Alfonso is a charter Advisory Board Member of Sears FitStudio, where he delivers workout programs and fitness related content. He’s a contributing writer to Men’s Fitness, Discovery Fit & Health and is part of the FitFluential Ambassador network. In addition, Alfonso and Angry Trainer Fitness have partnered with industry leaders such as Lifeline USA, Vibrams, GYM Boss, Reebok, GNC and Shape Magazine chose his “Flamingo Workout” as a Top 10 exercise video on YouTube.
Diet Detective: Alfonso, thanks for doing this interview. First question I have is why you became a fitness expert? Also, tell me about the Angry Trainer? Where is that from?
I evolved into a fitness expert really. It’s been over 20 years in the making. I started lifting weights when I was 13 after seeing my dad workout in the garage for years. We always had muscle magazines stacked up around the house. At 17 I took a job in a local fitness center as a ‘fitness expert’ and showed new members how to stretch, use machines and of course, clean equipment and rack weights. At 18 I was certified as a personal trainer and over the last 20 years I’ve worked in small gyms, big franchise centers and also working as an in home personal trainer.
I was nicknamed ‘The Angry Trainer’ because I became so fed up with the fitness industry, the myths, the get thin quick schemes, powders, pills and so-called experts selling snake oil to desperate people looking to get healthier and fitter. Over 2 years ago I launched the Angry Trainer Fitness website and I’ve never looked back. The response from within the industry and by the public has been overwhelmingly supportive.
Diet Detective:What is your “fitness” philosophy and why?
The Angry Trainer: My fitness philosophy has also evolved and I now live by ‘Look Fit Be Fit’. For years I ate and exercised in a way to improve my appearance; get bigger muscles, flatter abs, bigger arms etc. so that I could compete in amateur bodybuilding. But now my program revolves around choosing foods and exercise that increase my fitness and health. Whereas I used to follow a bodybuilding routine, I now use CrossFit, functional and balance training and I constantly vary my routine. As for my diet, I eat mostly Paleo and fuel my body with lean meat, vegetables, nuts, seeds and healthy fats. I try to stay away from sugar and processed foods, but I have a super sweet tooth so I indulge like every one else.
Diet Detective:If you could only do one strength training exercise what would it be?
The Angry Trainer: Wow tough question. I’d have to say that I’d probably choose kettlebell – burpee – shoulder press! That’s a tough one but it trains the entire body and has huge metabolic effects. You didn’t think I was going to pick and easy single joint movement did you?
Diet Detective:Tell us the biggest secret that trainers typically don’t tell their clients, but should?
The Angry Trainer: Most trainers will not stress the importance of diet and sleep enough. When people reach plateaus or don’t see results the first inclination is to add more exercise or change routines. In the case of the trainers – they’ll try to sell you more training sessions and make you think you need them more. In truth exercise is without a doubt important, but it is a variable in a healthy lifestyle. Your diet and your sleep however, are not. Most people would see and feel better results if they devoted the same time and commitment to what they eat and getting adequate sleep.
Diet Detective:In all your years of training what do you consider the best non-weight related exercise (e.g. lunge)
The Angry Trainer: Without a doubt it’s the air squat. Developing a proper squat is the foundation for becoming proficient and exceling in every exercise and sport. While most people assume squatting is just for legs and glutes, it also is a great exercise for developing core strength.
Diet Detective:What is the worst strength training exercise? Or one that is the most frequently done incorrectly?
The Angry Trainer: Hmmm, there are so many to choose. The worst I’d have to say is dumbbell triceps kickbacks. Women usually use this exercise because they think it’ll slim the back of their arms. The exercise performed most incorrectly is ironically the one that’s best for you – the squat. Too many trainees have poor foot placement, low back strength and their technique is not just inefficient, but potentially injurious as well.
Diet Detective:Can you tell us one strength training myth that we probably have not heard about? Or would be surprised to learn?
The Angry Trainer: Most people are under the impression that muscle size directly correlates to strength. This isn’t true. Training in a way to increase muscle growth is often quite different than training for strength increase. In fact some of the biggest bodybuilders lift very light weights for high or super slow reps. Strength is not just about the size of your muscles, but also your neural ability and focus, functional fitness, technique, and of course the length of your muscles, bones and attachments. After all the body is an engineering marvel comprised of levers like other machines.
Diet Detective:What are the ingredients for a great fitness trainer?
The Angry Trainer: Of course a passion for fitness – that’s number one. But you also need to have a great personality and be able to relate to people, all different types of people. Young, old, fit, deconditioned, friendly, not so friendly etc. You meet all types of people in this profession and it requires a skill a social skillset unlike most other jobs. Most people are capable of learning anatomy, exercises and can dictate workout routines to people. But you can’t learn to have a personality or make yourself approachable to trainees. Above all you have to genuinely care about others and thrive on helping them become better in their life.
Diet Detective:What’s the best way for a person to stick with a fitness program?
The Angry Trainer: Start SLOW and choose a reasonable approach. Too many people take their enthusiasm for starting a new program and end up doing too much too soon. Just like individuals don’t become sedentary or overweight overnight, you won’t become fit and healthy as quickly either. A healthy approach to a fitness program should be to take slow incremental steps that slowly acclimate the trainee into a new, fitter lifestyle. Trying to change everything overnight is a surefire recipe for failure.
Diet Detective:Your workout routine?
The Angry Trainer: It varies but there is some structure. I usually perform two CrossFit workouts per week that last no longer than 35 minutes. Another day I’ll hit the weights and get a great full boy strength training session in. Then usually one to two days per week I’ll do HIIT training and get some sprints in. This is just a guide and some weeks I change the order, combine or just do what I feel like. There are no rules.
Diet Detective:What’s always in your fridge?
The Angry Trainer: Cabbage! I eat cabbage nearly every day of the week. I sauté it, cook it with eggs, meats, alone – you name it. I even shred it and use it as a pasta substitute with tomato sauce. And you’ll find grapefruit. I eat one per day, everyday.
Diet Detective:Your typical breakfast?
The Angry Trainer: Simple: 2 eggs sunny side up, 2 strips bacon and toasted buttercup squash bites. It’s Paleo! A little salt and pepper and I’m a happy Angry Trainer.
Diet Detective:Your favorite junk food?
The Angry Trainer: Ice cream. I just love it – all kinds. I add peanut butter, cereal, chocolate and all sorts of junk to it. I eat it seldom though because once I get going….
Diet Detective:What is your all-time favorite healthy snack?
The Angry Trainer: Well it’s not your typical healthy snack, but I love stone ground tortilla chips or sweet potato chips dipped in natural peanut butter. Try it, it’s really good!
Diet Detective:What would you choose for your last meal?
The Angry Trainer: Pizza from Johnnies Pizza in Mount Vernon, NY. I’ve been eating that pizza since I’m 3 years old. It’s super thin, crispy, with olive oil and fresh tomato sauce. Just writing this makes my mouth water.
Diet Detective:What’s the most bodacious chance you’ve ever taken?
The Angry Trainer: Quitting my nice, secure, steady paying job to go out on my own and start my own fitness studio.
Diet Detective: Next on your “to do” list?
The Angry Trainer: Take Angry Trainer Fitness to the next level and help more people become fitter and healthier. I’m currently working on fitness related TV show.
Your Website: http://angrytrainerfitness.com
Your current location right now: On my couch in Bethel CT
What is your current job title? Trainer, writer, guru, father
Education: HS Diploma, some college. Too many certifications to count
Résumé (brief): 20 + year personal trainer / lifelong fitness enthusiast
Hometown: Yorktown Heights NY
Favorite Fitness Web Links: JimStoppani.com , MariposaFit.com, Pfitblog.com, BobHarper.com, AshleyBorden.com