Andrew Sung had tried multiple training programs, but nothing seemed to help him reach his fitness goals. When he found personal trainer and competitive bodybuilder Aaron Seaton, that all changed.
“Andrew came to me with a defeated outlook,” says Seaton, a multicertified NASM trainer. Still, “he was highly motivated; just unsure how to put the pieces together.”
Having an ectomorphic body type, Andrew struggled to gain weight and frequently lost any lean muscle mass he managed to build. His progress was often thwarted by inadequate programming and long hours spent at his desk job in the tech industry.
But Andrew’s drive, combined with Seaton’s expertise and dedication, catalyzed success.
Short-Term Goals for Long-Term Gains
With a long history of fitness struggles behind him, Andrew had difficulty envisioning his desired outcome. Seaton—known for blending physical training with mindful practices—knew that starting small and overcoming mental hurdles was top priority.
“I always try my best to instill a bit of a mindset shift [in] new clients,” he says. “I have them identify how this will benefit them on a ‘day-to-day’ level and allow the mental capacity to be their compass.”
With this in mind, Seaton developed a program to reset Andrew’s metabolism and increase his muscular endurance with dense calories and maximal muscular stimuli.
“The training was progressive: Maximize flexibility and range of motion while increasing tension through a combination of dynamic, functional and foundational moves,” he says.
By keeping Andrew focused on improving his daily workouts and exercise form, Seaton grounded him in the process without overemphasizing the outcome.
“My goal was to show him how, along this journey, he was having ‘small wins’ and how they ultimately would make huge impacts,” says Seaton.
It was the right plan. Within 30 days of starting, Andrew reached 100% adherence and was seeing gradual gains.
Going the Extra Mile
While Andrew’s commitment to the program was unwavering, frequent work travel tested his adherence—and Seaton’s training approach.
With limited in-person training sessions, Seaton used his company’s mobile app to keep Andrew on track from a distance. Trainer and client communicated daily, and Seaton provided clear, detailed instruction about Andrew’s on-the-go workouts and challenges.
“I was still able to coach him effectively until he and I were able to train face-to-face,” Seaton explains. “It was as if I was there with him.”
It’s been roughly a year since Andrew began his journey, and he has increased his lean muscle mass by 8%!
Andrew’s training has also taught Seaton to be adaptable and find creative solutions for client challenges. “I was able to define my training with the word ‘scalability,’ and [I’ve learned to coach] clients more effectively on how to pivot their fitness in a situation where they [seem to] have no means to do so,” he says.
To personal trainers facing similar struggles, Seaton suggests keeping process and small wins at the forefront. “Reinforce the journey and manage expectations,” he says. “Measure success by highlighting ‘wins,’ and reinforce best practices to move toward the bigger goal.”
And, of course, always stress the value of commitment to a program.
“Andrew is a perfect case study for what happens when you trust the system,” says Seaton. “He continues to make progress, and I’m excited to see the finished product!”
What’s Your Story?
Do you have a client who has overcome the odds to achieve new heights in health and fitness?
Send your story to [email protected], and you and your client may be featured in an upcoming issue of Fitness Journal.
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