Podcast: Tony Gentilcore on What’s Really Important in Strength

If you’ve ever read about fitness and strength training online, chances are you have Tony Gentilcore to thank, at least in part. Tony is a trainer and author who was one of the first to take his thoughts online, creating an early bridge between in-gym experience and the web’s fitness community. Back around 2010, there weren’t a ton of places to turn to when it came to learning about the ins and outs of strength training online. But Tony’s name was one that popped up everywhere, a testament to his ability to take real-world experience and translate that into the written word.

Tony’s known for a lot of things: He co-founded Cressey Sports Performance in 2007, has trained countless elite athletes in pro sports, and remains one of the most prolific writers in the entire world of strength training.

In the days before Instagram, Tony helped mold the blueprint of the trainer-author, paving the way for some of today’s biggest online fitness influencers. He’s someone who excels at combining his real-world coaching experience with the latest evidence and research.

Today, Tony still dedicates a huge chunk of his time to training clients in-person at his Massachusetts studio. He’s still a prolific writer, with an active web presence at TonyGentilcore.com, and is also an in-demand speaker for fitness events around the globe.

In this episode of The BarBend Podcast, I chat with Tony about what’s changed as strength training becomes increasingly mainstream, along with what too many athletes and coaches are STILL getting wrong when it comes to getting stronger. Here’s a hint: We’re probably overcomplicating things.

In this episode of The BarBend Podcast, guest Tony Gentilcore and host David Thomas Tao discuss:

  • Why Tony thinks his career seems so surreal right now (3:08)
  • Tony’s personal goals for coaching, along with how he determines how much time to set aside for clients versus writing, travel, and speaking (5:25)
  • The common thread of “over-marketing” among fitness professionals (9:00)
  • Why Tony prefers training the non-elite athletes (or “genpop” in trainer speak) (13:43)
  • Training general population clients versus a high level athlete (15:50)
  • Training for…fantasy football? (17:45)
  • The quickest way to assess athletic capacity (18:20)
  • Tony talks about one of his favorite measures of progress and athletic capacity, straight from the mind of Dan John (20:00)
  • Getting on the same page as clients regarding athletic goals (23:01)
  • Training around issues that occur with strength athletes and extreme specialization (26:21)
  • Tony’s pet peeves (31:55)

Relevant links and further reading:


David TaoDavid Tao

Welcome to the “BarBend Podcast” where we talk to top athletes, coaches, influencers, and minds from around the world of strength sports. Presented by barbend.com.

Today I’m talking to Tony Gentilcore. Tony is a trainer and author who is actually one of the very first fitness writers I ever came across online.

Back around 2010 there weren’t a ton of places to turn to when it came to learning about the ins and outs of strength training online, but Tony’s name was one that popped up everywhere, a testament to his ability to take real world experience, and translate that into the written word.

Tony’s probably best known for co-founding Cressey Sports Performance in 2007. He’s trained countless elite athletes in pro-sports. He remains one of the most prolific writers in the entire world of strength training.

In the days before Instagram, Tony helped mold the blueprint of the trainer/author, paving the way for some of today’s biggest online fitness influencers. He’s someone who excels at combining his real world coaching experience with the latest evidence and research.

Today, Tony still dedicates a huge chunk of his time to training clients in-person at his Massachusetts studio. He’s still a prolific writer with an active web presence at tonygentilcore.com. He’s also an in-demand speaker for fitness events around the globe.

I’m excited to chat with Tony about what’s changed as strength training becomes increasingly mainstream, along with what too many athletes and coaches are still getting wrong when it comes to getting stronger. Here’s a hint. We’re probably over-complicating things.

Just a quick reminder. If you’re enjoying the BarBend Podcast, make sure to leave a rating and review in your podcast app of choice. This helps us stay on track in bringing you the best content possible, week after week. If there’s someone you’d absolutely love to hear on a future BarBend Podcast episode, let us know in your podcast review.

Today, on the BarBend Podcast, I’m talking to an old friend of mine, someone I’ve respected in the world of strength training and strength and conditioning since I became interested in the space initially, and that is Tony Gentilcore. Tony, it’s an honor to have you on the podcast. Thanks so much for joining today.

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

Thank you. It’s a lovely Friday afternoon. Fridays are my podcast days. I’m ready and rejuvenated and ready to talk some shop, so thank you for inviting me on.

David TaoDavid Tao

Tony, since we first met years and years ago, podcasting has become a thing. I know you’re traveling for a lot of events and speaking engagements these days.

What is the split of your time, before we go into your background, between actual in-person coaching, which I know is something that is your bread and butter and something you truly value, but also being in demand to be a speaker, a guest at events?

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

 It’s still pretty surreal on my end. I always joke, I grew up in a very, very, very, very small town in up-state New York. My home town does not have a traffic light, it is so tiny. If 42-year-old me ever spoke to 16-year-old me and said, “Yeah, you’re going to be traveling the world and doing all these speaking engagements.”

I remember a point in my life and I think a lot of people can commiserate, where public speaking was a very, very daunting thing and now I get invited down a bunch of podcasts and around the world to present. It’s quite surreal. Now, I wouldn’t say it takes up 50 percent of my time, but I would say at this point of the year, I’m usually traveling one weekend a month

I was just in Chicago last weekend so I did a few speaking engagements there. I head out to Europe in a couple weeks, although that’s going to be an extended thing where I’m off for two weeks there. It’s about one weekend a month. Usually in the winter, it kind of dies down obviously because I don’t want to travel to Michigan in February.

The bulk of my time is still in-person coaching and then the rest of it, when I can, one weekend a month I’m traveling and doing speaking engagements. Doing podcasts is a weekly thing honestly.

Thursdays and Fridays are my non-coaching days, so those are days where I can catch up on life and catch up on other projects that I’m very good at procrastinating on, and doing podcasts and catching up on programming and stuff like that. Yeah, that’s kind of the lowdown.

David TaoDavid Tao

Now that time you do have your in-person training and coaching days where you’re working with clients and you’re building your business in that respect. Is that something you have to fight to keep?

I know I talk to a lot of folks who have big followings online and their careers in many ways mirror yours, and some of them just don’t train clients in-person anymore. It’s all either online or speaking engagements or writing. Have you had to have intent on keeping those in-person coaching interactions?

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

When I left Cressey Sports Performance, I left there in 2015 to pursue other opportunities that were in Boston and closer to my apartment so I could take out a 45-minute commute to and from the facility.

When I opened up my small studio, I did draw the line in the sand as far as how many hours per week did I want to coach in person, as far as like, “OK, here’s how much money I want to make doing it. These are how many classes I think I need to do it to make it happen. Here’s my line.”

I had to take into consideration other responsibilities, my writing responsibilities, travel, not to mention having a wife and kid, wanting to spend time with them. I came to the figure of 20 hours per week, is what I want to do in terms of my in-person coaching.

That stayed pretty consistent for the past three to four years. Certainly, a part of me feels somewhat guilty when I travel. I was in Australia earlier this year for two weeks. I’m going to be going to Europe for two weeks.

Part of me feels very…What’s the word I’m looking for? I don’t want my clients to get too mad at me because I’m traveling so much, but they know it’s part of the deal when they work with me. They understand.

I usually try to make sure all their programs are up to date when I leave and if they have any questions before I leave, to certainly ask it. They, of course, have access to me when I’m traveling as far as emails.

All in all, it is part of my identity, for lack of a better term. Integrity is very important to me. If I’m out there writing about how to coach people, and how to write programs, and how to assess shoulder function and all that stuff, I think it’s important to still actually be coaching people.

This isn’t an attack on those who do online only. For my personal preference and my personal stance, I feel staying fresh with my in-person coaching and staying sharp is an important part of being a coach. Yeah, 20 hours a week certainly I’ve found it’s been s a nice, healthy medium work-to-life balance. It’s worked very well.

David TaoDavid Tao

I assume most of those clients you have 20 hours a week, those fill up pretty quickly, if you have clients who are training a few times a week.

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

I do semi-private as well. I don’t do any one-on-one. It’s very rare that I do one-on-one training, so my studio is entirely semi-private. I’ll be working with anywhere from two to four, or sometimes 5 people at a time, all working off their own programs. The space that I work out of is small enough where my eyes can be on everyone at the same time.

My head’s a little bit on a swivel. I feel like I’m constantly like a shark in motion when I’m coaching. My space isn’t huge by any stretch, and I can certainly keep my eyes on everyone.

Even though it is 20 hours a week, I have, I think, currently, 25, 30 clients that are pretty consistent as far as in-person clients. Most of them are one day a week, but I have several who are twice a week, if not three times a week. I’m usually seeing everyone at least once a week in those 20 hours.

David TaoDavid Tao

I assume most of those clients, a lot of them you’ve had for a while. I know you’re a big proponent of not necessarily spending all your time actively marketing your services, but keeping the clients you have.

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

Yes. I know later we talk about pet peeves — not that that’s one of them — but I do think that a common thread in the fitness industry, especially with upcoming trainers and coaches, is they’re always worrying about getting those leads and getting people in the door and marketing. That is important. Believe me. I’m not bemoaning that or downplaying that by any stretch.

I do think if you focus more on keeping your current clients happy, and having a good product to give — your assessment process, how you write your programs and even the soft skills of coaching — that often is what separates a good trainer from a great trainer, or one who’s struggling to get people in the door and those who have a consistent revenue stream with their coaching.

It’s just focusing on maintaining their currents clients. Honestly, from a revenue standpoint, from a cost standpoint, it’s cheaper to focus on keeping your current clients happy and having them refer clients rather than paying for all these marketing gurus and master classes and stuff like that.

Just something to chew on for some fitness professionals. I just think, “Keep your currents clients happy and you’re good to go.”

David TaoDavid Tao

You opened your own space in 2015 before that and where a space where you were at for a while and become very widely known in the greater strength and conditioning community was Cressey Sports Performance. Where were you before that? Give us the elevator pitch of your career across the health and fitness industry.

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

Before Cressey Sports Performance, I was a corporate fitness trainer and a personal trainer. Corporate fitness meaning my first job out of college, I worked for a company who would be hired by other companies to run their gyms for their employees.

Employees would come in before work, during lunch break, after work. They saw it as a way of decreasing their healthcare cost which is the home run. To provide a gym for their employees to work out at and boom. There you go.

My job was to work at those facilities and basically train their employees who were interested in doing some personal training. I did that in conjunction with being your run-of-the-mill commercial gym trainer for three, four, or five years before I met Eric.

Eric and I met online when it was still weird to meet people online. We moved to Connecticut, worked together there, then we moved to Boston. I spent the first five years of my career working as a “commercial gym trainer.” Then we opened up Cressey Sports Performance. I was there for eight years.

Now, I do my own hodgepodge of in-person coaching, online coaching, and being a pseudo B-list fitness celebrity. I know it was longer than 10 seconds, but that’s about as quick as I can make it.

David TaoDavid Tao

No, I love it. It’s interesting because when I first met you and a lot of the content that I originally read from you — and this was back in I want to say in 2010, 2011, when I was getting familiar with your work — with a lot of coaches, it seemed there was this wave of influential coaches that came out of the Boston area at the time.

A lot of what you were writing on was relevant to and borrowing from your experience with team athletes, baseball players, football players, team sports. I didn’t realize that you had that background on the individual corporate side. For some reason, I just assumed you always started with team athletics.

Talk a little about, over the course of your career, some of the differences you’ve learned or maybe just general lessons you’ve learned approaching in the coaching mindset between team athletics and the general population. Is there a surprising amount of carryover or not?

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

Yes, there is a surprising amount of carryover. When I was at Cressey Sports Performance, we trained a lot of baseball players and a lot of athletes, but we trained a fair amount of the gen pop clients, too. I often say now, 95 percent of my clients are gen pop, whereas at Cressey Sports Performance, 95 percent of my clients were athletes. I did do a little flip-flop.

Honestly, throughout my career, I’ve always preferred working with gen pop clients. I remember, I think it was two years ago, I was speaking at an NSCA event. I made that comment offhandedly while I was presenting. Then afterwards, I’m sitting in an area with Greg Nuckols. It was like a Q&A portion of the day.

I had maybe three people who were at my presentation. The number one question I got was, “Wow, you really prefer training gen pop?” like it was some sort of demerit point.

David TaoDavid Tao

“Ew, ew, regular people?”

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

“You train professional athletes. Isn’t that like the Holy Grail?” Yes, that’s cool, but I’ve always enjoyed working with Dale from accounting. I feel I get more variety when I work with the gen pop population.

I really get a lot of enjoyment and fulfillment when I can take somebody who is very de-conditioned or in pain and can’t do certain exercises on day one. Then two months later, they’re crushing it. I get a lot of fulfillment from doing that. Honestly, number one would be from a business standpoint. There are way more gen pop clients than professional athletes.

If I want to pay the bills, gen pop makes a lot of sense. To answer your question, there is a surprising amount of carryover. I’ve done several podcasts, one most recently with Mike Robertson where we talked about this.

If you look at a program that are right for a professional athlete or even a collegiate athlete or high school athlete, and how I write a program or what a program looks like for a gen pop client, there’s going to be a lot of similarities. The human body is the human body. I’m a big fan of training movement patterns. Squat pattern, hinge pattern, push, pull, etc. That really doesn’t change.

However, the obvious difference is if I’m working with a high-level athlete, the load is going to be quite different, and the speed is going to be quite different. There aren’t many gen pop clients coming in who I’m worried about walking on their 40 time or their acceleration and doing stuff very quickly.

Maybe if they’re Terry Tate or something, “Office Linebacker.” Maybe that would be a scenario where that would happen. I do have pretty much all my gen pop clients deadlifting to some capacity, most of which are trap bar as opposed to doing a straight bar. Most of them are squatting. It doesn’t necessarily have to be with a straight bar. There are many iterations of the squat that they’re doing.

I get them throwing stuff too. I can have them throw my ball. That’s a very user-friendly way of training power and explosiveness, and getting metabolic rate up and pushing prowlers, and doing farmer carries. They love it.

If I can make them feel a little bit more athletic, it might not be athletic, but if I can make them feel a little bit more athletic, I do find there’s a little bit more buy-in to the program where it’s just not this vanilla approach. Like we’re going to do some push ups, we’re going to do this which is all fine and dandy, but there’s way more similarities and differences, to be honest.

David TaoDavid Tao

We have fantasy football season coming up. I’ve heard one of the fastest growing fantasy football punishments if you finish last in the league is that you have to go through a simulated NFL football combine. Maybe you’ll have Dale from accounting with some of these gen pops folks coming to you to train for that.

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

Oh, man. I don’t even know what the football combine entails. I’m so out of the loop with sports. When you have a kid, you lose a grasp a little bit of pop culture. I’m assuming the bench press is still involved there.

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s a bench press. It’s the vertical, the 40, obviously. I think there’s a cone drill.

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

Cone drill, yeah.

David TaoDavid Tao

Broad jump, that sort of thing.

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

 It’s the same. All right, that’s doable.

David TaoDavid Tao

If you’re listening now and your fantasy football draft went poorly, and you need to start training for the inevitable punishment, Tony Gentilcore, he’s your guy.

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

We’ll get you to skip well first. That’s often my litmus test. Even when I work with younger athletes, especially gen pop, is watching them skip. That can give you a lot of information as far how long it’s been since they’ve done anything athletic.

It’s also a nice way for me to pump the brakes because I do get some men and women come in. They just want to get after it right away, but they haven’t really done anything remotely athletic for 10, 15, 20 years.

I’ll say, “Show me your skip, we’re going to do some skip marches.” I keep a straight face. It’s an Academy Award level of straight faceness. I’m just like, “Yeah we have a little work to do, let’s work on that first before we worry about the more advanced stuff.” I can make it happen. Dale, if you’re listening, let’s go.

David TaoDavid Tao

Folks, I know from personal experience, when Tony Gentilcore sees something that he maybe doesn’t like or he wants to have a neutral face, there’s just no expression. It’s just a blank slate, a 1000-yard stare.

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

Yeah, that could be good or bad I suppose. We’ll see. I don’t think it’s a good way to set a precedent when you’re laughing at your client on day one. A straight face is probably always the better way to go.

David TaoDavid Tao

What are some other general tests? They don’t necessary need to be ones that you institute all the time, but you mentioned skipping as a general assessment of a baseline coordination, athleticism. What are some other good ones you’ve seen coaches use or used yourself?

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

One that I picked up from Darren John that I like a lot, and one easy way to gauge progress as you go, is to having them do a farmer carry for distance. We’ll pick a certain load for the carry. I don’t have a set parameter here. I just, “We’ll use 20 pounds on those, or 40 pounds.” Something that’s challenging.

I’d say, “Carry that for as long as you can before you have to put them down.” That sets a standard on day one, week one, whatever you want to call it. Inevitably, they’re going to ask, “Do we ever reassess anything?” Which I’m not a fan of. I’m not a fan of doing a reassessment every month, or two months, or four months, or six months.

I think any good coach that is coaching, you’re constantly tweaking the program and maybe changing this exercise or that exercise. With the farmer carry, I find it’s a nice way to say, “OK, the first day we did this, you did it for 75 yards before you had to put the dumbbells down. Now, you did it for 200. Is that not progress?” “Yeah, it is.” It is a nice way…

To me, that isn’t anything that requires a significant amount of skill to perform. It’s just holding something heavy in your hand and you carry. I don’t think anyone is going to hurt themselves doing that. It’s pretty intuitive.

David TaoDavid Tao

People carry groceries all the time. They understand this is something with carryover. This is an assessment that makes sense. Not everyone will understand the use of a goblet squat at first, or a hang power clean. But carrying some weight in your hands, yeah. That makes sense.

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

To me, especially with gen pop, that is a nice easy way of assessing. Another one that I’ve used in the past…I wouldn’t say I use it all the time. It might even be another Darren John…what I stole from him. He wrote about a thing where he just asked somebody to sit on the ground or maybe standing up.

I think he starts with them sitting on the ground. He just asks them to stand up. He tries to see how many steps does it take for that individual to stand up from a seated position. Is it they just cross their legs and stand up, which is the gold standard? Or is it one of those things where there’s a bunch of grunts and groans and they have to roll over to the elbow and like, “Oh,” get up that way?

It’s this five-point thing to get up to a standing position and down. I forgot who he referenced, but there was another coach who said if we look at longevity and overall joint health and having a life that’s a lot of vitality in it.

The ability to stand up from a sitting position, just crossing your legs and standing up, is a nice way of gauging that which I found is a very easy way to interpret to the client and say, “We’re just going to see how you stand up and how you get down. We’re going to try and improve that.

Hopefully, as we progress, we get you a little bit stronger. We improve mobility in certain areas. We improve stability in certain areas to get you to appreciate what it means to be in a better position, getting you in a better alignment. Hopefully, that will improve as well.” Another simple and effective way to assess somebody, but also gauge it moving forward.

David TaoDavid Tao

You talk about that test for longevity. The thing that pops to mind is that I can think of a lot strength athletes. I can think of point stirring my own strength training life cycle, where if you ask me to get up off the ground or if you asked them to get up off the ground, there are going to be some more grunts and groans.

It’s going to look more like a 16-point turn as opposed to a smooth parallel park. Specialization in strength athletics often can breed tightness. It can breed difficulty in some of those general moving about life avenues.

If you’re working with a strength athlete or if you’re watching them train, or compete, or just live their lives, is that something that you’re seeing crop up? As a trainer, when working with people or advising people or speaking, how are you fighting some of the negative repercussions of specialization?

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

If I’m working with a strength athlete or an athlete in general, I have to recognize that there’s going to be some pattern overload. There’s a certain pattern that they have to perform a lot to be successful in their event or sport.

My job isn’t necessarily to fix that. If I were to look at a pitcher, for example, a baseball pitcher, they have a bony adaptation in their throwing shoulder that warrants they’ll have a lot of external rotation. They’ll have limited internal rotation.

Years past, I remember a point earlier in Cressey Sports Performance this year, we would do the sleeper stretch all the time. If we saw an internal rotation deficit in the throwing shoulder, we are like, “Oh, my God, we have to get internal rotation back.” We do the sleeper stretch and try to fix what we deem a dysfunctional pattern.

However, we’ve been taken into consideration total range of motion is what matters when we compare throwing side to non-throwing side.

That lack of internal rotation is an adaptive response to the sport, the idea of throwing a baseball, so long as they don’t lose that internal rotation, or they don’t lose total range of motion, as far as adding external rotation plus internal rotation is what really matters.

It isn’t that we have to fix that, more so than just manage it, and make sure it doesn’t get worse, or…does that make sense?

David TaoDavid Tao


Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

That’s just a general example, but I think if we are talking about strength athletes, powerlifters, weightlifters, etc. We’ll use powerlifters for example because I have more experience working with them. I do feel they are zoned in on three lifts, the bench press, the deadlift and the squat. They want to get as strong as humanly possible in those three lifts.

Of course, their training is going to match that, as far as their competition lifts and then their competition stances, but also their accessory work as far as addressing any technique flaws or weaknesses in those lifts, I get it.

Certainly, the closer you get to a completion the more honed in you are going to get, you are not going to falter away from any of that. You are basically just doing your competition lifts for a powerlifting meet.

However, I would say what I have felt has worked well, particularly post-meet, or off-season if we want to call it that, is getting them more amplitude, meaning getting them out of the sagittal plane, allowing them to explore the frontal plane and transverse plane, and getting in more rotation, and doing a little bit more reaching with their shoulders.

I find that a lot of shoulder pain particularly in that population, and even trainers and coaches, we tend to be pinned down, our shoulder blades are pinned together and down, together and down, together and down because we want to lift a lot of weight. Of course, we need to do that to squat, to deadlift, and to bench press.

However, the more reaching I add into a program where I can now get the shoulder blade to move more around the rib cage. Getting a little bit more protraction. Getting the stratus to turn on.

Just as an example, “Oh, my God, my shoulder feels better,” because yes, to bench press a lot of weight you want those shoulder blades together. Now retracted and de-press because that’s a stable position. However, let’s add in some push ups. Let’s add in a row, where you reach a little bit more. Get a little bit more protraction.

Just to get them more amplitude. Getting them exposure to varying movements and planes of motion is important as well. It’s all going to be dictated on in-season, out-of-season. How close you are to competition. When they have to peak. All that stuff because certainly the closer you get to the D-day, you’re going to be focusing on those three lifts.

Or if they’re a weightlifter, focusing more on their clean and jerks and the Olympic lifts. I know it was a little bit of a rant, but hopefully that makes sense.

David TaoDavid Tao

My next question for you is going to be, what are some specific movement you might program for, say an off-season powerlifter, to build that amplitude, to get that amplitude? I like some of those…

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

Single leg work. Yeah, stuff like single leg work. Adding in some med ball throws where we include rotation. Adding in core work, where they have to rotate a little bit, move from the hips a little bit more. Adding in more lateral-frontal plane movement where they lunge to the side, or maybe they do some skipping to the side. Stuff like that.

Nothing crazy. Nothing super advanced. Don’t get me wrong. I still think simple is the way to go. Certainly, single leg work and all that stuff is going to help keep their hips a little healthier. Their lower back is not going to handle as much. It decreases overall load on the spine when we’re not always putting a barbell on their back, super heavy. Always pulling a barbell off the ground, super heavy.

Trying my best to expose them to a bit more of a variety of movement. If anything, from longevity standpoint. Can I make a case that any of that is going to carry over to their deadlift or squat? I don’t know. I do know that their hips are probably going to like them a bit more. Their lower back is not going to be sticking that middle finger up to them as much.

They are going to be able to train because their joints aren’t as beat up. That’s my train of thought. Maybe it’s more simplified than most people think, but that’s how I think.

David TaoDavid Tao

 Awesome, Tony. I prepped you for these, so I won’t feel too bad. It’s time for the more rapid-fire questions. That’s a bit of a misnomer because give thoughtful answers if you want. Let’s dive right in. Your secret talent?

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

My secret talent? I can play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the piano. That is my only musical talent. I’m double-jointed. I can make the tips of my fingers bend which is a weird talent. I’m very lame. Those are my talents. I don’t have any weight room talent or anything like that. I had a nasty fork ball in college when I was a pitcher. Maybe that’s a talent, too.

David TaoDavid Tao

What is a fork ball?

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

You could also say it’s a split-fingered fastball. It’s when you spread your fingers way apart so that your index finger and your middle finger are going around the ball. It’s an off-speed pitch. It drops off the table at the tail end of the pitch. It’s pretty nasty.

David TaoDavid Tao

I have actually used that term to describe my life before, it’s an off-speed pitch. That’s all it is. All right, you talked about this a little earlier, pet peeve?

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

Are we talking about pet peeves in the industry? Are we talking pet peeves as a general life thing or is it my choice?

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s your choice. This is very telling, depending on if you stick with the industry or go general life. This tells the listeners a lot about you.


Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

I brought up one pet peeve recently that most people nodded their head with and I think I might have hurt a few people’s feelings. I wasn’t calling anyone out by any means. I wasn’t singling anyone out. I certainly did not mean anyone when I said it.

I have a pet peeve when I see gym owners posting videos of themselves vacuuming. It’s like this righteous thing that they are doing. I don’t know. I don’t get it. I just feel like, what’s the point? You own a gym, you vacuum your gym floor, that’s what gym owners do. That’s one pet peeve of mine.

Then, social media in general is sometimes a massive pet peeve, where I posted something the other day about one of my coaches who wants to do a special class for the LGBT community. Of course, that’s a hot topic, I get it. It boggles my mind that people go out of their way to waste 10 seconds of their time to make a nasty comment when they could have just read it and moved on with their life.

It doesn’t affect their life. It doesn’t affect their business. It doesn’t affect their day-to-day doings at all. To take 10 seconds out of your day to write something nasty about something that doesn’t involve you whatsoever, really boggles my mind. That’s a massive pet peeve, too.

David TaoDavid Tao

I’m going to start trolling all of your social media accounts.

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

I am not confrontational. Lately, it’s been a little bit more trolls that usual on my end. I certainly don’t go out of my way to be confrontational online. Maybe that’s another pet peeves too. I don’t think that’s a great way to…

I know that there are some personalities in the industry that’s their thing where they’re very confrontational and very evidence-based. I can appreciate that. I think you do have to fight the good fight, but when that’s 100 percent of what you are, I do think that turns a lot of people off as well.

This is the healthy balance of figuring out what the right dosage is. Being super aggressive online is another pet peeve, I suppose.

David TaoDavid Tao

I was just giving you a gentle ribbing. One, I think that a lot of people would agree with you on it’s become all too commonplace in the industry. Next question, the strength athlete you most admire.

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

This might be one of those things where I’m also very lame. I don’t follow CrossFit. I don’t follow any powerlifting. I don’t follow any weightlifting. I know it sounds very sacrilegious. I think the closest person that’s probably in that realm that I would admire are just colleagues of mine, like Chad Wesley Smith, Chris Duffin, those guys.

I think they’re very knowledgeable people and are very open to other ideas, which I really, really respect. I’m not a fan of fitness professionals that pigeonhole themselves into, “No, this is the only way to coach a squat. It’s my way, and if you don’t do it this way, you’re wrong.” They are not like that at all.

I respect that. They’re just two strong dudes. They practice what they preach, which I can definitely appreciate.

David TaoDavid Tao

You picked some strong people, and some very, very good informed choices for someone who claims to not follow strength sports.

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

When I saw this question I was like, “Oh, man, I know you just like CrossFit.” I don’t really follow CrossFit. I don’t even know who won. Fraser won? I forgot the female who won. I don’t even know the top 10 CrossFitters. I don’t follow that world. That isn’t a knock.

I appreciate what they do, I think it’s cool what they do. I can’t do 95 percent of what they do. I just don’t follow it. I’d rather watch movies.

David TaoDavid Tao

I think you picked between Chad Wesley Smith and Chris Duffin, you picked two folks who have top 10 all time powerlifting totals. They’re just entertaining to watch. They both put out good stuff. We worked with both of them at BarBend.


Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

They’ve good dudes. I’ve listened to Chad present once, and Chris came to one of my workshops which is surreal because I remember it was a room full of, I don’t know, 60 or 70 fitness professionals. Chris Duffin was there. I was like, “OK, I’m going to coach the deadlifts.”

There’s Chris Duffin who deadlifts 1,000 pounds for reps. I’m like, “OK, everyone. Here’s how we coach…” It wasn’t lost on me that it was quite the comical moment, but he is someone who…What I appreciate too is he’ll shut up and learn, which I really, really…He’s a smart individual. He’ll keep his mouth shut and just learn and take it in which I respect a lot.

David TaoDavid Tao

All right, Tony. Where can folks keep up to date with what you’re doing, your writing and your coaching? You’re one of the most prolific fitness professionals we’ve ever had on this podcast when it comes to writing and producing your own content. Where’s the best place to follow along with that?

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

That would be home base. That would be my website, which is tonigentilcore.com. That would be my blog, social media, links to articles I’ve written, podcasts, etc. That is where everything is. It’s just my name, tonigentilcore.com.

David TaoDavid Tao

Easy enough. Tony, thanks so much for taking the time. It’s been an absolute pleasure chatting with you. I hope we get to chat again in the future. Really appreciate you coming on.

Tony GentilcoreTony Gentilcore

You, too. Thank you very much.