Personal Trainer Of The Month: Vlatka Dragic

When Vlatka moved from Croatia to Australia she had to adjust her life. Now she teaches her clients how to do the same with their bodies.

Name: Vlatka Dragic
Age: 27
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
From: Zagreb, Croatia Education/Certification: Certificate 3 & 4 in Fitness; Double Bachelor Degree of Business, Marketing and Human Resources
# of Clients: 50 clients at Empire Fitness Centre / 1,000+ clients online
Rates: For Personal Training packages, Beach Boot Camp Packages or Diet, Supplement and Training Plans email me.
Sponsors: Flush Fitness and SunTanOn Tanning
Contact Info:
Email: Facebook: Vlatka Dragic
Instagram: @vlatkadragic

Change is perhaps the most important element to training for a successful transformation. You change routines, change diets, change clothes, change goals, change your entire outlook on life.

Vlatka Dragic changed her homeland, from Croatia to Australia. She went to college, received two degrees and then changed her career path. She wanted to pursue fitness. It's the one thing she both knew and loved to do.

She move to the Gold Coast, took a job in a gym and started training clients. And, of course, she trains intensely herself! She is a WBFF Bikini pro with an incredible physique.

She refused to sit and wait for the good life to come to her. Vlatka went out and got it. You can too.

Could you tell us a little about your background, personally and professionally?

I grew up in Zagreb, Croatia, and moved to Melbourne, Australia, 11 years ago. What a life-changing journey this has been! I had to adapt to so many changes and learn so many new things. This gave me no choice but to stand my ground, familiarize myself with the new world, and step ahead. Having to deal with so many life changes at age 16 gave me the strong attitude now to always go that extra mile and not be afraid of changes.

I couldn't speak one word of English either and had to do everything I could to catch up with everyone else! Lucky for me, I love challenges and taking things to new levels. I love discovering things and aiming for what others see as impossible. I have been active my whole life—my mum always took me hiking over the mountains and I was swimming in the beautiful Adriatic Sea any chance I had. I always take the most out of life and enjoy nature.

I grew up with interests in gymnastics and spent nine years (starting at 4 years old) doing classes five days per week. I was doing gymnastics professionally and was on television presenting and dancing on a weekly basis. I started learning about stage presence and requirements from an early age.

When I moved to Melbourne, Australia, I fell in love with health and fitness. I was so interested in changing my body beyond what others think they are able to achieve and so many people inspired me to just go for it. If anything, I am always willing to try and see no boundaries. I am a friendly, positive, approachable person and always love to get inspired and inspire others.

In Melbourne, I completed a double degree of business, marketing and human resources and have worked for four years as a national marketing manager. Business management is my other passion, but fitness was a new exciting area of my life which attracted me so much. I also love hot and sunny days, beaches, palm trees, tanning ... so I decided to move to the Gold Coast, Australia, and chase my dreams.

It all seemed a bit out of reach and too good to be true if it worked out the way I imagined, but once again, I just went for it and never looked back. This was the hardest decision for me, but also the best decision I have ever made!

Living near the beach and enjoying hot sunny days every day inspired me to get into fitness and healthy lifestyle even more. I train and work at Empire Fitness Centre on the Gold Coast. EFC is a huge bodybuilding and 24/7 gym. It is perfect and so encouraging.

When and why did you become a trainer?

I never thought I'd be a personal trainer. I studied so hard to complete my degrees and have a job in a top marketing company in Australia. I did it. I was a successful national marketing manager in Melbourne. After I pushed myself as far as I could go with the company, I wanted to move to a nice tropical state and start to work in the fitness industry.

I am so glad I made that decision in 2012. Now I am completely booked out at Empire Fitness Centre. I absolutely love what I do. My client's transformations are amazing and I am grateful every day.

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

I have a different training style to other trainers and I always keep it exciting, innovating and anything but boring. I show my clients new exercises and better ways of training with minimal breaks so I can push them. They never know what's coming next. I have most clients for more than four months now and not once have we done the same session.

I change things up and challenge them so much they leave with the "wow" factor. I incorporate supersets, circuits, dropsets and 30-second intense cardio exercises.

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

I have so many success stories from young girls who come to me. They want to be fitness models or want to compete in the bikini category. Mums of all ages want their sexy pre-pregnancy body back. I focus on training women. I know the best training styles suited for them through years of experience and training.

I love seeing my clients happy. Young girls who come to me are now so happy they are smaller, firm and toned. Mums can't believe how their skin can get healthier, tighter, and most of all they now have more energy to play with their kids!

Who are some of your most notable clients?

I help and coach so many amazing bikini competitors online all over the world through their fitness journey. It feels amazing knowing you have helped someone across the world feel great and transform from being an everyday girl to a little hot fitness chick.

I get follow-up emails how well they are still doing on my plans after 6-12 months! I create a healthy eating plan they can enjoy and commit to rather than a restrictive short-term plan!

Can you please you give us an example diet and training program you put together for your clients?

My diet, supplement and training plans are completely personalized to each client's goals, when they wake, go to sleep, what time they train, if they have any food allergies or dislike any food types, etc. I find this way to be most effective. The plans are 100 percent suited to a person's lifestyle, so they are easy to follow. I give them plenty of variety with all meals so they don't get bored.

Regarding diet, I suggest plenty of lean meats, clean carbohydrates, lots of green vegetables and healthy fats. A lot of people don't eat enough protein in their diet to see good results or have enough carbohydrates and fats to keep their daily energy levels stable and healthy. I recommend protein powders, fat burners, fish oils, L-glutamine, magnesium, and other suitable supplements.

What are the most common mistakes a client makes?

Some clients believe it is all about exercising. I explain in our initial consultation that healthy diet and what they put in their mouth is even more important. I explain to them they will not see good results if their diet isn't balanced. In 99 percent of cases, their diet lacks everything they need.

A lot of people don't drink enough water and have too much processed food and sugary food with minimal protein. Once my clients understand the importance of nutrition and start on my personalized diet and supplement plan, they are absolutely amazed by their body transformation and love every second of the program.

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

A lot of trainers train all clients the same way or even worse train people who want to lose a lot of weight too heavy to the point that the client is hardly moving; they can't push that much weight. I see this happening all the time.

I engage clients in exercises with a lot of movement. I love seeing them sweat and out of breathe rather than sitting there and complaining.

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

I start my clients on a completely personalized diet, supplement and training plan; that is a crucial part of the process. Healthy diet is so important! It must be followed if my clients want to achieve great results.

I base the plans on their lifestyle, times they train, consider any food limitations or allergies, times they wake up and go to sleep etc. The plan is easy for them to follow. I am always available if they have any questions or if they need me to adjust anything.

How do you keep your clients motivated?

I compete in the WBFF Bikini Division in Australia and the United States, so my clients get inspired by my journey and they watch me change weekly. I take my clients progress photos, body fat percentage, and body measurements every 2-4 weeks. They are always happy to see their hard work show! I was recently featured in Australia Oxygen Magazine and my clients were so proud to see their trainer in their favorite magazine.

Do you train a male client differently to a female?

I focus on training females only. Mostly only females approach me. I know the best training styles for them, learned through years of training. I would train male clients differently, especially if they are trying to put on size.

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

I approach clients with a friendly manner and always want to find out as much as I can about them, their background, and goals, so they feel comfortable with me. I was told I intimidate a lot of girls and they are too shy to come to me.

This is the reason why I always go out of my way to approach them with a big smile and friendly attitude. I am there to help them, so I appreciate and show them I care and want to help them. This is a must!

How do you start a client on a new program? Do you do some kind of assessment?

I offer my clients a completely free consultation where I ask them a number of questions and we form a good relationship. I undertake a few assessments based on their goals and I tell them what kind of diet, training, and supplements would work the best for them in my opinion. I create that picture in their head and a new healthy lifestyle suddenly seems more realistic and achievable.

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

I focus on training females only. I know the best training styles for them through my years of experience and training. I always research new training techniques and try them myself before showing them to my clients.

I also always keep our sessions interesting and challenging so they never know what's coming next. I have new exciting techniques for them to try so they are excited to see me each session. They know they will learn something new and that it will be hard but fun!

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

No, I don't; I feel more like a personal trainer and friend. I like hearing my clients' problems or questions. I love helping them and guiding them. Sometimes their problems about food or eating times are easily solved and there are always alternatives. I find a solution and, once they take it on, they thank me and move on.