UMT Spring Cleaning: Health & Fitness w/ Personal Trainer Charles X. Cook


Mom and I were in Wal-Mart shopping for a few things when we turn the cart into the snack aisle and see this 6 foot only Jesus knows how tall, freckled faced, light-skinned tower of terror that I knew as Charles Cook standing right in front of me!

You see, Charles had been my personal trainer for about a month (at that time) and he knew that I knew better than to have unhealthy items in my shopping cart so clearly, I threw my mother under the bus! (sorry Mom)

He smiled after looking thoroughly through the chips, apples, cans of tuna and brown rice. He looked at me and said ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

My mother and I tried our best to let him know I was still on track and he shook his head as if to say “uh huh! I will see you at The Camp bright and early tomorrow!” The next day, vengeance was his! I regret nothing!

Charles Cook is the type of fitness trainer that doesn’t have to say much to make a statement. His actions say so much! LOUD AND CLEAR!

He wants so much more for his clients than WE do! I say “we” because at The Camp Transformation Center in Pittsburgh, PA (a nationwide franchise by the way) we are all in this together. No one’s condition or weight loss challenge is any different because we all have one goal; GET RIGHT, GET FIT, RIGHT NOW!

The relationship between a trainer and his/her client is intimate and intense. It’s like a barber or a beautician. They know when you’ve been eating the wrong things. They know your secrets. They know when it’s been a minute since you’ve been to see them and they have plenty to say about it. The best part is how you feel when you leave.

I sat down with Charles for a one-on-one and I wasn’t surprised at his responses to my questions about what motivates him and what challenges him. It’s not ego! It’s the result of hard work and dedication that he delivers not only for his clients but for himself.

Check out the interview:

When was it that you decided to become a fitness trainer? In 1996.

What was it about this change in your lifestyle made it so important that you wanted to help others? Why not just keep it to yourself?
What man having a light would hide it under a bushel basket? The industry although I give of myself it also gives back to me. What I give is information, motivation and know- how and what I get in return is the results and it is those results that motivate me.

Is being a fitness instructor/trainer challenging? If so, what part?
It is very challenging, anytime you are trying to get someone to do that which they believe they do not have the ability to do, it is very difficult. And that’s because the weight challenge is not physical but mental.

What part is the most gratifying?
The most gratifying part is getting someone to do what they didn’t believe they could do and seeing their transformation happen, not the physical transformation but the mental transformation.

Tell me about a success story that helped you realize you were doing the right thing.
I have success stories every day and these everyday success stories assures me that I am helping to transform people’s lives and give them a new lease on life. The way people respond to my writing, the way they respond to the exercise card game that I created, the way they respond to the transformation center that I opened, all are signs that I am doing the right thing.

Do you find it hard to get motivated, just as your clients find it hard to get themselves motivated?
No, I do not find it hard to get motivated because my motivation is not built on the client’s motivation but what I see the potential of the client. My motivation is built on the client’s goals, I am here to remind the client of the goals that we set.

The Camp Transformation Center, which is a worldwide franchise, how does your system differ from other fitness businesses?
Our system is different because it is all about results and we create a family environment that is conducive towards achieving these results. The Camp is an all-inclusive plan, where you get training, nutrition, support, supplementation all at one place. What we give that everyone else does not give, is a culture. It is a culture of health and comradery amongst the clients that come there. We are goal driven and we specialize in weight loss.

Usually at the beginning of the New Year, people want to jump back on the treadmill and lose the holiday pounds. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Seems to be a trend that doesn’t end up a successful one for most, correct?
That is very correct! Human beings are result driven, just jumping on the treadmill and doing cardio work will not keep that person in the gym for long. Because it is going to be a slow transition just doing cardio and often time’s people give up because there was never a goal. Just losing a few holiday pounds is not a goal, it is a desire that is void of a plan being attached to it. A person must attach a plan with specified goals to accomplish their desire to lose weight.

What is your secret to a successful, healthy lifestyle? Eating right, exercise, positive reinforcement?
Yes all of those are the secret to a successful lifestyle and in addition to those are setting goals and having a plan to achieve those goals.

What is the biggest misconception about living a healthy lifestyle? (example: you have to eat healthy all the time or you have to exercise every day all day, not setting realistic goals). The biggest misconception is that you have to fit your life into fitness when in actuality your fitness should fit into your life.

You’ve recently published a book. Tell me about it and tell me why you found the need to publish this story?
In this book we are trying to help people and I believe that my story parallels with a lot of youth in America who are now lost, do not have a knowledge of self and do not know what they want to do with themselves.

What’s been the feedback so far?
We have had a very positive feedback. Very few people know me as a writer but I believe my reputation has built up confidence in people who have witnessed some of my positivity, my drive, work ethic and my overall outlook on getting the goals accomplished. I believe this has served as an example that others can take away from my experience that started off without focus, without direction, without guidance, and without self-control. I am using this book as another means of motivation much like I use in my personal training to help people realize their goals and dreams even if they don’t believe it themselves

With all the success you have with The Camp and now the book and speaking engagements, why don’t you move to New York or California and start a celebrity training business? Why stay where you are?
Because I am a celebrity in my own right. It does not take a state, territory or land mass to define who I am. I would be the same In New York, In California as I am in Pittsburgh. God led me to Pittsburgh and it has been a great experience in this state and I am grateful, although I know in the future I will be in other cities as well.

There are many fitness/personal trainers who feel they have the secret to their success. What are some failing techniques that cause most trainers and/or businesses to fail or lose clients?
Most trainers cannot separate training from the business. This causes a lack of professionalism and a lack of business acumen that shortens the span of business. The trainer mentality causes them not to think big enough, their business model is dead and they still attempt to use it. This industry is fast-paced and is fast growing, one of the fastest growing industries in America, you must keep up with the pace. You have to learn how to separate business from training.

This past summer, you started a Fit Camp for Kids. How fulfilling was that for you? Will you be returning the program and how will you do it differently if that’s your goal?
We want to open it up to more children, we had great success with the program. It was a preventative program where we are empowering the youth using nutrition and exercise. This is the nonprofit branch of our business and we are hoping to expand it soon. With the help of the community, we will be able to do more outreach to more underprivileged and impoverished communities.

Do you think training with you is difficult? Yes but not because I want to create difficulty or an obstacle for my client to not make their goal but it is difficult training with me because I have high expectations and I don’t settle for mediocrity.

What was the biggest excuse a client gave you when training them?
A client once told me that they were not good enough to accomplish their goal. Just the thinking of an individual can determine your altitude. It is an excuse when you doubt yourself, it is an excuse when you accept less from yourself, and it is an excuse when you don’t accept greatness as your destiny.

Are you done yet? If not, what else should we expect from Charles Cook?
I am never done until God adds a period at the end of my time. You should expect Book #2 coming out in August of 2018 entitled “Staying Out”. The expansion of the Camp Transformation center in different cities because America is suffering from obesity. I am in the process of releasing my exercise card game Trainer In A DeckResistance which is the next level up from the original exercise card game. I plan to expand our Non-Profit, 1 on 1 fitness. Inc. outreach to more communities. I am also looking forward to my book tour this upcoming summer as well as my motivational speaking tour. The sky is the limit and that is not just a cliché for a dreamer but reality for a doer!

For more on the Camp Transformation Center or find a location closest to you, go to!


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