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We love to spotlight our trainers who make massive differences in our members’ lives, day in and day out. Terrell Gillespie is one of them. A native New Yorker (Roslyn, Long Island), Terrell has a unique approach to his personal workouts and the way he trains his clients, too. We hit Terrell up for an interview to showcase his talents. Check it out below.

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Personal Trainer Spotlight: Getting to Know Terrell Gillespie

Personal Trainer Spotlight

Five Fast Facts

We asked Terrell to give us five facts about him to kick this interview off. Here’s what he had to say.

  1. I get up every single morning at 3 AM. No alarm clock necessary – I wake up to the alarm clock in my head.
  2. I’m extremely energetic in the morning. I drink my coffee black – no sugar and no milk.
  3. I love to dance. For a big guy, weighing 211 lbs, it’s unusual but I do. I love music and love to stay active. At one point, I taught kids and have started to teach kids again through fitness.
  4. I’m an NPC competitor right now. I’m into men’s physique. My first competition is in October.
  5. I’m obsessed with blueberries.

Terrell’s Backstory

Personal fitness

I got into personal training about 2 ½ to 3 years ago and am NCSF certified I started out working for a very prestigious company. It was a great gym, but after working there for awhile, I noticed I wasn’t very happy with what I was doing. Not so much about what I was being told to do, but the marketing aspect and thing related to that. It seemed more for the company than for my clients.

So, I was feeling unhappy with my situation at that time. I came to CompleteBody and talked to my current boss. I explained my training background, and that I’d been lifting for awhile – I’m a sports guy, this is what I do! He hired me for the front desk, and that’s how I got started here. This is the best experience I’ve had so far. I’m actually physically better now than I’ve ever been because of coworkers, and working with people at the 19th Street location as well as 10 Hanover/Financial District. I’m in the best shape of my life. Even trainers need trainers. It’s not about the price – it’s about what you’re trying to achieve.

As far as my background goes, I worked my way up to where I am today. I played sports, I was in the military for a short time, and my father taught me Kung Fu growing up. I did these things, I progressed, and I grew. Because of that, I was always into fitness and had the body for it, and I retained that knowledge and really wanted to help people with their movement and help people get stronger.

Fitness Regimen – How Terrell Works Out

Q. What’s your personal fitness regimen?

A. I am huge on real life and the real world. Real life means I have to be able to do calisthenics and push my own body weight. That comes first and foremost. As we get older, we need to be able to propel ourselves and push our own body weight around without the use of a cane. So I’m huge on calisthenics.

I always do calisthenics before I do anything else. Then I do strength training – I have a huge chest and I always do my free weights and barbells. And then I run after, especially now that I’m competing in men’s physique.

I’m also big on movement – how to properly squat, how to push your body weight, etc.

Q. How do you approach your workouts?

A. For me and my clients, I find out what we can improve on and focus on that. Sometimes we have to take baby steps to get our structure straight. Let’s say a client can’t squat properly yet. We start from the base and go to the top. My theory is power comes from your feet to your hips to your hands. If you can’t squat, you can’t deadlift or properly push things. That’s the ability to push.

That’s why I’m heavy on movement: how to push weight and how to pull weight.

If a client is having a problem with motivation, and tells me that they’re not sure they can do it, I tell them: “Yes, you can. You’re here because at some point, you decided you want to do this. Now, it’s hard, yes. If it was easy, everybody would do it. So now that you’re here, I’m going to do it with you.

I work out with my clients. I will sit there, and I will do push-ups with them and I will stay there until they get up – until they are able to push themselves. You’ll NEVER catch me sitting down. And, you’ll never catch me with my hands folded in my lap. You’ll always catch me there, assisting my clients to the best of my ability.

Workout Jams

Workout Jams

Q. What’s on your workout playlist?

A. I have TWO workout playlists. When I’m getting really intense, I put on Metallica. I love Metallica. I also put on a little bit of DMX in there. And when I’m cooling down, I may put on something very relaxing… maybe some house music. Something nice and tranquil.

Nutrition – Food & Supplements

Q. Talk to us about food and supplements.

You know, it’s funny. A lot of people – when they see me – they think I’m on steroids or might ask about it. It’s definitely not true.

It was only recently that I even tried creatine or supplements to help me get bigger and put on some more mass. But I’ve never done that stuff before. I do a pre-workout right now and I always go to Eva’s Kitchen. That’s my number 1 go to spot. I recommend to everyone to go there; that’s where I go for all my supplements.

I’m not heavy on supplements, though. I’m naturally a big guy and my family’s full of big people. So, I’m big on healthy eating. I eat my greens, reds, and yellows, too. Nature color codes food for us. That’s what I believe. Those color coded foods suit your diet and what you’re trying to accomplish.
There’s more protein in spirulina and kale than there is in a steak.

Thoughts on Gyms and Advice for Newbies

Q. Why should people bother coming to a gym to workout?

A. Do it for you because you love yourself and you want to be better for your own sake. And, possibly for the sake of people that you love. You want to stay strong and confident, and prepared for life events. You’ll feel better.

As for working out at home vs in the gym, the gym is where you need to be. Home is where you eat, and home is where the family is. You go to the gym and you’re like a warrior. You put on your gym clothes, and that’s your armor. Then you put on your music, and you go. You’re like a warrior. You’re out there and you’re fighting. Killing the fat, literally. You’re killing that bad argument you just got in, or you’re killing that bad meeting you just got out of. You’re killing all that negativity and you’re turning it into a positive.

Q. What advice do you have for people just starting out?

Keep it simple. If you’re trying to get mass, then treadmills are not for you, for example. Push your own body weight first. Learn the basics – how to squat, how to deadlift, how to bench press, and always be able to pull your own body weight. Even if you don’t go heavy, those are the basics for beginners. Movement – be able to move.

If you’re trying to lose weight, know it’s going to be a hard road depending on who you are, but there are always people like me who are here to help. You can be a warrior. Kill the fat.

Thank you, Terrell! If you have any questions for Terrell, feel free to leave a comment here or connect with him at terrell.p.gillespie@gmail.com  IG:@trexflexnyc

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  1. Reply

    It is interesting to read about these personal trainer’s work ethics and habits. Just like it says about Terrell, there is no way that I could get up every mining at 3 AM without an alarm. I think that what he said about being able to do calisthenics and being able to push your own body weight around is really important. Lately because of my job, I have not been able to work out as much as I would like to. I will look into getting a personal trainer for a little bit. Thanks again!

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