Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
My name is Tony DiNinno, I am 52 years old and I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I have been training for 39 years. I am 5’7″ and weigh 200lbs. I train at a variety of gyms which is fun. I work full time as a quality manager at Asbury Graphite Mills in Kittanning, PA.
I have done numerous bodybuilding competitions at a young age since high school and different NPC bodybuilding competitions. Some wins and some losses but always competed to have fun and better myself from the last show.
My father Dominic Di Ninno, God rest his soul, taught me the value of working hard growing up, and I was fortunate enough to have mentors in bodybuilding in the ’80s to teach me the value of hard work and old-school training.
Later on, I had an opportunity to get into fitness modeling and some acting and TV and cast as an inmate in Ben Stiller’s Showtime series, “Escape at Dannemora”.
Describe a typical day of training
My typical day starts at 4 a.m. in which I do some form of fasted cardio on the treadmill or bike or stepmill. This can range from 45 minutes to an hour depending on time. Cardio is a big part of my workout programs and has helped to keep me on my schedule.
After work, I train Monday to Saturday, typically over an hour, two body parts a week, six days a week, and take one day off. Chest/Biceps Legs/ Back/Calves Shoulder/ Triceps/Abs. I train very heavy but also incorporate some sets to failure. I also use volume in my training and drop sets. I feel mind and muscle connection is also very important in your training.
During pre-contest, I write everything down and I incorporate more volume, and more reps, and more cardio depending on my progress week to week. I also adjust my diet accordingly as the show gets closer and spend a lot of time posing.
I usually train alone but on occasion have had a partner. Some of my favorite exercise are the basics squat, deadlift, bench press, shoulder press, and bent over rows.
How do you keep going and push harder?
I love working out, you have to enjoy it. Your body can do some amazing things with the right program and change. It’s just a matter of how consistent you are, and have the drive to make that change. It’s also a great stress reliever and therapeutic.
Once you start any kind of exercise program, it can be addicting and motivating when you see the results of your hard work. I have found having a plan and set routine is important to stay on point with my training. I know each day I spend at the gym I am there to better myself and improve.
Over the years, I have learned so much from bodybuilding and I am still learning, which makes it fun. I like to share this with my clients as well.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
My last competitions were in 2017 in which I changed a lot of things that I did in the past to achieve my best condition. Then after the shows, I branched out into acting and modeling after shooting a fitness video. It’s on my YouTube channel at DiNinnos Fitness. I enjoy doing other things besides bodybuilding to keep well rounded and get to enjoy life a little more aside from competing.
Bodybuilding is a 24-hour thing but it’s very important to have some down time and work-life balance. I might at some point try a classic physique competition. It’s a goal. I enjoy training and helping people with personnel training and coaching to help achieve their goals.
How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I have had numerous injuries throughout my lifetime. Two of the worse were a broken sternum and a torn bicep tendon. Both of those injuries took a very long time to heal. I did cardio on a bike and trained my legs with both injuries very light until I was able to bounce back and get cleared from the doctors.
Recovery is a big aspect of bodybuilding and being older it does take longer for me. I have found with proper nutrition and rest it helps with my recovery. I always do warm up sets and stretch to prevent injuries. I have used deep tissue massage and foam rolling also.
Also, if you get injured and feel any pain, stop and don’t try to push through a workout because it will make the injury worse. Stop and rest and take the time to heal properly.
How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
For me it’s a lifestyle and not really a diet. I am consistent with my meals, which are protein and carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats. Over the years with different preps for shows, I have found what foods work best for me. The big thing for me was not eating enough and not starving myself. Also, to include some salt in my diet and enough water.
I use some supplements occasionally such as a whey protein powder from American Made Nutrition and multivitamin but stick mostly with clean whole food. I am a big fan of bison because it’s very lean and taste incredible. I have all my food prepped for the week so I am prepared and stay on track with my eating. If you prepare you have a less tendency to fail.
I will have a cheat meal but will not overindulge. It’s usually a cheese burger. Portion size is also something I watch to stay on track. Once you have a set agenda and program, it does get easier to stay on track with your diet and eating. If the food tastes good and cooked right, you will eat it.
What has inspired and motivated you?
For me there is nothing like putting in a hard workout after a stressful day. Inspiration happens when you change and transform your body. The self-confidence it can create and self-pride has kept me motivated throughout the years.
Bodybuilding has carried over into so many different aspects of my life and has made me who I am: A stronger person mentally and physically. The gym is a place where you can go and have that time alone to focus on you and improve. If you apply yourself to a set routine and goal you can achieve anything.
There have been so many times that I have had to refocus and start over and rebuild myself physically, mentally, preparing for a competition or life in general. Working out has always helped me succeed and overcome the obstacles. That to me is winning.
Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
The advice I would provide is set yourself up for success by mapping out a plan. Progress takes time and it’s a matter of putting the work in and understanding there is no short cuts or magic pill.
You have to be consistent with your workouts and diet. It’s never too late to change your body and life. Once you’re on a workout program and start to feel better and hit your goals, it changes the person you are. All you have to do is try because if you don’t try you will never know what could happen.
The worse thing that could happen is that you fail but learn from it and move forward and improve. You get one shot in life so you have to take the opportunity while you can.
Are you taking on clients right now?
I am taking on some clients currently. You can contact me at [email protected] for more information like mapping out a plan and discussing nutrition.
I also teach my clients how to train so they don’t have to rely on a trainer. The goal is they learn and are able to work out by themselves and improve. This has made a huge difference in their life and have confidence to go to the gym.
We work as a team and create the body they always wanted and there is no high pressure. Just putting the work in and feel satisfied that they are making progress.