Skip to main content

Today's Family Magazine

Local trainer is helping people improve their bodies and their lives

Aug 06, 2016 11:19AM ● By Today's Family

Tony Mingo has been working with 11-year-old Zack Iafelice for the past year. Zack says he feels great and that the training has improved his basketball playing.

By Deanna R. Adams • Published June 2016

Tony Mingo, in a way, was born to be a physical trainer. His dad, Gene Mingo, was a professional football player for the Denver Broncos, his brother for the Kansas City Chiefs. “Taking care of your body was a lifestyle growing up in our family,” says Mingo, who owns LiveBetterFit in Willoughby Hills.

Mingo also recalls watching, and learning from, the “godfather of fitness” Jack LaLanne, who hosted a television fitness program from 1953 to 1985, and lived to be 96 years old. “I remember him always saying how fitness can enhance and extend your life,” Mingo says. “He was the first to educate people on how important nutrition is, and how foods, natural versus processed, affect the body.” That means, he adds, to know what to eat, when to eat, and how to exercise correctly.

When Tony was in junior high, he became a wrestler and soon got interested in weight lifting, power building and power lifting. “And of course, with all that, comes the need to educate yourself on the importance of nutrition and losing body fat, not muscle. Regular exercise also helps heal, and/or prevent injuries.”

Through the years, people began asking him for advice because he looks so fit and healthy. “I would go into such great detail that they would tell me that I should be a trainer.”

He took those comments to heart and ultimately became general manager at FitWorks, where he remained for 12 years. Last year, he decided to open up his own studio so that he could provide more individualized, one-on-one, and couples training sessions. He specializes in physical training, nutritional counseling, and offers massage and physical therapy at his studio.

It didn’t take long for him to acquire a loyal clientele—which includes people from all walks of life and age groups. Sue Stanton, a “senior” over 60, says she has several reasons she began working with Tony. “I do believe working out keeps you young and gives you energy. I have back problems, so it’s important to me to prevent further issues. Your muscles are attached to your bones and spinal column, so it’s imperative to develop strength, and strive to keep your frame straight. So that’s my goal––to remain as young as possible, straight and energetic!”

Stanton visits twice a week, driving all the way from Shaker Heights. “There is a place I could go to that’s closer to my house, but I’m comfortable with Tony and I trust him to help me meet my goals.”

Zack Iafelice is only 11, but he already knows the importance of taking care of his body. Keeping fit is a family affair in the Iafelice household, which includes two sisters ages 19 and 23, his brother, who is 17 and his mom and dad, who are all Tony Mingo’s clients.

“I started working out last year because my older brother and dad were doing it,” Zack says. “I wanted help with my agility and to work different parts of my body.”

Zack, who now works out three times a week, is a big basketball fan, and says that Tony has taught him about discipline, hard work and commitment.

“Tony is a great teacher,” says dad, Loreto Iafelice. “He has a great personality. He’s fun, but he’s also tough when needed.”

Dan Miller, co-owner of Today’s Family, has also recently become a dedicated client. “I started dieting this past December by cutting back on junk food and portions,” says Miller. “But after a few months, I realized I needed to do much more if I was going to get truly in shape and be healthy. Since I started working with Tony in March, my life has changed, not just my body. Tony provides a full nutrition training session that has given me better eating habits. My acid reflux has disappeared, I’ve lost more fat, have more energy and I’m starting to see some toning in my body. I have never weight-trained in my life, so I definitely feel it, but it’s a good hurt!”

While he obtains most of his clients through word of mouth, Mingo himself is his own best advertisement. “Tony is almost 58 and looks fantastic for his age,” Miller says. “And he is such a positive guy. He can inspire anybody to be a better version of themself.”

Mingo’s passion is evident when he speaks about anything related to fitness, nutrition and workouts. He posts a “Tony’s Tip of the Week” to help inspire his clients and his positive attitude encourages them to keep going. “When a client first walks in the door, I begin with a consultation,” he says. “I ask them what their ultimate goals are. Some want to lose weight, others want to build muscle mass. I then tell them what needs to happen to improve.” He follows this up with a fitness evaluation that combines measurements and three minutes on a treadmill to determine health factors.

He adds that you can be any age to start a good fitness lifestyle. “It’s never too late to begin a regular program and healthy lifestyle,” Tony says. “The best part of this job is reaching out to others and touching their lives while helping them change what they want to change.

“I don’t just tell you what to do,” he says. “I tell you why I’m telling you to do it.”

For more information, please visit or call 440-278-1195 to set up a free fitness evaluation and one-on-one training session. LiveBetterFit is located at 34351 Chardon Road in Willoughby Hills.

  • When you exercise, remember this: Inhale on the easy parts, exhale when it’s hard
  • Cold water slows the metabolism, best to drink water at room temperature
  • Even when you eat “healthy,” the time of day is a big factor in losing weight
  • Regular exercising can reduce your risk of degenerative disease due to food habits and lifestyle choices