Chris Aceto's key to teaching longevity: 'I'm all the time studying'

There are many bodybuilding trainers these days trying to take their athletes to the top. The sport of bodybuilding didn't have many "gurus" before modern times. Chris Aceto is one of those original coaches who is as successful today as he was in his more than two-decade career. He explained to Dennis James on a recent episode of The Menace Podcast that he's still gaining knowledge. He does this by listening to the clients he has worked with.

"I always learn from people I coach," said Aceto. "As a coach, you can never know everything, period."

Some of the clients the Maine man has worked with read like a who's who of bodybuilding. Mr. Olympia winners Jay Cutler and Shawn Rhoden, and 212 Division legends Jose Raymond and Guy Cisternino are among the big names he has guided to the top positions in the sport.

James has asked Chris Aceto what he looks for when he's thinking about taking on a new athlete.

"What I hope about when I work with someone is that they can focus on themselves," he admitted. He preferred that the athlete go along with the plan that is made before the show. "In other words, there's often not a lot of trust in coaches, even if they have a good track record."

When asked about the customers who were easiest to work with, Aceto identified a few names like Eduardo Correa, Mike Francois, and Cutler, who Aceto is still keeping pace with today, nearly 10 years after Cutler's last competition.

"Jay is the best," he said proudly. "What I'm proud of about Jay is that he's still a mentor to people. Someone could do the Nationals and come second. They're nobody, they come in second place and in fact they're meeting Jay. Jay spends some time with them and speaks of encouragement to Jay.”

With the kind of track record that Chris Aceto has, his services are obviously still in high demand, and he works with clients and athletes around the world. At one time he had up to 30 clients a year. That means replying to texts and messages from people in different time zones. Despite his deep dedication to the sport of bodybuilding, he recognizes that nothing lasts forever.

"You know, I'm pulling it down, I'm sure of it," he said to James. "People keep asking me 'how long?' and I'm like, 'I'm going down.'"

Aceto and James cover a lot in this hour-long interview, including catching up on family time during the pandemic, coaching today versus when his career started, and the differences in conditioning over the years. Watch all episodes of TMP by subscribing to the Muscle & Fitness YouTube channel.

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