Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend, fitness model and personal trainer, Marzia Prince.
You most likely know Marzia as the gorgeous and sexy blond in the ads for Gaspari Nutrition's Novadex XT (it got me to buy it!).
But Marzia Prince is much more than a pretty face.
Marzia is a Cooper Certified Personal Trainer.
She is working on her master's in personal training.
She's also a certified Physical Fitness Specialist, Pre/Postnatal Fitness Instructor, Biomechanics of Resistance Training, Fitness Specialist for Older Adults (65+), Coaching Healthy Behaviors and CPR Certified.
Whew! She's currently training for a sprint triathlon competition.
Gregg: Hi Marzia. I know you have an extremely busy schedule so thanks for taking the time to do this interview. You ran track in high school so you were active at a young age.
How did you get started in fitness as a career and when did you decide that helping others develop a healthy lifestyle and creating their best body was right for you?
Marzia: There has always been motivating factors throughout my life. A few major ones were my first Cosmopolitan magazine (before I knew about Iron Man Magazine and Muscle & Fitness) which had "Move of the Month".
I was so excited to get the new issue so I could find out what was the new "Move of the Month" was.
The second motivating factor was (I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this!!) old workout videos of Richard Simmons that my mom used to do a couple times a week. I would join her and think it was a blast. I had a great time with her doing those tapes! (Gregg's Note: Clearly Marzia could play the role of both beauty AND the geek!)
The third one was when I went to college for nursing and hired a personal trainer (yes at the same time). I was three years into the degree when I decided I wanted to help people in a different way. I saw great results from my personal trainer!
I went from a skinny stick to a shapely siren! I loved the curves from the muscle! And then being in all the Anatomy/Physiology classes, I got to learn how the muscles worked in greater detail. I even took nutrition and beginning weight training too!
It was then that I decided to pursue a different career path. I loved training and eating well. I was so excited about my new passion that I wanted to preach it to everyone! I got certified immediately and began from there! I felt awesome that I wanted everyone around me to feel as good as I did.
Gregg: How long did it take you to get to see those results and want to make that change, which got you to where you are now, and what would you say to our readers who are already tired and frustrated and just want to finally "get in shape"?
Marzia: Being a thin girl with a high metabolism was hard for me to keep the weight on. I know many women would love to have this but as soon as I stopped working out my muscle deflated and I was stick girl again!
I think women with muscle tone portray a very healthy image. An image I wanted to have. I had to read many books and talk to a few dietitians and nutritionists to learn how food works with the body.
After some trial and errors, I found what worked for me. Now that I'm older and my metabolism has slowed a little, I have to tweak my diet again. So to get where I am now honestly…maybe a couple years of muscle building and diet tweaking.
I just want to say to all the readers out there to be patient. Everybody is different.
You can get to your goal if you take it day by day. Building muscle and getting cut doesn't come overnight! You have to find what works for you, whether it is losing the weight or building muscle, you have to try and try again!
Don't give up or you give up on yourself! You have to train for your life! It is okay to get some help, so hire that personal trainer or nutritionist, read that book or take that class to educate yourself and get to know and love you! Only you can make it happen!
Gregg: One thing I'd like for you to address because I feel it's a big one with women, is weight training. Even nowadays, a lot of women shy away from weight training because they don't want to look like Arnold.
If they train at all, it's with the tiny pink weights and they never even break a sweat. You've developed a gorgeous, sexy, lean hard body and you couldn't have done it without weights. What do you say to these women to get them to start training with weights (continued below)
Marzia: I just want to say to all these women who are scared to lift weight is- It would be the best move of your life!
You're right Gregg, many women tend to shy away from weights because they think they will get huge. High reps and low weights for a long period of time will get you nowhere!!
You can improve muscle tone and lose inches with an intense training program. Muscle is denser than fat. With intense weight training women will get smaller and firmer, not big and bulky!
Another point is, women have a fraction of the testosterone men do. For those who don't know - the higher the testosterone hormone, the more muscles grow!
Women have low levels of testosterone so they don't gain very much muscle tissue when they train with weights. They will lose fat and improve muscle tone. And any women that looks like Arnold- it took them many hours in the gym and chemicals to get there!
Oh, and one more thing, I couldn't even imagine a workout without sweating!!
Gregg: Guys, stop picturing Marzia sweating! What advice would you give to someone who's brand-new to the fight to get and stay in shape and struggling to stick to a proper nutrition and exercise program?
Marzia: Hmmm, that's a tough one. It kind of depends on the mind frame they are in. I always tell my clients it is a long, hard road. You are going to have tough days and you are going to have easy days.
It is the end result that you need to strive there. Even when you feel you have reached it, you will find yourself striving for more. I even think I need to tweak my body here and there. That is what keeps me on my toes.
Motivation is a HUGE factor! You constantly need something to motivate you, whether it is your high school reunion or for your children, you need to find something to fuel your fire! Motivation keeps you consistent.
Gregg: What's the biggest mistake you made when you started and how did you correct it?
Marzia: Looking back I noticed two mistakes:
1. Not enough calories.
It wasn't till I educated myself enough that I realized what I was doing wrong. I wasn't getting the results I wanted. After I corrected those two factors I started seeing results within a few months.
Gregg: What do you think is the most important thing or skill you've learned with regard to health and fitness?
Marzia: There isn't just one important thing I've learned, I've learned many. If I had to pick one thing it would be self worth! Your body is important. You only have one life, take care of it.
I believe the quality of your life is important! It plays a role on how you feel, think, react, look…uh oh, now you got me started! I could preach for hours about how exercise and nutrition is important! That's my job!
Gregg: What are some common pitfalls you feel your clients can stumble upon and how do you help them avoid these obstacles?
Marzia: Common pitfalls my clients stumble across are nutrition and consistency! Some will do all the hard work and eat horrible, and then wonder why they aren't seeing the results they want.
Others will eat really well but not put in the time to do the work. I tell them they have to have realistic expectations. I don't sugar coat this! You can ask any of my clients and they will tell you. You have to see it as a lifestyle change. Not a diet for the moment.
It takes time to get adjusted to this. I tell my clients to have something motivating around like a picture of themselves they like or the opposite, a picture of themselves they can't stand, or even a picture of their kids. I try to help them balance the two, with time management!
This helps with consistency and planning. I give them tips on taking one day a week to write a plan which consists of making meals, packing snacks, writing a food journal, and scheduling in your meals and work outs.
It seems hard and time consuming at first, but when you get the ball rolling it all comes a little easier.
Like I said, it is a lifestyle change! It takes years to get out of old, bad habits!!!
Gregg: Moving forward and knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently with your own journey, if anything?
Marzia: Actually, I wouldn't change a thing! Looking back I see everything as a learning process. You truly learn through experience. Everything is trial and error. It is ok to make mistakes and learn from them! I'm still learning!
Gregg: Do you feel that ongoing feedback and motivational tools would help in maintaining a fitness program? I always encourage my clients to take pictures periodically.
Marzia: I'm a firm believer in motivational tools to stay consistent. I kind of went over that point in question seven. Bottom line - Always have a goal. When you are done with one motivational goal or tool come up with another immediately!
As soon as you lose motivation, you lose focus. If you don't have a picture to compare, measurements to go by, or an important function to go to like a high school reunion you can lose focus.
Gregg: If you were to advise a close friend or family member how to follow in your fitness footsteps, what would you tell them?
Marzia: Wow, that's a tough one considering I preach to them all the time about ways to stay focused. I don't think they want to hear anything else that comes from my mouth! LOL!
I can see them rolling their eyes right now! I'm not kidding! I've said it before and I'll say it again - MOTIVATION. It is what drives us through life.
EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT THE INDUSTRY - you need to learn many aspects of fitness and nutrition. It is always changing and evolving. You have to stay on top of the latest research. What worked yesterday may not work today.
Gregg: Your family gets the same experience as mine. Those poor people! So tell me the most common excuse you hear from people who don't eat right or train. I think the most common is that they don't have the time.
You're someone who is extremely busy and yet you not only find the time for a regular training and nutrition program but you're currently preparing to participate in a sprint triathlon.
What's a typical day for you when it comes to training and nutrition? How are you able to consistently fit them into your busy schedule?
Marzia: When people say that I automatically think - EXCUSE!!!!! I'm sorry, it can be done! You have to make the time. You are just shortening your life span by not taking care of yourself.
I have one client that has four kids and a full time job and she makes it three days a week! She makes the time. She knows how important her body and life is to her and her children. You have to take care of yourself before you take care of others.
My typical day? I train 6-8 clients a day, train myself, run my errands (grocery shop, bank, tan, run my business), take a little quality family time out (make dinner or watch tv), catch up on my reading, and sleep. I'm training for a sprint triathlon, so my workouts are even more intense.
My secret? Time management! I have a plan from the time I wake up till the time I go to bed.
Gregg: You've obviously become a success in competitive fields. What do you think are the keys to becoming successful, whether it's competing, modeling, building a business or just losing 15 pounds?
Marzia: Motivation and consistency are the keys in my life to becoming successful. It is the mind set you are in. I really believe if you put your mind to it, you will accomplish! I did! I still am! I'm even more motivated than I was before! Never give up, always strive for better!
Gregg: What's one of the things you find most challenging about what you do?
Marzia: My greatest challenge is finding what works for other people. Whether it is motivation, consistency, nutrition, work outs, cardio, etc… Everybody is different. What works for one person may not work for you. I'm constantly trying to find a connection for them to fitness/nutrition.
Gregg: What are your future fitness plans?
Marzia: My future plans? There are so many things I want to accomplish in life. I'm trying to take it step by step. I know that I will always be in the fitness industry! I want to focus on being positive and sharing that with others! I feel that is what is HEALTHY!
Gregg: Thanks Marzia. I know you're extremely busy and I appreciate you taking the time for this interview.
Marzia: Thanks Gregg!
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