High-Stakes Health

A client with much to gain gives personal trainer Chris DiVecchio a platform to show his worth.

  • Category
    Health
  • Written by
    Nancy Sokoler Steiner
  • Photographed by
    Jeff Berting

Chris DiVecchio uses one piece of equipment with his clients even more frequently than fitness machines or weights: his phone. As founder of Premier Mind & Body, the 41-year-old stays in constant contact with his clients. He may check in to see if they’ve worked out, send exercise videos or simply inquire about their day.

They reach out to him too. They might text a restaurant menu for advice on what to order or share thoughts about the day’s workout.

“My goal is to teach people how to make good decisions, to adapt and adjust and build a lifestyle around health and wellness,” says Chris. “I help my clients become more conscious of and connected to their bodies.”

His 90-day program combines a custom-designed training plan emphasizing form and technique, an individualized meal plan and vitamin supplement regimen, and lifestyle coaching. The lifestyle coaching, a central component of his program, sets Chris’ approach apart.

“My philosophy is the mind first and the body will follow. I look at what other stuff is going on in a client’s life to get to the heart of why this person has come to me out of shape and not taking care of himself or herself.”

Chris has focused on his own self-development over the years, including reading books, taking classes and working with life coaches. When he began training clients, he naturally incorporated what he had learned. “By working from the inside out, I found that the physical transformations were coming a lot faster,” he says.

“The biggest rewards are when clients tell me things like how they slept great or that they’ve improved their relationship with their spouse or client. It’s not just about building their abs. I see transformation all across their lives.”

Born and raised in Boston, Chris played college hockey and competed as an amateur body builder. With a modeling and acting background (including starring in the 2009 film Dark Moon Rising) he moved to Los Angeles in 2002, working side gigs including bartending and personal training to supplement his income.

At age 35 Chris decided to devote himself to fitness coaching, building a 10 x 10 backyard structure to serve as his gym. His clientele grew via word-of-mouth, and in 2013 he moved his operation to the Center Street Club—an upscale private gym in El Segundo. About half of his clients live in other parts of the U.S. and abroad, and he uses an online system that includes his customized plans, check-ins and other functions.

Premier Mind & Body got more attention this summer after Chris coached a professional poker player from New York. The player, who weighed 245 pounds and carried 33% body fat at the time, took on a $1 million bet that he couldn’t get below 10% body fat in six months. Working intensively with Chris, he won the bet—dropping to less than 9% body fat.

Miguel Gonzalez, who works in El Segundo, read about Chris and the million-dollar bet. He started working with Chris to help get back into shape after a back injury. Five weeks into the program the federal employee, husband and father of two daughters generally works out six days a week and has changed his diet, including cutting out dairy. He’s lost about 20 pounds.

“I feel drastically different. I have more confidence in pushing myself during workouts,” says Miguel, who reports that his blood pressure is down and his insomnia, which allowed him only about three to four hours of sleep a night, has disappeared. “Chris and I are always talking about making good decisions. I make small decisions every day for the greater good.”

These kinds of successes keep Chris motivated. “The biggest rewards are when clients tell me things like how they slept great or that they’ve improved their relationship with their spouse or client. It’s not just about building their abs. I see transformation all across their lives.”

Chris’ Year in Health

Weekday Itinerary:

Chris wakes up at 5:30 a.m. and arrives at the gym between 6:30 and 7. He’ll work with clients for the next 12 hours, fitting in a workout and lunch between sessions or alongside his clients. His workouts vary and include gym work, plyometrics (jump training), high-intensity interval training and yoga. In the evening he works on his book, The Five by Two, which talks about tapping into the five senses.

Nutrition:

Breakfast typically consists of three whole eggs and three egg whites with a handful of spinach. Lunches and dinners combine eight ounces of protein, a green vegetable or salad and sweet potato or brown rice. He generally avoids dairy.

Guilty Pleasure:

A large bucket of movie theatre popcorn.

Inspiration:

Entrepreneur and author Gary Vaynerchuk, who “works 24/7 due to his passion for making a difference. His approach to business and to life is ‘no bullshit.’”

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