Rebel Wilson's trainer Jono Castano reveals the secret to transforming your body

Marni Dixit
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·9-min read

In January, Rebel Wilson revealed that 2020 would be her "year of health" and later shared that her goal weight was 75kg, and she's had one man by her side helping her get there ever since – Aussie celeb personal trainer Jono Castano.

The former soccer star is founder of the Acero Training Series and has been helping celebs like Rebel, The Veronicas, Laura Dundovic, Jessica Mauboy, Lincoln Lewis, Hugh Sheridan and more achieve their body goals for years.

Jono Castano and Rebel Wilson pose for a photo together
Rebel Wilson has used personal trainer Jono Castano to help her achieve her body transformation goal this year. Photo: Instagram/JonoCastanoAcero

In fact, if it hadn't been for the coronavirus pandemic, he'd likely be in the US right now working with some of Hollywood's biggest stars.

Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle, Jono explained that he got started training high profile people by sliding into people's Instagram DM's.

"I've actually been lucky enough to work with a large pool of celebrities... I guess now, it's all word of mouth and it a lot of it comes through social media as well. But when I first started out it was me kind of reaching out and sliding into people's DMs and really trying to push to work with those type of people," he said.

"And obviously results speak so much, when you get someone amazing results – you know, we talk about Rebel – a lot of people see that and they see the quality of work.

"When people train with me, it's about training and getting results, it's not there for me to be on my phone and muck around. People come to Acero to get results and that's what I love."

Jono also sang the praises of his celeb clientele, saying, "They're all amazing people and they're all killing it in life and killing it in what they do, because obviously they're all hard workers. And I really vibe off that and I really love seeing that as well and I love getting that energy from them as well."

Rebel Wilson boxing
Rebel has been training with Jono for the last year and is rumoured to have lost around 18kg so far. Photo: Instagram/Rebel Wilson

It's not just celebrities that Jono works with, however, with the trainer estimating he works with around 70 clients a week and doing 15 training sessions most days. Oh, and he works seven days a week – now that's commitment.

When it comes to big body transformations, Jono has worked with all shapes and sizes, getting his clients to where they want to be and ultimately transforming their lives.

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"If someone comes in [wanting a transformation], the first thing is, we need to really understand where they're at. So, what I mean by that, is we need to find out their weight, body fat, muscle mass.

"Because what tends to happen as well is that a lot of people weigh themselves and they don't understand why they're not losing weight, because they're putting on muscle, and then they're looking better.

"So, then that's why I love to give them that kind of structure and we take before photos and every week we add to the photos, so we understand what's happening and where we're getting results."

Nutrition is the key

Lincoln Lewis before and after body transformation
Jono helped Lincoln Lewis transform for the cover of Men's Health magazine. Photo: Instagram/JonoCastanoAcero

When it comes to getting results, Jono says it really depends on the client and whether they have any limitations such as injuries, but added that high intensity training is what you'll likely be after to burn the most calories.

"In terms of weight loss, we talk about that high intensity, looking at getting to around that 130 beats per minutes and then trying to burn as many calories as we can with movements that aren't going to hurt you, so that's definitely the best when it comes to weight loss."

Jono regularly suggests to his followers that 45 minutes of activity every day is what they should be aiming for.

However, he added that your nutrition and understanding your basal metabolic rate (BMR), your total calorie expenditure throughout the day and how many calories you consume is going to be the key to getting any kind of body transformation.

"Nutrition is definitely a key factor, you need to be at that deficit. So, deficit is basically eating less than your total expenditure."

"Your BMR, which is how many calories you're burning from just thinking, being alive at your age, your height and your weight. And then you add in your workout, which could be say, for example, 500 [calories], which takes you to 2,200 [calories burned] for the day and then if you're only intaking 1,400 calories, then you'll obviously be at that 800 [calorie] deficit."

But be aware, a deficit of 800 calories is quite large, you may prefer to be in a deficit of around 300 to 500 calories for more sustainable fat loss.

Jono added, "I'd probably say my number one tip that I say to all my clients is: eat to be satisfied, not full. With a lot of people, they tend to overeat and they get confused with being thirsty instead of hungry.

"We need to intake three to four litres of water a day. A lot of people think, 'Oh, I'm hungry', because they're dehydrated, so those two tips would be the key."

He added you're allowed to have treats while transforming your body, however, they still need to fit in with your calorie goals.

"You can't out-train a poor diet and you can't let the weekend derail your fitness goals. It's a key mistake that a lot of people make. They get to the weekend and everything goes down the drain and then basically Monday to Friday, all the hard work that they did is gone.

"I'm all about balance, so with me, if you're going to have one drink, whatever it is, a chocolate, that's totally fine as long as it fits into your calorie count."

The training side is, of course, very important when it comes to changing the way your body looks, and Jono recommends training five days a week to achieve a transformation like Rebel's.

Jono Castano and Rebel Wilson play tennis
Jono says that you don't have to go hard out every training session, a game of tennis with a friend would be great for active recovery. Photo: Supplied

"I always think of it as the more you do the better, but don't over do it. So, for any type of transformation I'd definitely recommend five times a week, with two days of recovery if possible.

"But recovery is, you know, you're focusing on your stretching, getting a massage, or decreasing the load of the exercises, so, for example, going for a walk. Not every training session needs to be one hundred per cent, as long as we're moving and we're burning calories I think that's the key for any type of training."

An example of one of Jono's training weeks looks like this:

Monday: High intensity focusing on lower body

Tuesday: Weights focusing on upper body

Wednesday: Walk 15,000 steps

Thursday: High intensity focusing on upper body

Friday: Weights focusing on lower body

Saturday: Day off

Sunday: Walk 15,000 steps

If you're looking to get the most bang for your buck while you're at the gym, Jono recommends performing compound movements, which use multiple muscle groups and therefore burn the most calories.

Examples of compound movements include: squats, deadlifts, lunges, bench press, push ups, pull ups, shoulder press and more.

Rebel Wilson posing in blue workout outfit
All of Rebel's hard work has been paying off and she's regularly shared photos of her new figure. Photo: Instagram/RebelWilson

However, if you're looking into performing these moves it's best to have a personal trainer look over your form to ensure you're not going to hurt yourself by performing them incorrectly.

Jono's step-by-step guide to beginning your body transformation

1. Focus on your nutrition

2. Train around five days a week

3. Ensure you're recovering well, this includes stretching, sleeping well, making sure you're not stressed etc.

4. Make sure you're taking enough supplementation and multivitamins, treat your body like a temple!

A transformation is a lifestyle, don't try for quick fixes

When asked how he felt about fad diets and people promising body transformations in six to eight weeks, Jono urged people not to go for the quickest option possible.

"I think with any type of transformation, you shouldn't always look at the easiest option, you know, two months is not enough time to be able to change your body," he said.

"A transformation is never ending, the journey always continues, so you can never give yourself 10, 12 weeks. Because it just continues, once you reach your goal then what? Then you're going to stop? You can't stop it becomes a lifestyle, you continue and you become the best version of yourself as cliche as it sounds.

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Jono added, "Two months just isn't enough time. Don't forget, two months, you're putting a lot of stress on yourself. When your goal is like that and you don't achieve it, it can cause a lot of mental problems. So, my advice is keep your goals realistic, short and then achieve them and progress from there."

This is why what Rebel is doing with her "year of health" is so important, she's not trying to lose as much weight as possible in as little time as she can.

Jono agreed, saying, "A hundred per cent, and I think that when we look at fitness, that's how we should look at it, as a change of lifestyle. Add better things to your life."

With Melbourne in lockdown, we asked Jono what piece of equipment he would want to have at home if he could have nothing else, to which he responded, "If I was going to choose one thing I'd probably go for bands, like one of those booty bands, because everything else you can kind of take care of yourself with bodyweight."

If you're keen to train with Jono, you can sign up to train with him here and he'll also have his own gym up and running very soon.

"We should be open in four weeks, fingers crossed we [Sydney] don't go into lockdown! But if it does we just have to stay positive," he said.

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