Tony DiCosta

Tony DiCosta, fit­ness teacher build­ing our bod­ies

Times of the Islands - - Departments -

Tony DiCosta is a cer­ti­fied per­sonal trainer and win­ner of nu­mer­ous physique ti­tles. Times of the Is­lands asked Tony to share ad­vice on ag­ing with grace.

TOTI: AS A PER­SONAL TRAINER, WHAT IS YOUR MOST IM­POR­TANT RE­SPON­SI­BIL­ITY? TD: "First, do no harm" is the over­ar­ch­ing prin­ci­ple I abide by. Work­ing with that in mind, I seek to find out first what it is that a client wants. They usu­ally have a broad idea of their goal (lose weight, gain mus­cle, get in shape, etc.) but they rarely know how to safely achieve that goal in the timeli­est man­ner. There is a plethora of ways to work out ... but there is usu­ally a very short list of the best ways to get to their goal.

TOTI: IS THAT IT? TD: No way is it that sim­ple. My ultimate goal is a client’s health. Most peo­ple are un­aware of the three el­e­ments that make up a healthy fit­ness reg­i­men: flex­i­bil­ity, car­dio ca­pac­ity and strength. So, while I may spend most of our sub­se­quent train­ing ses­sions in the gym with a client, ini­tially I teach all clients a flex­i­bil­ity rou­tine, in­struct them in meet­ing the car­dio needs for their age group, and put to­gether a “bul­let­proof” warm-up rou­tine that will pro­tect them in the gym for a life­time.

A PER­SONAL TRAINER NEEDS TO BE A GIFTED TEACHER.

TOTI: WHAT’S A TRAINER’S MOST IM­POR­TANT AT­TRIBUTE? TD: That’s an easy one: A per­sonal trainer needs to be a gifted teacher. It does not mat­ter how much knowl­edge a trainer has if he or she can­not ef­fec­tively teach that to their clients. Teach­ing is a multi-faceted dis­ci­pline in­volv­ing as much lis­ten­ing as talk­ing, along with gen­er­ous doses of ex­hor­ta­tion and en­cour­age­ment, not just to stand by her with a clip­board and pen­cil yelling while she sweats.

SADLY, A LOT OF PER­SONAL TRAIN­ERS DO NOT REC­OG­NIZE THE MANY WAYS IN WHICH THE 50-AND-UP CROWD DIF­FERS FROM YOUNGER TRAINEES.

TOTI: ANY­THING UNIQUE ABOUT TRAIN­ING THOSE FROM SANI­BEL AND CAPTIVA? TD: When I started train­ing peo­ple pro­fes­sion­ally, I be­gan with a vi­sion of a younger clien­tele who I would train for high lev­els of fit­ness and physique dis­play. When I be­gan (in 2013) to train out of the Sani­bel Health Club, the av­er­age age of my clients be­gan to re­flect the older de­mo­graphic that is char­ac­ter­is­tic of the is­lands. Though I still train peo­ple of all ages, the over-50 res­i­dents gained promi­nence. Since I am in that age group my­self, I was eas­ily able to ad­just to the de­cid­edly unique train­ing needs of this group. Sadly, a lot of per­sonal train­ers do not rec­og­nize the many ways in which the 50-and-up crowd dif­fers from younger trainees.

TOTI: YOU HAVE WON NU­MER­OUS PHYSIQUE TI­TLES. DO YOUR CLIENTS BEN­E­FIT FROM THAT? TD: The an­swer to that is a re­sound­ing yes! But maybe not in the way they might ex­pect. The ex­treme en­vi­ron­ment of physique com­pe­ti­tion re­quires a thor­ough un­der­stand­ing of the same bi­o­log­i­cal pro­cesses that ap­ply to even the sim­plest fit­ness makeovers. Whereas a 60-year-old re­tired doc­tor may not want to look like Arnold, he (or she) def­i­nitely wants a trainer who fully un­der­stands how the hu­man body adapts pos­i­tively to the stim­u­lus of proper ex­er­cise and who can ap­ply that knowl­edge to the client’s ben­e­fit. Tony DiCosta can be reached at tony­di­costafit­ness.com.

Tony DiCosta in com­pet­i­tive con­di­tion at age 62.

Pic­tured is 93-year-old Kent Hamp­ton in a pre- work­out stretch with DiCosta at the Sani­bel Health Club.

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