We’d all like to put on muscle mass as easily as our favourite actors. But it’s not easy for them, either. They just have access to killer trainers. We spoke to one such trainer – Jono Castano – to ask him how we too, can bulk like a pro. Plus: his top tip for breaking through a plateau.


Have you ever wondered why celebrities hit their body transformation goals, and you don’t? You’re not alone. Between writing articles about fitness motivation gurus coming to Australia, heart rate specific training and why there’s never an excuse, really, to skip a workout, we tend to spend the rest of our time crying in a corner, wondering why we don’t look like Chris Hemsworth or Chris Pratt (or trying to grow our beards and hair like them).

So for that reason, we jumped at the chance to interview Jono Castano, the founder or Acero, prior to a training session where we were made to work out (somewhat) like Navy SEALS (spoiler: I didn’t look much like a Navy SEAL). When I asked him what the main difference was between training celebrities and ‘normal’ people, his answer went a way to explaining why they hit their goals more often than us.

Mr Castano said it’s not that celebrities are built different to everyday folks, they just do things differently. Very differently. He said: “I think training celebrities, for example, something like this – The Terminal List – and things that Chris Pratt had to train for, he had an insane training regime so I think a lot of these celebrities, they have a goal in mind, whether they want to get fit for a role or doing these crazy stunts or whatever it is, and they come with those serious goals.”

Chris Pratt in The Terminal List. Image Credit: Amazon

The general population tend to be less specific in their goals, which often means they are harder to aim at, Mr Castano says: “In terms of the general population we focus more on weight loss or aesthetics or even just moving more.”

He added: “In terms of, say, a celebrity trying to put on muscle for a role, they’ve got exact calories – you have to be at a surplus – a strong training regime, recovery; a whole program built. At Acero they [Mr Castano’s clients] do the same, but we work 9-5 as well; we can’t dedicate as much time as a movie star.”

“They wake up, they train, they eat they recover. Us: we wake up, we go to work, we train; it takes a toll.”

Jono Castano

If you’re stuck for putting on muscle mass, Mr Castano says his best advice for breaking through a plateau is “be open to new training – a lot of us focus on the same program for a whole year, with no new load that you’re adapting to your workout.”

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“If I do want to break through a plateau, I’m going to slow the motions down, I’m going to increase the weight, I’m going to add quarter reps and add new exercises. Try new things; yoga, whatever it is.”

Jono Castano

How slow should you go? Jono calls it “time under tension,” and advocated “a nice 4-2-2. Four down, two hold, two up. If you’re doing that with a good amount of volume, the burn is going to be insane.”

There you have it. Now get burning.

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