42 Reviews on “Tom DiStasio, SSC”

Overall rating
  • Nicholas Benjamin

    Highly recommended!
    I worked with Tom for about 6 months before he moved to Maryland. He is an excellent SSC and pushed me hard through my NLP. Tom is very patient, knowledgeable, and experienced. He helped me immensely in dealing with an adductor injury. With his coaching I was able to make continuous progress. I continue to train and make progress.

  • Erik N

    I worked with Tom as a new lifter. Tom was very knowledgable to help me learn the technique correctly to prevent injury and drive progress. I would highly recommend him based on the 3-4 months of training I did with him.

  • Sean Pippin

    I worked with Tom for 3 months before he moved out of the area. He was my first experience with a SSC and I was extremely satisfied with the training/programming. Tom was great to chat with about SS and lifting while getting coaching and I always felt like I was in good hands. He was able to coach me through LP and I highly recommend him as a coach.

  • Marta

    Tom is very knowledgeable about this program, and gave my husband and me clear guidance to keep us from injuring ourselves, which was my primary goal. He also had a great approach for meeting us where we were (very little experience) and taking us where we wanted to go (increasing strength). If you are considering a coach, Tom’s a great choice!

  • Ruowei Yang

    Tom is a very patient, knowledgeable and easygoing coach. He would truly listen to you and cater to your goals and needs. He is a passionate advocate for the SS program and I felt confident about my movements after training with him. It was a pity that I was moving out of Maryland after a couple months, otherwise I’d definitely continue training with him.

  • Dale Stimson

    My interest in the Starting Strength program led me to find Tom via the SS web site. I started with Tom at age 62, and trained with him for several years (until he left Sacramento area). I appreciated Tom’s expert guidance as he helped me learn the SS program, conform to proper lifting technique, and to become stronger. Tom is very good at coaching for proper form, observing well, giving helpful and effective correction, and programming for strength gain. Tom is exceptionally knowledgeable and inspires confidence. Always friendly and helpful. Shares his knowledge.

  • Jake Baker

    Tom was my first Olympic weightlifting coach, and he coached me for about two years. During that time, he helped me dramatically improve my weightlifting technique, but more importantly helped me improve my strength. Tom has an eye for identifying the weaknesses which hold an athlete back, as well as the skill to provide structure and programming to address those weaknesses. While working with Tom, I found myself constantly improving several aspects of my training; from absolute strength, to efficiency, stability and durability, Tom’s guidance was paramount in my athletic career. He carries a wealth of knowledge and experience which he directly applies to ensure the most comprehensive coaching for his athletes. Tom is professional, knowledgeable, and above all, an exceptional coach.

  • Nathan Davis

    I worked with Tom regularly from 2016-2018 to learn the proper execution of the Olympic lifts, to master the other four core lifts, and for programming. Tom is an excellent coach who gives direct, clear feedback and will quickly respond to your messages and lift videos. He can also adapt the training to people with medical limitations without straying from the core Starting Strength philosophy. As an example, I had aortic valve replacement in 2012 and began following the Starting Strength methodology in 2015 because the other things I tried did not work to get my body strong again. I attended the Starting Strength seminar in California in Feb 16 and originally met Tom there. My one on one coaching (after novice linear progression) was tailored to my limitations. Also, and importantly, he is a good person.

  • Cecily Basques

    Tom is an exceptionally knowledgable weightlifting and strength training coach. He helped drastically improve my technique and build overall strength as I grew into an elite level olympic weightlifter. His carefully thought out programming improved my strength in all lifts, improved my stability, mental toughness, helped with injury prevention, and improved my body composition. As I also received nutrition guidance from Tom, I was able to successfully build strength while dropping 5kg in body weight for optimal performance. Tom has the experience and knowledge to help many different types of athletes reach their goals, whether it is sport specific or general strength building. Tom has an outstanding coaching eye and passion for what he does. He is professional and a great person to work with! Seriously… look no further for a great coach!!!

  • Mary Peck

    I first started working with Tom in 2012 while I was a gymnast at Sacramento State. During that time, he not only helped build my overall strength, but he helped prepared me for what was one of my most successful seasons in the sport. Tom continued to coach me as I made the transition into Olympic Weightlifting. With Tom’s individualized and carefully thought out programming, I was able to build a tremendous amount of strength in a short amount of time. I became the 2016 National Champion and had the opportunity to compete at the 2016 Olympic Trials and at various International competitions where I broke two American University Records. Tom is exceptionally knowledgeable and is a wonderful person to work with! Whether you are looking to improve at your sport or are just looking to build general strength, Tom is your guy. He can do it all!

  • Cord Dennig

    Tom is an incredibly talented coach, a great motivator and very supportive. I am an older trainee who had never really squatted before working with Tom. I started training once a week with Tom a few months before my 40th birthday. Despite “suboptimal” conditions (I can only lift on the weekends) and my age, Tom had me squatting over 400 pounds within a few months.
    I thought my best lifting years were behind me. Tom proved otherwise. I still use the techniques that he taught me every time I lift, and I’ve gotten even stronger. I couldn’t ask for a better coach. Thanks, Tom!

    -Cord Dennig

  • Wade A

    Over the years, I have had the chance to work with many strength and conditioning coaches at various gyms across the country. I competed as a powerlifter at the collegiate level, earning various state records, and have competed at the national stage. Tom is, and continues to be, one of the most knowledgeable and passionate coaches I have had the opportunity to work with. It was through Tom’s guidance that I was able to see a noticeable increase in my overall numbers, and it was Tom that I trusted to get me back to a competitive level after a series of surgeries kept me away from the gym for a few months. You won’t find a better coach to help you achieve whatever fitness goals you may have. It was an honor to have worked with Tom and I hope to do so again in the future.

  • Matt U.

    I worked with Tom regularly from 2016-2019 to learn the proper execution of the Olympic lifts, to master my core lifts, for critique, and for programming. Tom is very easy to work with and gives direct, clear feedback and will quickly respond to your messages and lift videos. Toms also a great person!
    Matt U

  • Marc Seitz

    Absolutely fantastic knowledge and depth of experience. I worked with Tom to get started on a new lifting program and make sure I was on the right track. He reviewed the proper techniques across all of my core lifts that have prevented many injuries that typically plague new lifters. His depth of experience was readily apparent during my barrage of questions on what programs to pursue, what to eat, the role equipment plays, and many more. Tom takes the time to understand your goals and priorities which immediately makes your valuable time more efficient and effective. Even as I move forward in my program, I will routinely come back to seek Tom’s advice and ensure I’m lifting safely and effectively. Many thanks Tom.

  • Cody Demps

    Had the privilege to be trained by Tom for a couple years during my college days. Definitely can attribute my increase in my performance to the work we put both in strength and conditioning. I highly recommend him for anyone trying to increase their power or speed.

  • Blake H.

    Tom was my strength and conditioning coach and had the privilege of working out with him for a few years post college. The amount of knowledge and attention to detail Tom shows is incredible. He has a true love and passion for the craft and thoroughly enjoys teaching. It was a pleasure being able to get 1 on 1 and group instruction from Tom. I still use many of his techniques and workout programs to this day. I highly recommend working with Tom for athletes/lifters/enthusiast with any level of experience.

  • Steve Brannon

    Tommy worked with me for about a year before moving back to the East Coast. He’s an excellent coach! I still lift on my own and can hear him each time I come up from a squat,: “Hip drive!”. He’s very motivational, knows his stuff, is reliable and flexible when it comes to scheduling and an all around great guy to work with. Highly recommended.

  • Graham Boulton

    I had read the books and was doing the program on my own with success. I assumed that I would benefit from some coaching in regards to form especially with the squat. I contacted Tom for some coaching. I was blown away. Tom is clearly knowledgeable on not only the lifts but on what it takes to be a motivating coach. I had received some coaching from CrossFit trainers before but Tom was definitely on another level. His knowledge of not only the how but the why in regards to the lifts was head and shoulders above any trainer I had ever talked to. He also strikes in my opinion the perfect balance between friendliness and ‘lets get down to business’ always with the goal of getting you stronger. By far the best coach/trainer I have ever worked with. If you need some help with your lifts or want to take your strength game to the next level-contact Tom. You will not be disappointed.

  • Alexander Chism

    I first found the Starting Strength program in 2016 when I was researching how best to get back into strength training. I knew form would be very important, especially while bearing a barbell with a heavy load. I found Tom was a local trainer, and saw he worked for Sacramento State, which made me feel very comfortable reaching out to him to get started.

    I’m very happy I did. I ended up meeting him to train in a simple garage gym setup, which was very nice because it was private, and I didn’t feel out of place. It also made me feel like training was much more accessible. I even have my own garage setup now and have done away with my gym membership.

    Tom is a very friendly guy. Very down to earth, and completely willing to work with whatever goals you have, and whatever timeline. His coaching was also very affordable. I saw him every 2 weeks to make sure my form remained correct as I quickly ramped up the weights. Training was quick, easy, and fun.

    If Tom hadn’t moved away from my area, I’d definitely still train with him. Since then I’ve managed on my own, but I wouldn’t hesitate to see him again if he came back. 100% recommend giving him a shot.

  • Suhaib

    Went over starting strength workouts and programming with Tom, great coach who made my form better and was patient throughout the process. Look no further for a coach than here.

  • Daniel Jacome

    Detail oriented and big picture. Few coaches can balance both. Tom scrutinizes each individual rep to make sure solid foundations are being set for big weights. At the same time, he takes into account where I am in my training cycle and in life. He knows when to push me more than I push myself and when to back down. Not to mention, his feedback is consistently fast, scary fast!

  • Vegar Barnes Madsen

    Been using Tom since mid 2019 , it been a great journey . amazing details on lifts he can see and he is very swift in responding to the video links .
    Learned a lot and still progressing . with great results .
    This is the right man and coach and hope to continue the strenght journey in the road ahead .

  • Ivan

    I was skeptical of online coaching at first. But I have been doing it for a few months with Tom and it’s been awesome! Really helped me a lot and taught me a lot about form and pushed me to better myself. Great motivator and coach. Really happy with my training so far and look forward to the future!

  • Mathew Laureano

    I’ve been working with Tom for about 8 months now. I had previous experience in oly lifting for about 4 years and a lot of bad habits that honestly thought that there was no getting around it and it was just the way I lift. After starting with Tom, he started pointing out all of these things and finding ways to correct them. It took time but finally its starting to click and the fact that he has been supper patient with me really helps. I would recommend Tom to anyone (new or old) specifically for oly lifting and building up the strength to move even heavier weights, like it should be.

  • Casey

    Explored both Starting Strength and Tactical Barbell programming w/ Tom. Really detailed feedback, he’s versatile with all the lifts and was always around to answer questions.

  • Tom Slawsky

    I am a late 40’s male who has been working with Tom for a year . I reached out to Tom because I ran SS , then made good progress pretty far into intermediate territory (deadlift to 500#). However, one day I reviewed my training history and realized that despite showing up religiously, busting my butt and doing all of the right things, I had not made significant progress in over 2 years. I shopped around for a SS coach and once I contacted Tom, I knew y search was over. Turns out, after a few years of doing it myself, I developed some bad habits…in other words, my form sucked pretty much across the board.

    If you hire Tom, here is what you can expect

    1) A thorough and brutally honest assessment of both your current capabilities and your form. If you’re not willing to check your ego at the door and be open to self improvement for the long term, you may as well just stop at this point.
    2) Coaching on the basic strength moves, including a meticulous breakdown and analysis of what you are doing wrong AND what you are doing correctly.
    3) Creative cues to improve form that are easy to remember on the platform.
    4) Custom programming set up in ~4 week blocks (for my case anyway); some blocks will challenge you to the point where you doubt you can survive the block and other blocks you may feel let off the throttle a little too much. Best to just let Tom do the thinking here, as behind the scenes, he is making real time adjustments based on your form, your recovery and your overall goals.
    5) Relentless calibration on your exercises to perform the move with perfect form. Trust me, if you start to drift, even a little, Tom will catch and correct before your next workout.
    6) Quick, accurate and insightful feedback on your videoed sets (always the last/heaviest/Top set of the big movements)

    Other value added is aspects of Tom’s coaching : Tom is brutally honest in his analysis. Hit a perfect set of overhead presses? Tom will let you know and give you a big thumbs up. Shoot your hips back just a few degrees on the squat, Tom will have no problem pointing that out and telling you how to correct it. And for God’s sake, if you ever want to tick Tom off, keep lifting your butt off of the bench during heavy presses (all in good fun, Tom). It boils down to accountability. Tom holds you accountable and he would rather help you achieve your goals through proper coaching, meticulous form and accountability than to blow smoke your way and not hold you accountable for fear of losing you as a client. And this is a good thing. If you’re serious about getting stronger, you should want a coach like Tom. Because in the end, you’ll push/pull more weight, have fewer injuries and wind up stronger and healthier. Again, you must be willing to check your ego at the door.

    Perhaps the highest level of endorsement I can give Tom is that I hired him to coach my teenage daughter and my nephew who is in the Army. My nephew is making steady progress and my daughter? At a bodyweight of 135, she recently deadlifted 205 X 5 and is closing in on a set of 225 X 5 (yes, as a 17 year old female, she is closing in on a 2X BW deadlift). And her “savage factor” in sports has spiked to levels that are even surprising her.

    If you want to get stronger and you have long term goals, you are willing to revive honest feedback, show up consistently and work hard, and if you want a coach to guide you through that process, then hire Tom.

  • Craig R.

    Tom is a great coach and has patiently helped me progress in the Starting Strength program which is new to me. He has a wealth of knowledge in the SS program as well as general strength and conditioning. In the short 40 days, Tom has helped me progress in the SS program and provides excellent, immediate feedback on my lifts. He remains consistent on the SS stringent standards and ensures they are followed. Tom has been a great coach and I look forward to his feedback after my training sessions because I know he will be able to identify my techniques that require correction. Highly recommended for all athletes…Novice, intermediate, or elite.

  • Zack Woerner

    I’ve had the pleasure of working with Tom for the past two years. He is a fantastic coach and has helped bring me to the next level with my lifting. He is always great to work with and knows how to get the most out of a given cycle. He adds a lot of value from a programming perspective and has a keen sense of how to keep things progressing while still being mindful of the demands of a busy working person. Moreover, he is able to adapt to changing goals and circumstances seamlessly and is always highly responsive. If you have the opportunity to see Tom in person he is fantastic at providing feedback in real-time as he is with online coaching and it can help a lot especially with learning Olympic lifting which is difficult to learn online.

  • Stepan

    Hey there, if you’re looking for a coach there’s no way in hell you wouldn’t love working with Tom.
    Tom has helped me improve my strength and speed in just a few weeks and we’re continuing to work together.
    Tom can see each and every little mistake on exercise and if you’re sending him a vid thinking that it was perfect-not that fast, buddy.
    Totally recommend this dude, i love working with him as a professional soccer player.
    If you’re reading this, Tom, you’re the man, brother.

  • Chris Lalos

    Tom is an incredible coach. Super knowledgable of all the SS movements, and pushes you to do more than you thought you could – in the safest, best way possible.

    Having lifted at a local CrossFit gym, I never realized how much strength I was lacking and the benefits of low bar squatting, When we started low bar squatting, it was certainly a transition; however, over time, it’s been a key pillar in my training. My posterior chain is noticeably stronger.

    Overall, my thoughts on training have totally changed my mindset of what makes a person stronger, and I owe that all to Tom. Strength is all that matters.

  • Carlos Revilla

    Highly recommended!

    I´ve been training with Tom for about 9 months now and he has changed my way of training. I used to have a lot of pains on my body, Knee, shoulders, low back, you name it. As a result I’ve always had to stop my training and go directly to rehab. Couching with Tom has changed completely the game. I don’t have any pain now and I’ve been able to double my weight on my main lifts.

    If you are looking to improve your form and gain muscle, Tom is the right coach for you!

  • Lon Adams

    Going into the pandemic I was doing CrossFit religiously for 4 previous years. Suddenly on my own, this 63-year-old guy needed to find a new routine. As I thought what would serve me best going forward, I determined it would be a combination of weight / strength training, HITT, and some long and slow aerobics. For the weight training, I REALLY missed the coaching I was getting in CrossFit when lifting. But I found copies of Starting Strength and Practical Programming for Starting Strength and began the Starting Strength program. About five months into my self-coaching the amount of weights I was lifting had gone my considerably, but I started becoming concerned about proper form and not injuring myself. I could only get so far on my own reviewing the videos of my lifts and using the books. I found it difficult to objectively judge my form. So I decided it was time to see if I could find an online coach.

    I went to the Starting Strength Online Coaching site and reviewed coaches. After reading backgrounds, I identified four possible coaches and sent each an initial email. I was pleased that all four responded. It quickly became apparent that Tom was the best fit for me. Due to my age and only having lifted weights for less than five years, I had several concerns including wanting to find a coach who would be responsive to my goals which were focused on building and maintaining muscle mass as I continue to age.

    So why Tom? He’s highly qualified as weight training coach – see his bio. He listens to you / hears your concerns and responds accordingly. His responses are helpful and comprehensive and take into consideration not only your current lift but your history. For example, if you have a particular problem, Tom doesn’t just keep repeating the same thing over and over again, but he explains it from a different angle each time until you connect with the feedback he’s providing. And Tom is very timely. I don’t know how he does it, but he almost always responds when I post videos of my lifts or ask a question within an hour or two.

    I’ve thought several times, once the COVID protocols end whether I’ll return to the gym. At this point, I’m thinking not. The private coaching I’m getting from Tom with the comments he provides in writing makes it simple to track what I’m learning. I very pleased with the progress I’m making both in terms of my form and the increase in strength / weight I’m lifting. I also feel much more confident that I’m lifting properly and safely. Thanks Tom being a great coach and all you’re doing!

  • Ethan

    I have been working with Tom for over a year and have nothing but good things to say about the experience. Tom is great to work with and is always quick to respond. I have seen my strength increase while working with him to levels that I never thought I would reach otherwise.

    He takes the time to work with you on a personal level, even when working through videos. I had an issue with my press and he took the time to break down everything. He could have simply sent me to a video elsewhere, but instead took the time to make a video and caption specific for my issue.

    I have nothing but good experiences working with Tom and will continue to work with him. Highly recommend anyone at any level to work with Tom.

  • Alina Duran

    I was referred to Tom by another athlete that he trains, and I’m very glad I followed through with starting to work with him. Tom has been an incredible asset for me as I prepare for USA Olympic Trials as a hammer thrower. My overall strength has never been better. Tom is the kind of coach that will push you when you need it but also makes it clear that he is there to support you. He is motivating and patient and has helped me adapt and improve despite the uncertain ups and downs of 2020. He is incredibly knowledgeable and it is clear that he tailors each training cycle to my short and long-term needs and goals. On top of that, I genuinely enjoy what he programs for me. My training has never felt as complete and well-rounded as it is now. I’m very excited to see where working with Tom can take me in my sport!

  • Saif

    I worked with Tom in 2020, and we worked on both my nutrition as well as my training (plus some conditioning). I learned a tremendous amount and quickly lost 8 kg while making progress on my lifts (except my press, argh, always been a difficult lift for me!). His comments/cues were just what I needed to slowly make adjustments and improve my form. I’ve managed to keep the weight off and I no longer weigh/measure my food because I’ve learned how to estimate serving sizes and macros (plus it helps to eat mostly the same known foods). Good luck and happy training!

  • Jamie Clark

    Tom is an excellent coach. He helped me tremendously with my lifts. He always gave helpful and timely feedback. I would highly recommend hiring Tom as a coach! He will help you reach your goals!

  • Tony

    Tom is extremely knowledgeable about strength training and very responsive. He is easy to work with and knows how to program for lifters at all levels. If you are looking for online coaching, he is your guy. Highly recommended.

  • Steve

    Tom is a great coach. He’s insightful and kind, but he also really knows his stuff. His programming always moves you forward, even when you don’t think it’s possible. His attention to detail and his willingness to support you as a lifter can’t be beat, but you’ll also get the results you desire (and then some). I highly recommend Tom as a coach.

  • Hesham

    Started online training with Tom about a year ago. Can’t say how happy I am with his coaching. This man is exceptional at what he does. His eye for technique, his knowledge of the lifts,his programming…I could go on and on. He always keeps the program interesting. I could say the only reason I’ve stuck to my training the past year is that he keeps me going with his constant check ins and his motivating comments. If you are looking for an online coach, look no further! You will not regret it. Il be a client for life!

    P.S He’s super friendly and down to earth

  • Jim

    Tom has been a great coach for me – detail oriented, specific with his advice, always upbeat, and understanding when life gets in the way of my training.

  • Barrett L

    I started training with Tom as a scrawny, weak guy with an autoimmune disease and no strength training experience. Over the past year and a half with him, he has helped me not only grow a lot stronger, but also overcome my medical issue through a highly personalized and adaptive approach to training. Highly recommended.

  • Jonas Marnick

    Tom is a great coach! I’ve been with him for several months and he’s currently helping me prep for a powerlifting meet. He’s very knowledgeable, responsive, and posses an in depth mastery of the starting strength principals. His no-nonsense strength, conditioning, and nutrition coaching has helped me add significant weight to all main lifts. He provides TIMELY and detailed feedback…10/10 recommend.

  • Chris Lalos

    This is my second review of Tom and certainly not my last – I’ve been working with Tom for some time now, and during that time, through his coaching and my refinement of technique through his cues, I’ve been able to eclipse 300+ on my Squat, 200+ on my Bench – 135+ on my OH Press and around 300 on my Deadlift. All sets of 5.
    The progression has been steady; which is exactly what I wanted, and is certainly not over. The only issue….my pants don’t fit…haha. But I’m sure everyone that has done starting strength knows what I’m talking about.

  • Matty U.

    Tom is a diverse coach and can teach you the in’s and out’s of training, no matter what you’re training for. I worked with Tom since around 2016 on Oly lifts and strength training. He wrote amazing workout programs and help build my weaknesses to become my strengths.

    In 2021, I transitioned from Oly lifting to more endurance sports such as triathlons and distance running. Tom programmed a solid plan for me, keeping me healthy and getting me 100% prepared for the Olympic distance triathlons. It’s been a blast working with him and doing his programming. I’ll definitely keep working with him to help crush my triathlon and distance running goals I’ve set for myself in 2022! Bring it on!

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