Arnold Aninion has trained the likes of Celeste Cortesi, Kylie Verzosa, Liza Soberano, Erwan Heussaff, Bretman Rock, and more. Now, he tells MEGA Active how he does it
With a history in rugby, bodybuilding, and even Survivor Philippines, celebrity coach Arnold Aninion epitomizes what fitness is to many. As such, it is no surprise that plenty of people line up to join his famed #ARNOLDSARMY, but where did Coach Arnold get his inspiration to start this career?
In an exclusive interview with MEGA Active, Coach Arnold said he grew up idolizing the physique of superheroes and action stars. “As a young boy, I have always had a strong affinity for superheroes and their extraordinary physique and strength. I watched cartoons of heroes like Superman and He-Man, and when my father first introduced me to Arnold Schwarzenegger, I was hooked,” he shared.
Coach Arnold spoke more of the action star, saying he watched all of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s films as a teenager and, as a result, he was fascinated by his size and the respect he garnered from it. “And in his films, I saw the immense power and respect he commanded, so I wanted to emulate this myself. Thus began my curiosity into turning my own body into a temple of strength that would one day command the same kind of respect no matter what I did. Be it in sports or entertainment—I just wanted to be noticed and respected. This began my career in sports and weightlifting,” he said.
At this point in his career, it can be said that he achieved his goal of getting noticed and being respected. So, we asked him what continues to motivate him to train others and create content. His answer? He stays for his passion and desire to preserve the old-school mentality.
“I have always enjoyed sharing my own knowledge and experiences with all those I encounter in the fitness industry. Even more so with my clients as I see them almost as my own children. I am happy to admit that I have a talkative nature and I just can’t help being passionate about creating content. And I come from a different time, an era where fitness was once new and it’s changed so much. So I’m here to preserve that old-school mentality. In some small way, it’s my duty to carry the torch and keep it alight for this new breed of athletes,” Coach Arnold explained.
With that, we learned more about Coach Arnold’s approach to training new clients, whether they’re celebrities or not. To be precise, he said there’s never just one approach for training a client as each and every one of them has different needs. Of this matter, he said, “Celebrity or not, the only thing they will share in common is that they have to turn up to train and they have to follow a diet plan.”
In terms of strategies, Coach Arnold said he normally starts with an assessment meeting that’s made up of key questions to determine the client’s strengths. This meeting is also meant to identify their areas of improvement in building a lifestyle that best supports their fitness goals and day-to-day work. “As for celebrities, they tend to have short-term goals that require immediate results as they may have a shoot coming up or a movie in the pipeline, so the work—or training program—is just as intense, but on a tighter schedule,” he added.
Notably, Coach Arnold also encounters difficult or de-motivated clients. “Whether it’s at the beginning, middle, or nearing the end, it’s not uncommon to experience [demotivation] from time to time,” he explained. When faced with clients who seem to be struggling to continue, Coach Arnold said he always reminds them why they started this training program and encourages them to stick with it. “Every goal [starts] with a master plan, and in that master plan is the vision of who we are about to become. These careful reminders really help each individual to focus. Something I always say is ‘If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail,’” he added.
It can’t be said that Coach Arnold doesn’t practice what he preaches as he takes a diligent and stringent approach when it comes to his own fitness. “I always believe that you can’t give what you don’t have, so I make it a point to practice what I preach and stay in top shape and eat a balanced diet,” he shared. And as someone who has been in the business of fitness for many years, Coach Arnold has plenty of wisdom to share with those looking for help.
“As far as nutrition goes, I eat a healthy split of macros with the majority of it being made up of protein. I eat for performance so I choose only nutritionally dense foods, like oats, sweet potatoes, red yams, broccoli, chicken, fish, and occasionally, red meat,” Coach Arnold explained. He further shared that he believes being a member of a good gym with a wide array of equipment is essential as well. But if he were to be restricted to just home workouts, he says the best equipment to have are free weights, like dumbbells and barbells, and an adjustable bench. “So much can be achieved with just dumbbells, barbells, and a bench,” he added.
“For all those that live a sedentary lifestyle and [are] looking to finally kick start their journey, my words of encouragement are that there is no promise of tomorrow. Take yourself to your absolute limit and be amazed at what your mind and body can achieve, and the wonders they can accomplish,” Coach Arnold said.
On that note, Coach Arnold also shared what he believes is the most significant lesson he learned from his whole career.
“I have learned so much in the last decade of training. I’ve experienced some incredible events and trained some of the most exceptional and wonderful people I will ever meet. If there is anything I can take from all of this, it is to make it count. Whether you’re choosing to start your journey into fitness or finally reach a goal you’ve always wanted to do—make it count and do it with everything you’ve got. For every client I’ve ever trained, I made it my personal goal to reach their maximum potential and make them their absolute best with whatever we had at the time and that there was always room for more.”
Photos from ARNOLD ANINION (via Instagram)