Name: Ella Magers
Education/Certification: NASM Certified Personal Trainer; Wellness Coach Certification through the University of Miami; Masters Degree in Social Work (Barry University)
Location: Miami Beach, FL
# of clients: To allow for in depth one-on-one coaching, the number of clients I work with at any one time is limited.
Personal trainers like Ella Magers are like amateur social workers. They take troubled people in search of a new physical meaning and soak in all their frustration, anxiety, and fear toward fitness. Trainers create programs designed to change their bodies and minds through the ever-vital exercise, nuanced vegan nutrition, and of course the mental training it takes to survive a transformation and make it permanent.
We caught up with this Miami Beach trainer and engaged her in dialog to pluck her brain. See how she trains her growing clientele!
Could you tell us a little about your background—personally and professionally?
I have been passionate about two things since a young age: fitness and animals. I began with gymnastics and competitive swimming at age 5 and haven't stopped moving since. I also did volleyball, dance, and Tae Kwon Do growing up.
At age 7, my compassion for animals led me to a vegetarian diet. Although my parents thought it was "just a phase," I only became stronger in my desire to save animals from suffering. Learning more about the meat and dairy industries, I became vegan at 15 and began organizing social actions to raise awareness in my community.
After college I moved to Miami, Florida. I wanted the year-round warmth and sun! There I was able to put my two passions together with a career helping people become fit and healthy through exercise and nutrition. It was at that point that I found my love of Muay Thai, which I have been practicing ever since. I couldn't feel more fortunate!
After years coaching one-on-one, I am now expanding my career through my new website, sexyfitvegan.com. My goal is to support a broader population of people in their transformation to adopt a plant-based diet and active lifestyle that they love!
I have information for anyone who is interested in moving in that directions including free ebooks, sample meal plans, product reviews, etc. Besides giving people the tools to make healthy, vegan meals themselves through my website, I also just teamed with DeliverLean to create a Sexy Fit Vegan Meal Plan to launch in October.
DeliverLean is a fantastic healthy, gourmet meal delivery company. It also carries amazing, fresh, cold-pressed juices delivered all over the United States (promo code: sexy fit vegan).
When and why did you become a trainer?
Being active and improving my physical skills and abilities has always been my way of life. Becoming a trainer was a natural choice because it allowed me to share my passion with others, with the intention of helping people transform into healthy, fit, and happy individuals!
What is your training style? What methods do you use?
Well, I am definitely not the trainer you see getting in people's faces and yelling at them, as onlookers think, "Wow, I feel sorry for that guy!" I'm not saying that is wrong by any means.
Different methods work for different people. However, I motivate people in other ways, using my skills to create customized, challenging, ever-changing workout routines, living by example, and caring about my clients as individuals. These are all motivating factors for my clients.
How can clients better themselves by utilizing a vegan lifestyle?
The health benefits of eating a proper, whole-food plant-based diet are huge. I encourage everyone—skeptics included—to watch the incredibly well-done documentary, Forks Over Knives, which reviews the scientific research on the benefits of a plant-based diet. Evidence shows, and I strongly believe, that a balanced whole-food plant-based diet is the way to go when it comes to being healthy.
Do many clients who follow your routine generally maintain a vegan lifestyle or do you find some of them go back to their old eating habits?
We have been trained since we were babies to adopt certain ways of eating. Habits were formed early and it would certainly be most comfortable to stick with those same habits your whole life. I tell my clients: "Here's the deal. In order to change our bodies we must be uncomfortable!" A client who comes to terms with this fact, and has identified strong enough personal motivators, he/she will generally stick with the plan with my support. Of course, nobody is perfect; there will be bobbles along the way!
Do you only train individuals who follow your same lifestyle or if a meat-eating client still wants to train with you can they?
Absolutely. I will provide personal training sessions to any individual who commits to putting forth their full effort during our sessions. If that's all the client wants, that's all I will provide, and what they do the other 23 hours of the day is left to them. If they are ready and open to hearing about why and how a vegan lifestyle could better their lives, I am thrilled to be there for them.
Do you have examples of success stories from clients using your methods?
I have many success stories from clients I have worked with over the years. The best part of my "job" is to know that, by living and sharing my life with the people around me, I have a positive impact on so many lives.
People frequently contact me with stories of how I touched their lives in some way or gave them the inspiration they needed to make important healthful changes in their lifestyles. What I put out comes back to me tenfold. It's incredible!
Who are some of your most notable clients?
I have worked with several celebrity clients including high profile athletes. Out of respect for their privacy however, I don't use their names in interviews.
Can you please you give us an example diet and training program you put together for your clients?
I create a brand-new program for every client, because each one is starting in a unique place and has different strengths, challenges, needs, and wants to take into consideration. I create programs for people all over the country. We communicate through email, phone, and video conferencing.
Also, coming soon to my website is a member's section that will contain different sample exercise and diet programs for beginner, intermediate, and advanced members to view.
What are the most common mistakes a client makes?
A few common mistakes are:
- Expecting perfection from yourself from the beginning. Accept where you are while keeping the vision of where you want to be clear in your mind. Be in the moment while you train. Give it all you have and thank yourself afterward for putting in the hard work to better yourself.
- Being your pain. Changing your body is uncomfortable. It hurts much of the time. And I'm not talking about serious injury of course. But you are not your pain. You can work through it. Even embrace it.
- Seeing your training as an energy expender as opposed to an energy enhancer. Sure it takes a great deal of energy to get through a training session, but as you wrap it up, take a moment to breathe the energy back into your body and take it with you throughout your day.
What are the most common mistakes you believe a trainer makes?
To list a few:
- Not listening to clients. I believe in the 80/20 rule. As a trainer, it is best to listen 80 percent of the time and talk 20 percent. It is impossible to give the client the service that best meets his/her needs if you are not hearing what those needs are!
- Not practicing what you preach.
- Pretending to know things you are unsure of. If a client asks a question and you don't know the answer, say to the client: "Great question! I am not 100 percent sure, so I am going to find out and get back to you on that."
Do you set your clients up with a full diet and training plan for them to follow by themselves?
If a plan is to succeed, a client needs ongoing support for any program I create with them. I say "with" them because they are always a part of the process.
How do you keep your clients motivated?
I don't. I work with clients to discover their own specific motivating factors that are personal to them. It could be that they want to get off their high blood pressure medication, or be able to keep up running around with their 4-year-old daughter, or to stop dragging ass all day every day! Once we identify these factors, it is my job to remind them constantly so they keep up their hard work!
Do you train a male client differently than a female?
I train each client differently! It's not a matter of male or female, it's a matter of an individual's strengths and challenges.
How have your changed your approach to clients over the years?
My work as a trainer and wellness coach has been an ongoing, ever-evolving learning process and always will be. Every client challenges me in a new way that allows me to grow as both a coach and a person.
How do you start a client on a new program? Do you do some kind of assessment?
Before starting a client on a new program, there is always a thorough assessment first. There is so much I need to know about the individual in order to create a plan that meets their specific needs and provides them with the quality of service they deserve.
This goes for exercise and diet alike. If they are looking for help with their food choices, I ask them to journal what they consume for a minimum of a week first so I can get a baseline where they are starting.
Do you prefer to train male or female clients and why?
I prefer to train clients who are fully committed to success, male or female!
Do you feel just as much like a psychologist as you do a personal trainer?
Let's just say that attaining my Masters in Social Work and specializing in counseling was not a waste. Seriously though, I'm working with people who are in the process of transforming their lives. There is no way around it. This process goes way beyond the physical demands. It is equally mentally and emotionally challenging!