Personal Trainer Of The Month: Emily Zaler

Emily was a soccer standout until injury put her on the sidelines. Now she's found a new 'whey' to win as a personal trainer and nutritionist!

Name: Emily Zaler
Age: 24
Education/Certification: Bachelors of Science in Exercise & Wellness, Certified Sports Nutritionist, ACE Certified Personal Trainer
Location: Southern California & Global Virtual Training & Nutrition
Contact Info:
Number of Clients: 15-20
Rates: Vary depending on services
Social Networking:; Facebook;

There comes a point in every athlete's career when the uniform takes its place in the back of the closet, relegated to be a memory of the glory that was.

Some athletes get to choose the moment, at the twilight of a long and a successful career. The rest just get hit with the hard truth one day. They accept it and move on, or wallow in "what might have been" for the rest of their days.

When injury brought Emily Zaler's soccer career to a sudden end, she never hesitated. She switched from midfield to the training room and set a new course toward personal training.

Now she's a published author with a client list ranging from Hollywood A-listers to
kids and seniors.

Tell us a little about your personal and professional background.

I have been an athlete my entire life. I played D-I soccer my first two years of college. After suffering a career-ending injury, I transitioned my love for sports into a love for training and nutrition.

While still in school, I branded my own nutrition and training company, The EZ Whey LLC. I also published a clean eating cookbook: The EZ Whey. Also while in school I had the opportunity to intern at the prestigious Athletes' Performance academy and work with some of the top coaches and athletes in the world.

After graduating in 2010, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my career in the fitness industry. I now train, and also contribute to top fitness publications such as Oxygen magazine, Muscle & Fitness Hers online,, World Physique magazine, RX Muscle, and many others. My brand has even been featured in the Los Angeles Times.

Why whey? What made you focus on that supplement in particular?

I think whey protein is a vital supplement in someone's nutrition program, no matter what their goals are. If someone is allergic to whey or is vegan, then a plant-based protein or other type of protein that they can digest is great as well. Whey has numerous benefits that can aid in fat-loss, muscle-building, recovery, performance, and it is rapidly absorbed by the muscles and human body.

When and why did you become a trainer?

I have always had a passion for all things sport and fitness. As soon as I realized my soccer days were over, I immediately began educating myself to be on the other side of the training floor. If I was not the athlete or client, I'd be the trainer or coach. I love helping people reach their goals, and being able to truly help someone change their life.

What is your training style? What methods do you use?

My training style and methodology vary depending on specific clients. I train with a purpose. Everything for every client is different. No two people are the same, and everything I choose to include in an individual's program is specific for them.

Do you have examples of success stories from clients using your methods?

I will give you an example of a current client I am working with virtually. I created both a custom training and nutrition plan specifically for his goals and needs. In eight weeks, so far working with me, he has dropped 22 pounds and is down three pant sizes. He works extremely hard, and sticks to the plan day in and day out!

Who are some of your most notable clients?

I have worked with and currently work with top professional athletes, celebrities in the entertainment industry, business executives, beauty pageant winners, seniors, kids, and everyone in between.

Last year, I spent time working as Patrick Dempsey's (Grey's Anatomy) personal chef, preparing and delivering him healthy meals on set. I am fortunate to have experience with such a wide range of clientele at my young age.

Give us an example diet and training program you put together for your clients.

Nutrition and training vary for every individual that I work with. However, I do believe in eating many small meals through the day.

Each diet is fueled with protein, complex carbohydrate sources, and essential healthy fats.

My clean eating cookbook, The EZ Whey: Clean Eats That Taste Like Cheats, provides many delicious recipes that my clients all love. Healthy nutritious food does not have to be boring! My book and I have been featured globally in different magazines, websites, and even on television and in newspapers.

What are the most common mistakes a client makes?

I find many clients have a hard time being consistent with nutrition. Whether it is blamed on "lack of time," a "busy schedule," or not wanting to cook, consistency is key!

What are the most common mistakes you believe a trainer makes?

The most common mistakes I see every single day in the gym are trainers using the same exact workout for every single client they have. What happened to the personal in "personal training?" No two people are the same. Every client should have a unique training program specifically designed for them.

The other mistake I see far too often: trainers allowing clients to perform an exercise with poor form. This frustrates me greatly!

They put clients at risk for injury by not having the client perform the full range of motion in the prescribed movement.

Do you set your clients up with a full diet and training plan for them to follow by themselves?

I do for all of my virtual clients, yes. I design a specific program for them to follow and they can check in with me any time with questions.

If you train with me in person, I design a full training program for you and recommend I do the same for your nutrition. Some people do not want the specifics of a nutrition plan. Then I offer them simple tips without all of the details that come with a full customized nutrition plan.

Depending on the needs and wants of the client, I design their program(s) from there. I also offer personal chef services to my nutrition clients, where I actually prepare their meals for them. It takes out all the hassle of making sure you they are staying on track.

How do you keep your clients motivated?

I keep my clients motivated by regularly checking in with them to see if they progress toward the goals we set starting out. I remind them why they want it, how much work they put in so far, and encourage them to be fearless!

Do you train a male client differently than a female?

Yes, I train every single person differently, whether they are male or female. Every person and every single client of mine has their own unique program.

How have your changed your approach to clients over the years of experience?

Over the last couple years training, my approach is always evolving. I pride myself on continuing my education, and staying up to date with new methodology and the latest in the constantly-changing field of health and fitness.

How do you start a client on a new program?

When a client first comes to me, I do a couple different assessments. If they are a virtual client, I send them a survey to fill out with a variety of questions. I also offer a phone consultation, where we can discuss their responses further.

If I am training a client in person, I meet with them and ask them a variety of important questions as well as perform a Functional Movement Screen (FMS).

Do you prefer to train male or female clients and why?

I love training both males and females, but if I had to choose, I would choose male clients. Often, my male clients bring in the hard work ethic that I love, and they truly want to be challenged every session.

Do you feel just as much like a psychologist as you do a personal trainer?

Physical changes start with the mental. One of my favorite quotes regarding this topic is: "Whatever is conceivable in the mind, is achievable in the physical. Don't put limits on your capabilities."

For further information, please visit my website and find me on Facebook and Twitter. I am constantly evolving and working on new projects to expand my knowledge and experience in the health and fitness industry.

Also, every Wednesday I post a recipe of the week on my website for EZ Whey Wednesday. Make sure you check it out!