 1,700 blog posts, countless articles, and have coached innumerable athletes throughout the years. The past few months, since leaving CSP and venturing off on my own, have been equal parts amazing and scary as balls.

I don’t even know what “scary as balls means,” but for the sake of argument lets say it’s somewhere in between Indiana Jones in a snake pit and watching an episode of The Biggest Loser.

As a good friend told me last year:

“There’s a reason who’ve worked so hard to build your own brand the last 10+ years. You’re going to be okay. People want to listen to and support you”

So, Long Story Short: Buy a T-Shirt….;o)

First off: props to Nor East Apparel for their amazing work in getting this t-shirt design made.

I’ll be selling t-shirts directly at the studio, but I’ve also partnered with the site who will be handling both domestic and international orders.

Basically, you go HERE and:

  • Choose from a variety of apparel
    • Regular tee (TG Logo only),
    • Special Edition: “Because Heavy Things Won’t Lift Themselves” tee,
    • Hoodie
    • Sweat pants.
    • Coming soon: skullies, tank-tops, and I don’t know, stemware, glassware, and fuck it…F-16 fighter jets.
  • Choose your material: 100% cotton, 50/5o, or Tri-Blend (<– my personal favorite).
  • Choose color.
  • Increase your level of awesome by 717%

THANK YOU, everyone, for all your support throughout the years. None of this would be possible without your continued readership.

NOTE: Whether you’re breaking PRs, hanging at home, or out fighting crime, be sure to post pics via social media of you wearing your TG apparel. I’d love to see it!

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.
  1. Where’s my lightsaber? Huh, science?

  2. Although now, reading it again, ten years later, it makes me cringe.

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