Sal Di Stefano to Mike O’Hearn: Changing Behavior Is the Key To Consistency

The host of the "Mindpump" podcast shared how one's behavior is essential for long-term fitness goals.

Episode 23 of The Mike O’Hearn Show was published on Generation Iron‘s YouTube channel on Nov. 11, 2022, and featured the host of the Mindpump podcast, Sal Di Stefano. In the episode’s cold open, O’Hearn shared his excitement regarding Di Stefano’s appearance on the podcast, not only because he’s been a listener of Mindpump for quite some time but because of Di Stefano’s ability to explain complicated concepts in more simplistic terms.

Di Stefano was invited to speak about his “philosophy on life,” which O’Hearn and his crew continued discussing even after the cameras stopped rolling. Check out the discussion via the video below:

[Realted: Three-Time Classic Physique Mr. Olympia Chris Bumstead Shares His Inner Monologue on “Champion Mentality”]

The 43-year-old Di Stefano has been in the fitness space, whether managing gyms or training clients, since he was 18. He’s hosted his podcast for approximately seven years and has learned the difference between communicating training information to an “average person” versus a “fitness enthusiast.” 

In Di Stefano’s experience, when training with a professional athlete, he finds they need to be pulled back. They don’t often need help with motivation but rather guidance to not overwork themselves. That’s very different from training an “average Joe” who typically needs help developing a better relationship with training and nutrition.

Di Stefano’s suggested success when training an “average Joe” is to position their relationship with training and nutrition so that they will train two to three times a week for the rest of their lives. That resonated with O’Hearn, who has consistently touted longevity as a primary theme of his show.

They have a lot of misunderstandings about exercise.

O’Hearn appeared taken aback by Di Stefano’s notion about misinformation in the fitness space in the modern day. O’Hearn has long held the position that social media has created an onslaught of misinformation in the fitness world. Di Stefano doesn’t directly disagree but suggests that there is far more information available, much of which is valuable, despite the misinformation that is also added to the mix.

Di Stefano recounted how in the late 90s when he was managing gyms, he rarely saw gym-goers deadlift or squat out of fear that they would hurt themselves. Since then, Di Stefano has focused on how to reach the majority of gym-goers to understand how they can train sustainably and responsibly for the long term.

[Related: 8-Time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman Guides Larry Wheels Through a Grueling Leg Workout]

Di Stefano learned over time that simply telling clients what to eat or how to train was not effective. He found that strategies that influence or change their behavior led to the best results — that and creating a fun atmosphere at the gym that’s welcoming.

It’s like you become a therapist. The biggest challenge to overcome with the average person is consistency.

From Di Stefano’s perspective, regardless of how much someone wants to change their physique or improve their fitness or whathaveyou, if it’s not fun, they won’t do it. Someone consistently doing something they don’t enjoy is unlikely to remain sustainable beyond the short term.

We’re not robots. We’re emotional, behavior-based animals. We do a lot of things that are illogical. So, how do we get around that?

Recognizing the psychological aspect of health and fitness as a more effective tool than looking at programming or nutrition plans was a decade-long endeavor for Di Stefano. To hear all the valuable insight Di Stefano shared, watch the entire episode in the video above.

Featured image: @mikeohearn on Instagram