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Jeff Cavaliere is a strength coach in private practice who served as the New York Mets’ (Major League Baseball) physical therapist from 2006 to 2008.  He has parlayed a childhood fascination with tough guys (e.g. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, “Hulk Hogan”) into a personal credo of sculpted abs and a lean, healthy body.

In addition, Cavaliere owns a Connecticut-based fitness company (Sports Performance Factory LLC), as well as the Ath-LEAN X Training System (you can see my full Athlean Training System Review here).

As a skinny high school kid, Cavaliere took immediately to weightlifting, working out diligently at home to build his body and perform better at sports.

Noticing immediate results, Jeff began a lifelong health and fitness journey that has made him a popular trainer for numerous high profile athletes and others.

Connecting the National Pastime to Better Fitness Habits.

A lifelong Mets fan, Jeff Cavaliere was able to connect with former big leaguer Mark Johnson, who helped him link off-field training and conditioning with on-field performance in the early 2000s.  Johnson would later prove instrumental in helping Jeff secure the head physical therapist job with the Mets.

Jeff’s physical therapy background gives him a leg up on most fitness trainers since it allows him to use biomechanical principles to customize his clients’ programs. He prides himself on being ultra-prepared each time he tests someone out but is flexible enough to adjust to his client’s effort on a particular day.

Cavaliere helped New York Mets slugger David Wright train in the off-season after a disappointing 2009 season.  A rigorous conditioning program plus diet and nutrition improvements should help Wright make a strong comeback.  Thanks to the introduction of “functional” training exercises, Jeff is able to change a professional’s work habits so that a third baseman like Wright can be quicker and more explosive defensively.

The Wall Street Journal’s Mike Sielski provides two concrete examples of Cavaliere’s work with David Wright :

1. Set up boxes of staggered heights around the weight room and have Wright climb them with his hands to mimic pushing movements (Simulate diving, and then getting up to throw).

2. Standing with legs apart and one leg on a raised bench, Wright would be tossed medicine balls over one of his shoulders, forcing him to rotate his trunk at the hip and waist as if he was twisting and turning to chase a pop-up.

Avoiding Common Workout Errors.

In over a decade of professional practice, Jeff has seen his share of training errors at all levels.  Not surprisingly, there are some that get repeated time and time again:

  • Overtraining, making yourself vulnerable to injury.
  • Too much of the “wrong” kind of cardio.
  • Not offering your body and muscles enough variety every few weeks.
  • Lack of proper hydration, pre and post-workout nutrition to keep muscles healthy and working at optimal levels.
  • Lack of single leg exercises, free weight work for upper body.

A Little about Ath-LEAN X.

Cavaliere’s Ath-LEAN X system is aimed at regular folks, non-athletes who still want to have a lean, strong athletic body.  Jeff feels (and I concur) that the big bloated look that is still promoted in some muscle magazines isn’t the physique that appeals to many guys anymore.

Or women, for that matter…

Ath-LEAN X comes in both a gym and home version.  It emphasizes flexibility and function without compromising the strength and muscle gains you would expect from a rigorous exercise program.  So, you get to build meaningful muscle mass, lose body fat, and keep wearing regular-sized clothes!

Cannon’s Conclusion.

Jeff Cavaliere continues to work with pros like David Wright as well as high school and college ballplayers.  While his Big League experience and love of baseball make him the ideal trainer for athletes in this sport, Jeff’s overall knowledge should not be discounted by others.

How his Ath-LEAN X system fares against heavy hitters like P90X in the general marketplace will depend on the type of measurable testimonials he can offer to an often skeptical and jaded public.  The trend these days are programs that increase strength, build muscle and lower body fat in a common time frame.

Can Cavaliere hit a home run with Ath-LEAN X?  I answer the question to that in my full Athlean X review.

Source: Hyson, Sean. “Trainer Interview: Jeff Cavaliere.” http://blog.mensfitness.com/2009/08/trainer-intervier-jeff-cavalie.html, August 10, 2009.


Chris Cannon
Chris Cannon

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