Editor’s Note: Dylan Arnold is a certified fitness trainer, and when I say certified, I mean elitely so. Not sure elitely is a word. You can read his credentials in the article. He will be offering up tips and nutrition advice, and will answer questions in his column here. You can email me any questions, or leave them in the comments… his first article will appear next Monday.
Nobody wants a trainer with charisma. I mean, you want a trainer who looks like you want to look. But you don’t want the screaming trainer. Remember Jake and Tony Little? You do, and not fondly. Dylan Arnold has charisma, but it is quiet charisma, so you are psyched without realizing, until after you have done something you didn’t think you were going to be able to do, how psyched you were.
More about Dylan in a minute. It has always amazed me that there are fashion sites (THIS IS NOT A BLOG), there are fitness sites, but there are very few that combine both, and none, by none I mean zero point zero, that do both well. But talk about intertwined. Especially Ivy. We do not enjoy the same solution to body shifts (there is not enough time in the universe to spend trying to use words for body changing that aren’t going to bother someone, but I am giving it a go) that other genres enjoy. Specifically, we cannot throw money at the problem and just buy all new. Yes, we can tailor. Which works to some degree, and before you start your comment with John, a good tailor should be able to, let me tell you, there is an abundance of things that a good tailor cannot do. But we cannot just go out and buy all new.
The more fit you are, the better you look in your clothes.
That and. Am I the only one offended at people’s knee jerk to expandable waistlines because they gained weight during Covid? Offices are opening up – and people are dressing, or people are dressing because their offices are not opening up but they have dignity. Either way. And there is another answer to going out in public again beside the drawstring.
Why a trainer? I will tell you why. I used to work for the guy who founded BlackRock. He had this saying: business begets business. True, that. Same thing with getting back in shape. Yes, you can change what you eat, and you should. Exercise is an accelerant. And THE most under leveraged method of maintaining mental health. Results beget results. And you simply get better results, faster and safer, with a good trainer.
So back to Dylan Arnold. Dylan is Ivy. Dylan grew up in a small town in the middle of New York where opportunities for a smart, driven teenager were scarce. The right opportunities, anyway. Opportunities for distraction and “alternative entrepreneurship” – those his town had in abundance. And a smart young guy with energy to burn would naturally find the wrong opportunities. And leverage them.
But Dylan is Ivy. And came to the realization, on his own I might add, that the Ivy values we talk about all the time, work ethic (he calls it hustle), the importance of thought, ethics, and dignity, those were not being served in the way he was leading his life.
So what did he do? Soul searched. And found out what many great people find out – that there is joy in serving others. This was a revelation of sorts. Dylan’s small town didn’t preach service to others as much as it preached survival. But he figured it out, found the best school for trainers in the country, the Focus Personal Training Institute (check them out here, this is no 4 week course to get certification, this is a college, licensed by the State Of New York, where you either excel or get dropped), and gathered every dollar he could, and some he couldn’t, and went. And graduated knowing as much as anyone about how to transform what needs transforming.
Here’s why you want to listen to Dylan. I asked him about his personal training philosophy:
“I’m a firm believer in functional training. Improving your quality of life inside AND outside of the gym! I personally may spend the majority of my time inside of a gym but the average person does not. You can do the right thing in the gym and the wrong thing outside the gym and spin your wheels. Or, you can concentrate on whole, functional training. Diet, sleep, water, stress management, and more. So that you are simultaneously living and training a healthy life in every way. These disciplines all support each other. More water, better workout. Better workout, better sleep. Better sleep, faster recovery. Faster recovery, better workout. If you want authentic and lasting results, you change everything.”
I asked him, why be a personal trainer?
“Getting paid to help people improve their life. WHAT’S BETTER THAN THAT?” (his capitals, not mine).
So one day, I am working out. And I have never been able to do squats. Ever. I did a triathlon, but never a squat. So Dylan is watching me from behind this knee wall where I work out. I should also tell you, Dylan has this grin when he thinks he can get you to be better. So I am trying a squat, and it looks like I am birthing a calf from the standing position. Dylan walks over.
“Hey, you wanna do a squat… instead of that?”
(I told you, just enough charisma.)
He walks over to a weight rack, grabs two 5 pound discs, comes back, tells me to lift my heels, slides the discs under them, and tells me to try now.
I squat. Not like a Russian weightlifter, but it is a real squat.
Then, two things. He spent five minutes explaining to me why that worked for me. And then for the next three days, I didn’t sit. I told him. He laughed at me. I was stoked, and Dylan was LEGIT happy for me.
Which is why I asked Dylan to write a column here. I have had trainers who were accountants just recording the number of reps, but I never met a trainer who put as much into developing his expertise as he does in his workouts. And I REALLY never met a trainer who was genuinely happy for someone when they do something they didn’t think they could do.