Student interns with Aaron Rodgers’ off-season trainer

By University Communications
January 9, 2015
UW-Stout student Timothy Dyllan Smith, left, interned in summer 2014 with Angelo Poli, right.

Photo: Timothy Dyllan Smith, left, interned in 2014 with Angelo Poli, right.

As a health, wellness and fitness major at University of Wisconsin-Stout, Timothy Dyllan Smith is hoping someday to operate his own fitness center and train his own clients.

If he does, he already has a successful role model and mentor: Angelo Poli, who owns Whole Body Fitness in Chico, Calif.

Poli’s name may sound familiar to Green Bay Packers fans. Poli has been a longtime off-season trainer for Aaron Rodgers, the Packers’ star quarterback who is from Chico, northeast of San Francisco.

In fact, after the Packers won the 2011 Super Bowl, Rodgers spent the summer of 2011 training with Poli. The next season, Rodgers was named the NFL’s most valuable player.

In the summer of 2014, Smith landed an internship at Whole Body Fitness and worked directly under Poli for about three months. Smith learned the ins and outs of how to operate a fitness center, assisted trainers and, on occasion, helped instruct clients.

Smith grew up in Cornell, about 185 miles west of Green Bay, and is a huge Packers fan. He didn’t see or meet Rodgers but spent most days working directly under Poli and Poli’s full-time trainers.

“It was a chance to pick his brain and see what he does on a daily basis,” Smith said of Poli.

Poli was impressed with Smith. “We loved having Dyllan. He would ask insightful questions, was a hard worker and really appreciated learning. We’d like to have him back,” Poli said.

Smith sought out the internship by contacting Poli, who was impressed with Smith’s desire to come all the way from Wisconsin. Smith also had an ace in the hole: A place to stay for the summer with a friend in Chico.

“Dyllan was seeking a much more in-depth look at how to go about evaluating people and their critical needs,” Poli said.

Properly aligned

One of the reasons Smith wanted to work with Poli is Poli’s emphasis on postural alignment. Smith played basketball, football and baseball at Cornell High School but found out afterward he was born with femurs and hip sockets that weren’t properly aligned. As a result, he had surgery in 2012 at Chippewa Valley Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Eau Claire.

After the surgery, “I really got into movement, body posture and alignment,” Smith said. “It’s so important for performance. If you can move better, you can do anything better.”

Postural alignment, including symmetry and body posture, is Poli’s specialty. “Those are the elements that are unique to us, and people will seek us out,” Poli said.

Whole Body Fitness isn’t a traditional workout gym. Clients have very specific goals and are guided individually or in group sessions. “They want to learn the latest science to transform their bodies and reach their goals. We do a lot of work with nutrition, muscle development and weight loss,” Poli said.

A popular YouTube video from 2012 shows Rodgers and his brother, Jordan, then a college quarterback, training at Whole Body Fitness and doing unusual exercises such as pushing a car, doing speed work with boxing gloves and throwing footballs at a net mounted on a moving motorcycle.

In a July 2014 interview with the Chico News & Review, Aaron Rodgers said of Poli: “Angelo really helped me with my diet and getting my body in proper alignment, which has given me greater flexibility and will help increase my career longevity.”

As a passer, Aaron Rodgers is known for his quick release, arm strength and accuracy.

“The whole (Angelo Poli) program is focused on movement patterns. It’s something anyone can change,” said Smith, who added that he likes to blend the Poli approach with an approach called Foundation Training, which also stresses movement patterns.

Another Rodgers connection

Clients at Whole Body Fitness have access to a staff chiropractor, whose office is next door. The chiropractor, known for spinal alignment, sports conditioning and muscle efficiency, happens to be Ed Rodgers, Aaron’s and Jordan’s father.

Smith often crossed paths with and spoke to Aaron’s father and mother, Darla, the latter who was a client at Whole Body Fitness. The upbeat Ed Rodgers typically wore shoes that matched the color of his shirt, even if the shirt happened to be orange, Smith said.

“His parents are very nice. They talked about places in Wisconsin they liked to visit, such as Door County,” Smith said.

Smith can’t wait to get his career started. He already has helped train a Chippewa Falls McDonell High School athlete.

Smith, a senior, was excited to find the health, wellness and fitness Bachelor of Science program at UW-Stout, saying the classes are great preparation for his career. “I like the program and UW-Stout,” he said.

He also interned in 2013 at the Lac Courte Oreilles tribal health clinic near Hayward in 2013. Smith is an enrolled LCO member.

“I’m excited about helping people reach their physical goals and lead a better life,” Smith said.

For more information about the health, wellness and fitness program, at UW-Stout, go to