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.