Don Scott holding medicine ball

Pro Trainer Don Scott's Essential Building Blocks of Training

Elite personal trainer Don Scott’s approach to fitness follows his philosophy that diet, exercise and holistic nutritional guidance are the framework for optimal health and vitality. Don, who has over 15 years of experience training an impressive list of clients, including Hugh Jackman and Sherri Shepherd, specializes in developing individualized training programs that cater to the specific goals of his athletes. As a believer in the neuromuscular connection to training programs, Don trusts HOTSHOT’s effectiveness, allowing athletes to work their heart, lungs and body without any cramping. Read more about his 3:30 am training regimen, what you need to know about overtraining and the essential building blocks of training.


You wake up at 3:30am everyday to train. What’s your routine?  

I work on a three-day split; splitting my body parts over three days, alternating days in between. I take a day off in between in order to rest and rehabilitate. I have to think about all of those movement patterns when I think about the body parts. With traditional training programs you’ll hear chest/thigh, back/bicep, shoulder/triceps, this is known as a push/pull. I look at my workouts in pull motions. If it’s a push dominant day, there will be the chest press/pushup, things where I am utilizing my triceps, but not really looking at it in the same way, but not in the common ways you would see it in a training program.


Can you explain the breakdown of your workout?

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I start off with a dynamic workout for the entire body followed by body weight movements, explosive then conventional movements that work the entire body. On Tuesday and Thursday, I do light cardio with 20-25 minutes of HIIT. Splitting up heavy cardio with body weight allows your body to keep up with the entire load of the week, which helps prevent overtraining.


Can you talk more about overtraining?

There is a difference between a regular and a pro athlete. Look at a pro athlete’s body as a whole. From a training standpoint, a pro athlete trains for a living. Then look at someone who has a career but wants to stay fit. The stress load of a career in general has a major impact on the body. When you break it down, say you’re going to train for a triathlon, and approach it the same way a pro does, you open the chance for injury and breakdown. Everyday athletes have to find a way to utilize their body in effective doses in order to yield the results with the lowest volume possible so it works in our life. A lot of people breakdown because they are not looking at it holistically, rather than breaking it into parts that in turn keep their body from over training.


Can you explain your essential building blocks of training?

  • Heart rate monitoring and stabilization: When I train clients the first thing we do is a full assessment – nutrition/body, structure/muscle, testing / sleep etc. I do this in order to find patterns in athletes, the predictable (movement) hunger, cravings, etc.. weakness/pain, etc… and this all yields a lot of information. We break down this data to get an average resting heart rate. This helps with two areas: how we determine if you are moving into an overstrained state and how to push into the three zones of training. Each cycle is increasing in % to the resting heart rate; 65-75% of max resting heart rate is considered to be zone one. 76-85% zone two, zone three is 85-90%.
  • Rest: Resting heart rate means so much – it skews all of the numbers and calculations of what’s going on with your body. A typical resting heart rate is 80 beats per minute or more. We access the resting heart rate to determine where a client is from a training standpoint. Wearing a heart-rate monitor makes it easier to determine things.
  • HIIT: In my program, zone training is 20 minutes maximum, working with zone one – zone two. This all depends on the fitness level of the person. Reaching 90% of max heart rate by going into zone three once a week is more than enough to reach your cardio level.


Here’s an example of a workout:

Do three minutes in zone one, one min zone two, (repeat 3 times) and then go to zone three for 30 seconds and then return to zone one. With someone that is not highly trained, that would be enough. When you do it again on Thursday, you enter zone one and zone two only. A highly trained athlete can enter zones one, two and three.   If you are training someone at a high level, they have to be placed under that stress more frequently than the average person. Twice a week at max. hitting those upper levels.


Neuromuscular Training and HOTSHOT:

Many people forget about neuromuscular health in their training programs. HOTSHOT has an impact on cramping and muscle soreness, all things connected to the way the body reacts to training from a neuromuscular standpoint. Lactic acid buildup, for example, is happening in the muscle. This occurs when we are passing the anabolic threshold. It’s usually the idea that the burning in my muscles gets so high and it’s telling me to slow down – I don’t experience this with HOTSHOT. With HOTSHOT, my overall muscle soreness is reduced.


My personal experience with HOTSHOT:

I’ve had the chance to use HOTSHOT in various phases and really put it to the test. I didn’t deal with muscle cramps as much. What I did deal with was side stitching. It had an impressive effect on the side stitch. We are not sure what causes them. From my own anecdotal experiences, I cannot make myself have a side stitch when I drink HOTSHOT!



Train Smarter: 5 things every triathlete should incorporate into their IRONMAN training plan.

Carbs and Protein: 7 tips for proper intake for optimal fuel.

7 Questions With Elite Trainer, Bob Seebohar: The importance of strength training and muscle building.




Back to blog