With a litany a fitness studios in New York City it is very difficult, if not impossible, to stick out from the crowd. Tone House takes a different approach to fitness by incorporating elements of real athletic training, like plyometrics, speed work and agility drills into a class setting.

I learned everything I needed to know about the workout by just mentioning to my friends that I was headed there for a workout one evening. Across the board, their eyes got wide and they said something to the tune of “Man, I heard that place is crazy. The workouts make people cry, throw-up or both.”

That being said, I made it through my first session on the turf and afterwards I sat down with the man in charge, Alonzo Wilson, to find out how he makes athletes out of amateurs.

R: Tell us a bit about your background, how did you gain an appreciation for athletic training? 

AW: I lettered in football, basketball, and track in high school, and played collegiately as a defensive lineman for the two-time Division II National Championship-winning football team at GVSU, before moving on to the professional arena. But what really got me into training for a healthy lifestyle was when my mother passed away. She was obese and the doctor said that had she been in a better shape she would have had a better chance to survive. That is what drove me, and still drives me, to want to help people live their best life through athletic training.

R: Can you think of one coach that sticks out in your memory as a mentor? What made him/her stand out? 

AW: I have had a lot of coaches that stand out, but my first was Coach Wheatley. He was my high school Coach and had a way of being tough, but not in a drill Sergeant type of way. I've taken this style of leadership to how we coach our athletes at Tone House. 

R: What kind of qualities make for a good coach or trainer?

AW: Their ability to adapt to the group or individuals they are working with. You have to be able to put yourself in their position to make sure your coming across the right way. 

R: The Tone House approach to fitness is very unique, can you explain how you developed the foundation?

AW: The human body is designed to move as a whole and on multiple planes – similar to how athletes train to stay in peak condition.  Remaining abnormally stationary or staying in one plane while training prevents our bodies from maximizing their full potential – in workouts and in daily life.  Movement training utilizes more muscle groups and expends more energy, resulting in highly effective and efficient training sessions. Tone House challenges individuals to elevate their workouts by consistently incorporating this programming philosophy into each session.

R: Do you think it will change or evolve as you grow? If so, how? 

AW: It has already changed and grown! We now have TH 101 classes, catering to new athletes, and recovery classes to help our athletes train at their peak performance. We have additional brand extensions launching yet this year, which you'll have to wait and see...

R: I’m sure you know the reputation the TH has developed as “The hardest workout you will ever do.” Was that intentional? Do you think it scares people off?

AW: It was not intentional nor do we ever call ourselves that, but that is what people say. There are a lot of reasons why we have this reputation, but one reason is that most workout keep you in your comfort zone. At Tone House we're all about getting you out of your comfort, hence our tagline, "unleash your inner athlete". 

R: One of the things that TH is known for is the warm-up, can you tell us why it’s important to start an intense workout like that?

 AW: For years static stretching was what teams did to warm up, until they found that it actually decreased performance. So now, teams move more dynamically to warm up. The Tone House warm up is a movement analysis that I created to take the team through all of the different planes of motion, from transverse to frontal to sagittal. It allows our Coaches to see what the client might need help on during the workout as well as get the client ready for anything that we have planned. 

R: What does your individual training looks like on a day-to-day basis? How could someone incorporate the TH method into their daily workouts if they didn’t have access to TH?

AW: I take Tone House 5 days a week. If someone doesn't have access to The House I would tell them to go to the gym and do what they hate doing the most first, before they do things they are good at. 

R: Can you offer a few simple pieces of nutritional advice that might help someone looking to get into TH shape?

AW: Eat more protein and fiber each day and watch your carb intake at night.

R: What’s your go-to workout song at the moment?

AW: I Stand Alone by God Smack  and Cut It by O.T. Genesis

A big thank you to Alonzo and the entire team at Tone House for arranging this special sit-down and remember all Rhone customers can use the code ROOKIE to get a 25% discount on Tone House's Rookie Pass. By using the discount code, you will get two TH101 classes at $15/class*. You can book classes here.

*Restrictions: first time clients only, only applicable to TH101 classes, limit of one per person.