Tommy is traveling again. Trying to eat well and stay fit on the road has it’s challenges. In this video Tommy brings us up to date on his progress, diet and routine.
Tommy’s Trainer Talks Transformation, Nutrition and the Perfect Rep
Meet Peter Rappoli. He’s the man behind Tommy’s 2012 transformation. His has a master’s degree in nutrition and over twenty years experience in personal training, Rappoli is as passionate about health and fitness as Tommy is about woodworking. He’s the co-owner of Elite Health & Fitness in Stoughton, Mass, is certified through ACSM, NCSF, AFAA, NSPA, FRA, NCCPT and IFA. He’s worked closely with the trainers for both the Red Sox and the Anaheim Angels and was the strength and conditioning coach for Mo Vaughn and John Valentin. We had a chance to catch up with Rappoli between clients to talk about his workout plan for Tommy.
TJM: How long have you been working with Tommy?
PR: It’s going on seven years now.
TJM: That’s a long time to be working with a personal trainer. How do you keep things in the gym from getting stagnant?
PR: We’re always changing it up. Right now I have Tommy doing High Intensity Training (HIT), but every three or four months I’ll switch things up and we’ll do something else, like super sets.
TJM: Can you talk a little more about the HIT training?
PR: Sure, HIT stands for High Intensity Training. It’s built on the concept that we’re about 40% stronger on the negative phase of a movement. So on a typical bicep curl, for example, we’ll take 2 seconds on the way up with a 1 second pause at the top and 4 seconds on the way down, but there’s never an actual rest in the rep, so you keep the muscle under constant tension, which increases strength.
TJM: And how does that break down over set or a workout?
PR: Using that bicep curl as an example again, you’d do 10 reps of a weight in a set, so that’s 70 seconds total. Then you rest for a minute and a half and repeat for three sets total. It’s exhausting and very challenging. You actually end up using a lower weight than you might be used to because it’s slow and in control and you can’t use momentum to get the weight up.
TJM: How do you break up his workouts over the week? By body part?
PR: Yeah, we’ll do chest and biceps one day, back and biceps another, legs on a separate day and then shoulders and traps on another. And on the fifth day we come back to Day #1. On weekends there’s no lifting.
TJM: Where does cardio fit in?
PR: Right now Tommy’s doing most of the cardio on his own. He’s got the bike at home, so he does about 3-4 hours a week of cardio and 4-5 hours a week of weight training.
TJM: We understand you had a big part to play in Tommy’s new nutrition plan, too. How will you work with him to ensure that this becomes a longer term lifestyle plan?
PR: Well, I’ll do it with him, for starters. But the important thing is I don’t tell him he can never have a cookie again, or ice cream. Once he hits his goal he can have those things, but within reason. And while he’s on this plan he’s allowed one cheat meal a week. Not a cheat day, but a cheat meal. So if it’s Friday night and he wants to have some pizza or whatever, that’s fine. It helps you get through it. You should never neglect yourself of things completely.
TJM: Sounds like you have Tommy on the right track, Peter. Thanks for taking the time.
PR: My pleasure. Any time.
It has been over three weeks and I am still eating well. Here is today’s lunch: 5 oz. chicken, tomato, red pepper, raw broccoli, kale, lettuce and spinach… I get tired of eating this way, but I feel awesome. It seems like a lot of my aches and pains are fading away as well!
Tommy is back from a successful road trip to Indiana. Needing to get back in to his routine, he gives us a fitness update while riding the pounds away! Watch Video >>
Tommy has hit the road, doing the Woodworking Shows thing with the Woodcraft crew. Up until now, following his new nutrition plan has been relatively easy, with Rachel stocking the fridge with permitted foods and preparing healthy meals. On the road, however, it’s a completely different story.
We caught up with Tommy as he landed in Indiana to talk about the challenges of sticking with his new healthy lifestyle while on the go.
TMT Blog: First of all, how is “new Tommy” doing?
Tommy: Great! I feel great. It’s the best I’ve felt. I’m down to 182 and I feel fantastic. I haven’t had a headache in weeks, I don’t have any back pain and I’m sleeping better than ever. I’m not walking around with garbage in my system. It’s amazing.
TMT Blog: Obviously, being on the road presents some challenges. No more of Rachel’s home cooking, for example.
Tommy: Yeah, now we’re into it. It’s starting to get difficult, as we knew it would. It’s tough to find healthy alternatives while on the road. Like in the Terminal, I go into Hudson News to grab a packet of trail mix – the kind with nuts a dried fruit. I’m about to buy it until I read the ingredients. It’s saying there’s 18 grams of sugar in this bag. And one bag has two and a half servings. That’s 50 grams of sugar right there. I might as well eat two Milky Ways. So I put those back and grabbed a simpler version of trail mix — just some nuts and raisins and a bottled water. And I’m good to go!
TMT Blog: But you can’t just eat trail mix for four days straight. How else are you managing?
Tommy: Well, we’re lucky in Logan [Airport]. We have a Sbarro’s. Now I know everyone knows them for their amazing pasta and pizza to die for, but they also make a great salad. So I passed up all the other stuff and went with a big green salad with some chicken. It’s completely satisfying.
TMT Blog: How about hotel breakfasts? Not a lot of options there.
Tommy: True. The hotel has a typical breakfast: scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, a waffle machine. It’s hard not to go with those, but I went for a couple boxes of corn flakes and cheerios and four hard boiled eggs. And a couple cups of black coffee. And it’s not easy. I’m learning it’s just a question of mental toughness. I’ve always considered myself pretty mentally tough, but this is really testing that.
TMT Blog: When you’re doing these Woodworking Shows, there’s always going to be those big group dinners at nice restaurants. How do you deal with being surrounded by others who aren’t on the same eating plan?
Tommy: It’s really hard. The gang went out to dinner the other night to this amazing steak and rib joint. The kind that serves all the food I would normally love. There was nothing on their menu that looked like it was going to work for me. All the salads had feta cheese…So I just asked if I could have a field green salad with tomatoes and olive oil. For dinner I ordered chicken with a vegetable medley and a baked potato. No butter on the veggies and just a plain potato. Before I might have loaded the potato up with sour cream, bacon, the works. But I just go plain, and you know what? It’s completely satisfying. And yeah, I take a little crap from the guys at dinner, but I just keep telling myself that I’ve made a decision. Sure, I can whatever I want. No one’s telling me I can’t. But I’ve made a decision and that’s what I’m sticking to. And I feel great.
TMT Blog: Sounds like you’ve got this thing whipped. Best of luck in your travels and on-the-road diet, Tommy.