Real Talk | Tony Nicholson: The Health and Fitness Trainer to CEOs and Athletes in China


Tony Nicholson is one of China’s top health and fitness coaches, counting Apple CEO Tim Cook, US Ambassador Gary Locke, Yao Ming and Pan Shi Yi as clients. We caught up with the coach to the stars to understand how he brings transformational positive change to thousands of Chinese athletes, motivating others to redefine their well-being, live their best lives and achieve their dreams.

personal training and fitness life coach

DM: Dragon Media

TN: Tony Nicholson

DM: What motivates you?

 TN: I always thought competing would propel me forward but what I’ve found over time is that empowering people and giving back starting at a grassroots level has been what drives me. Transforming people from all walks of life has really motivated me.

 Tony 13 years China Bejing Health and Fitness Coach

DM: How many people do you want to help?

 TN: My goal is to help people lose weight with my app. If I could help 100 million people lose 10 kilos, that’s a billion kilos of weight. Achieving that goal means helping a lot of people feel and live better.


DM: How did you begin?

 TN: I wanted to keep it simple and knew that eight-minute workouts would help people without being overwhelming or expensive. I pushed it out to my old university area where people don’t have as much income. And people told me it really helped them. When I started planking with Gary Locke in 2011 people started to watch. We had a big competition with 2400 people. Over the last few years, we’ve grown into offering an app with daily physical workouts, step by step programming to achieve core health, freebies and juicing charts to balance diet and mental health.

 Coaching and Training China's CEOs

DM: How do you push through a bad day?

TN: Bad days are part of life. I find days are difficult when I’m thinking too much. I’m too much in my head. So I’ll meditate and listen to some work by the Dao or I’ll go out and walk and that always helps me reset. I try not to turn to food or unhealthy habits. Walking or meditation help me to find purpose and feel more powerful.

 Life and Health training with CEOs of China

DM: What’s your flow, what are great days like?

TN: You have to be consistent and set yourself up for success. I work out several times per day, I’m patient and persistent – that’s when my greatest ideas come to me. I always keep a journal. If life is living it’s worth recording. Usually, if you’re surrounded by great people they help make it better. For any type of success, we are what we do. If you keep working at it you’ll get there.

 Training for Stars and Film

DM: Tell us about your mentors.

 TN: My dad, teachers at school and my coach Tony Robbins helped learn about life, success, and balance. Going through Robbins different programs changed my life and allowed me to start changing other lives. You start with one person at a time and become a mentor yourself. Another one is Stephen Graham whose works teach about knowing who you are.

 China Corporate Health and Fitness Seminars

DM: What words do you have for aspiring athletes?  

TN: Having healthy rituals and a solid morning routine is essential. I believe gratitude is imperative so doing gratitude rituals and taking a moment to be grateful for your life and journaling that every morning and every night. You gotta ask yourself powerful questions. Don’t ask why. Ask how. How can I feel great? How can I lose weight? A wise question is a question that brings balance. Have energy and persistence that allow you to conquer all things. You need that energy and persistence to overcome all obstacles. Count your blessings and you’ll find health in your life. And it’s important to be nice and kind to people.

For athletes, you’ve got to keep giving. If you help and give enough then you’ll inspire more people around you. There’s no trying – there’s doing or not doing. You have to set an intention, whether it’s to deeply connect with someone, or have a great business meeting. Want more for others than you want for yourself. Hard times are an occasion a good learner will never miss. The only way you learn is through mistakes. Knowing this moment of pain is going to help me.

Interview/ Johanna Hoopes

Editor/ Sylvia Zhang

Photos Courtesy of Tony Nicholson


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Dragon Group Asia

DGA provides integrated marketing solutions for multinational companies in the US and China.

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