Meet the trainers

Tony Stacey

Tony Stacey

How long have you been a personal trainer?
I’ve been a personal trainer for 15 years. After I left Spurs I went to college and completed an arduous personal training course. I then went to the USA for a year to gain as much experience as possible. I nearly stayed in Washington full-time, but came back to London and settled down here.

What made you decide to become a personal trainer?
I have always been involved in sport. After having to retire from football at an early age, a desk job seemed unlikely and didn’t interest me. I’d always been coached, so to coach others came naturally to me.

I founded Absolute PT in October 2009. Having worked for many years at some of the biggest chain gyms in the UK, I grew tired of their approach to training. I wanted to do it my way and with people who shared the same beliefs as me about health and fitness.

How is it different from working at the big chain gyms?
We don’t need to hit targets, number crunch or target a specific corporate market. We are personal trainers that are actually personal!

Training has always been a simple formula for me. Clients come to trainers, trainers assess their needs, trainer educates client, trainer devises specific training programme, and the client achieves their target.

Then it’s just a case of maintenance. If this doesn’t happen, something is wrong.

What type of training do you specialise in?
I’ve been a trainer for a long time and I don’t pigeonhole myself. I keep learning and making sure that I can get results for anyone who walks through the door and says they need my help. I train such a wide variety of people, from actors, lawyers and doctors to triathletes and marathon runners. I have to be prepared.

How do you keep yourself fit?
I train every day. I usually enter one or two new events each year to keep me busy. So the marathon was last year, this year is Kilimanjaro and a triathlon. Next year is possibly an Ironman. I won’t tell the missus about that one just yet!

What has been your biggest success story as a trainer?
I haven’t had one that solely stands out, I have hundreds. I see all my clients as success stories. If they are not, I must be doing something wrong. I know you cannot watch their every move and some need to padlock the fridge, but hey, I can moan like the best of them!

I had a client who lost half their bodyweight over five years. Another one who springs to mind is a guy who was in such pain and poor physical shape that he was contemplating back surgery. We started training together and now he’s in great shape and trust me, going under the knife is the last thing on his mind.

But perhaps the most bizarre was a pregnant lady I’d been training. In the throes of labour a group of doctors and junior doctors gathered round her to complement her as the best case of a fit, healthy mother they’d ever seen. She was even due to train the day she had the baby!!!

What’s the most common gym mistake you see?
Simple! Bad form, heavy weights and poor range of movement. Also, guys not stretching and just hitting the weights – it’s a recipe for a serious injury.

What would you say to anyone who thinks they can’t get in shape?
Give me one month!

And finally…. what’s your favourite comfort food?
Mmmm, I’m a savoury person, so sausage rolls are a weakness. I also like a nice glass of red! My problem is portion size though; if you put it in front of me, I will eat it!