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“Cultivate a listening ear, and use details to let people know you are paying attention.” with Phil Catudal and Chaya Weiner

Be nice — Smile, ask and use names, and mean it. People want to feel cared for. Cultivate a listening ear, and use details to let people know you are paying attention. Selfishness never made anyone happy. I had the pleasure of interviewing Phil Catudal, Celebrity Trainer, Food Guru & Author. Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, […]


Be nice — Smile, ask and use names, and mean it. People want to feel cared for. Cultivate a listening ear, and use details to let people know you are paying attention. Selfishness never made anyone happy.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Phil Catudal, Celebrity Trainer, Food Guru & Author. Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Phil is a globe-trotting, food and language loving, serial entrepreneur. He is a Cancer survivor; a top MBA degree Honor’s graduate; a NASM-CPT Hollywood Celebrity Trainer; and, most important of all to him, a proud father of three. Phil thrives on fitness, a lifestyle he learned from his loving and super-fit parents, his fellow Celebrity Trainer brother, Dave Catudal, and especially after a 5 year battle with cancer where he learned first hand how scary a frail body can be. After defeating childhood Leukemia at age 8, Phil soon after lost his father to cancer only 4 years later. That sparked an insatiable appetite to be as healthy, educated, and happy as possible– characteristics that all the Catudal family members embody to this day. While in business school, Phil combined his passion for health along with his business skills and opened Zoned Nutrition, an online supplement retailer. Realizing that he needed to be in the heart of the industry, Phil relocated to Los Angeles in 2014 in order to grow his business and expand his training clientele. He was an immediate hit in the LA scene, being referred by top Hollywood managers, agents, and casting directors to their own celebrity clients. In 2015, Phil also co-founded Tranzend Health, a wellness supplement company dedicated to stress management and optimal performance.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

My backstory is one that was there all along, no matter how many different attempts I had at “other” jobs (Even the ones I was great at!) With 3 cancer cases, starting with my own, in my family, health has always been a constant in my life. I started training myself for bodybuilding and as a part time job both at 16. Certification by certification, course by course, I climbed to the level I am at today. Even after an MBA, 2 startups, and other work, I have always loved working with people to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. It is my true passion. Now TrainedByPhil.com as a brand, and me, Phil Catudal, as an author and fitness expert, are really spreading.

Can you share the interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Especially in a world as personal as training and wellness, mine is a career full of fun stories and personal connections. I have been able to work with many celebrities. My first “star” came by way of knowing her hair dresser. Another famous person, I started working with through a mutual friend. And so on and so forth. But, my favorite was randomly meeting a woman at a smoothie bar, talking shop and health, and then her saying “my friend” would love you. Turns out her friend was Van Jones. Although I have met/worked with many film stars, Van has long been a human, intellectual, and political role model for me. Meeting him, again, from a chance meeting in a smoothie bar, has led to an ongoing personal friendship and getting to personally know a man I did, and still do, look up to. WORK HARD AND BE NICE TO PEOPLE. My motto to follow. You just never, ever know what it will bring when you take time to chat with people, listen, care, and share.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Thank goodness I’ve never injured anyone or have any bad stories, but as an early starter in training, I was definitely guilty of not knowing my audience. 10 years ago, being a super healthy guy in my early 20s, and I was giving working moms and dads with jobs crazy unrealistic diets and plans. None come to mind in particular, but now being a dad of 3, working, and running a business, to think how tough the regimens I gave people were… man, I would have laughed in my own face!

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?

I just released Just Your Type — available everywhere books are sold — in May, 2019. It’s the crowning achievement of my career so far. A book teaching my methods for all to read and learn for themselves how to understand their bodies. Currently, I am working on some TV, and other media adaptation of the book and my brand and health methods. 2019 is planning and 2020 will be huge!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My book took 1.5 years of constant work. The obvious, book-mentioned thank yous are my co-author, my editor, my agent, and publishers. Again, thanks guys. But in here I want to mention three of my celebrity clients. Steve Howey, of Shameless, Reba, and movie fame, was like a brother to me. He transformed his body like crazy with me and endorsed the book, let me use quotes, images, etc… His wife, actress, model, super mom Sarah Shahi, also let me use her stories, image, and quotes. And Van Jones gave me a pitch quote that I am sure is WHY my publishers picked the book up. Even with all the other help, friends, family, and work, I don’t think I would have ever got the book deal to start with without help from these amazingly talented and busy humans who took time from their lives to help me.

Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that will help people feel great?

Be nice — Smile, ask and use names, and mean it. People want to feel cared for. Cultivate a listening ear, and use details to let people know you are paying attention. Selfishness never made anyone happy.

Work hard, play hard — There is no substitute for hard work. Work, learn, read, repeat. Always be expanding, pondering, and moving. When your body and intuition say they’re done, play hard. Pause and recharge. You’ll never go the distance and a half tank.

Give more than you get — Share the wealth. Your knowledge, time, money, and self. The more open and giving you are, the more opportunities will knock. Never stop this circle, just keep climbing up and sharing moe.

Is there a particular book that made an impact on you? Can you share a story?

The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho. I’ve read it in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. I love it every time. Finding that personal legend, that treasure, your passion and meaning. Between The Alchemist and The Little Prince, my two favorite books, you’d be hard pressed to find any life lessons not contained therein. The values of goodness, integrity, hard work, and creativity. Of striving for a better you and a better world for all. Simple, yet so complex. I absolutely love and feel it to the core.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I care deeply about the cause of homeless and am looking to start a non profit in Los Angeles connecting health, wellness, life skills, and people together through various city departments and myself leading a team. I think that in a modern, globalized world, we are entering a new phase of existence. Billions of unloved, disconnected humans worldwide. Connected by tech. Disconnect in out humanity. So many homeless people lost, forgotten. At home and abroad. On a “large” scale I want to stat a movement of staying connected on a human level. I want to make that tangible by starting in LA. Healthy movement and nutrition can MASSIVELY help anxiety, depression, and addiction, which are leading causes of homelessness. We can start by loving and caring for the lowest of the low. IMAGINE, no family. No home. No security. I cannot think of anything more sad than those destitute and lonely. Whether “they’re own fault” or not, as some would judge. I do not know, or frankly care. Everyone deserves to be treated like a human being.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I have shared and continue to share my knowledge with many, but I specifically have helped cancer patients recently. I was recently featured on CancerHealth and am engaging more and more, as a survivor and first hand witness in my family both, to help patients in all stages learn more about exercise and nutrition to help strengthen them in all the phases of treatment.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing. Not life. Not health. Not a signed purchase order. Not a promise. Not an IOU. Nothing. Make your projections, make your plans, just know they will be wrong. Hahahah. The story? All of life. Make the best of it, keep going.

People will betray you — it sucks. Some flake. Some forget. Some are jealous. Few, but some, are genuinely vindictive. Be nice and work hard anyways. It isn’t worth your time to slow down.

Marketing is hard. I’ve started 2 companies. Both had backing. Both did well for a time. One I sold. That said.. In both realms, I lacked marketing skills. We had a superior product and service.. We lost to brands with either more $$$ marketing, or genius guerilla viral market campaigns. Marketing and branding are huge in a social media world.

Work life balance is peaks and valleys, not a line. Especially if you have family. Risks are scary. Time in means time lost. Tears happen. Sweat. Blood. The “median” balance may look level, but it’s made of millions of little ups and downs. COMMUNICATE with your spouse/partner/kids and always be clear on what you can give and take. Take turns. Don’t be selfish, don’t shut down. No one succeeds alone, so give all your love and gratitude to those who help. I’d be nowhere without the support of my wife and kids.

Sleep more. I suck at this. Still do. I am tired. I burn out. Then I rest for a whole week. But then I do it again.. Someone please HELP ME learn this lesson I am giving you (I do the 4 above quite well) but my brain is too active. I am working on it though, meditation, tricks, all of it. But, ya.. It’s life- changing how easy the SAME day can feel rested vs unrested.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?

I can’t ever say it enough. Redundant? You betcha. WORK HARD AND BE NICE TO PEOPLE. It’s on my wall. It’s never coming off.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Tim Ferris, Dave Asprey, Tony Robbins, Joe Rogan, Jillian Michaels, Lori Greiner, Jimmy Fallon. Hey, why not!? Guys and gals I look up to for all different reasons.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

@TrainedByPhil everywhere. MOST active on Instagram.. But I will see Facebook and Twitter, I just need to be better at posting. TrainedByPhil.com as my home site to see me and clients!

Thank you for all these great insights!

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