Our Woman of the Month series kicks off each month when we announce a special guest with an in-depth interview. Each woman we feature embodies the spirit of Model Behaviors through her healthy, productive, multipassionate lifestyle. Each month we also give you a peek into a day in her life, plus host a giveaway related to her mission and purpose in life.
See our past honorees and their interviews here.
I’m beyond thrilled to announce that our Woman of the Month for March is none other than Marzia Prince!
We first met her in January as one of our Mommy Makeover advisers. For the past month and a half, she’s been coaching our participants, keeping them focused, and helping them redesign their bodies from the inside out. In her everyday life outside of this contest, she’s an incredible personal trainer and Healthinista. She’s also an ambassador for SunWarrior, a raw superfood company dedicated to providing plant-based protein powders.
Please read on for Courtney’s interview with this dynamic go-getter and join me in giving Marzia a warm Model Behaviors welcome!
MB: Many of our readers know you as the health and fitness adviser for the Mommy Makeover Contest, but when someone asks you what you do for a living, what’s your typical response?
MP: I’m a Healthinista! I design healthy lives for women. I’m blessed to help women look and feel their best for life. Even though I’m a certified personal trainer, nutritionist, and life coach, I really feel like I get to help women, not only transform their bodies and nutrition habits, but design their new healthy lives going forward. It’s all really just a mindset. I love watching my clients change and grow. It’s so rewarding!
MB: When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a Healthinista? How did you know this was the right path for you?
MP: I was in my last year of nursing school and something did not feel right. I was complaining to my boyfriend at the time (who’s now my husband) that I’d made a mistake and wanted to figure out what my purpose was. He pointed out that I loved to work out and eat healthy—it was my passion—so why didn’t I choose a career in health and fitness like a registered nutritionist or a physical therapist?
After going back to my career counselor in college, I found out this would take two more years of school. At the time, I was in my last year, the home stretch for me to finish nursing, but it wasn’t in my heart. So, I decided to go to Cooper Institute in Dallas to get certified as a personal trainer, nutritionist, and life coach, and here I am today! I love every minute of it, and now I know my passion for a healthy lifestyle was my purpose in life.
MB: That takes so much guts to not only realize in your last year of nursing school that you were on the wrong career path but to then do something about it and change direction. Did you have doubts about such a big decision? And if so, how did you overcome that doubt and follow the path that felt true to your heart?
MP: Of course! I was nervous to quit what I’d started and was nervous to begin something when I had no idea what that future was going to hold. I had to start at the beginning all over again. That little voice inside my head told me not to quit and not to stop believing what I was capable of. I trusted my gut and went with my instinct. Plus, it helped having a supportive partner who believed in me from the very beginning. I couldn’t have done it without my husband!
MB: That’s so incredible! I truly admire that adventurous, self-confident spirit. So after you completed your courses with the Cooper Institute in Dallas, what was one of the biggest challenges for you starting out with this new career? And how did you overcome it?
MP: My biggest challenge in the beginning was experience. I thought I could give people a “one size fits all” workout and nutrition plan and that it was going to be easy. I soon learned with each client that everyone’s different and “one size fits all” doesn’t exist.
Everyone has different goals, body types, medical issues, allergies, injuries, and more. It took me years to be the coach I am today. I’ve become very in tune with my clients and learned progression is key to succeeding. Their individual challenges help me become a better coach, especially because I love learning through new challenges!
MB: Switching gears a bit, you’re an ambassador for SunWarrior. I was scrolling through your Instagram feed and saw you had a cameo on Good Morning America when the SunWarrior products were recently featured. How amazing! Can you tell us a little bit about this and how you got involved?
MP: In 2009, I made the switch to a plant-based lifestyle I was looking for an organic raw vegan protein powder and couldn’t find one at the time. One of my clients suggested SunWarrior to me. It was the most perfect, most delicious plant-based protein powder I’d ever tasted!
My favorite is the vanilla warrior blend. I tweeted that it was an awesome vegan protein powder, and they reached out to me to work with them. I currently do four health vlogs a month for them on YouTube. I love this company and what they stand for. They’re such good family people who care about their company, the quality of their products, their Warrior tribe (SunWarrior fans, friends, and consumers), and the planet. I’m blessed to be aligned with a company whose beliefs are similar to mine.
Our mission is to help the world get healthy, and I love that I get to be a part of that with them!
MB: Based on comments in the Comeback Circle Facebook group and feedback from our Mommy Makeover participants, your advice for clean eating has had a huge impact on each of the five ladies. What led you toward a vegan diet and lifestyle back in 2009?
MP: I had to battle my own “food demons” from back in the day. Growing up in a family of six, with four siblings, I grew up on processed foods. My parents didn’t have a lot of money, and they bought processed foods in bulk. When I was a teen, I worked at McDonalds for three years. When I was in college, I continued to eat lots of fast food and also drank copious amounts of alcohol with my peers. It was the thing to do, so I joined the masses. Then I went through a phase after college where I thought I was eating healthy by consuming microwave lean cuisines and fat-free, sugar-free, “healthy” packaged foods.
It wasn’t until I got certified as a personal trainer and got my nutrition certification that I learned to eat more real foods. This was a wakeup call for me from what I was currently doing. But then I went through a phase where I competed for around five years and ate high amounts of animal protein. It was the standard way of eating for many fitness trainers and competitors.
Five years after eating this way, my body turned against me. I gained 25 lbs, I had bad acne, I had adrenal fatigue, and kidney stones. What I thought was healthy was not for me. I had a registered dietician suggest I go on a 30-day vegan cleanse to reset my body. I was really resistant to it for a long time and thought I was going to suffer from protein deficiency. But after reading numerous books about being vegan, raw foods, being plant-based, and reaching out to many plant-based athletes, I made the switch. I lost the weight, I had more energy, my face cleared up, and I didn’t have to count calories anymore.
During my last year competing in 2009 and getting my IFBB pro card, I was vegan. It was a pretty new concept back then, and I didn’t tell anyone in those days or they might’ve thought I was crazy! Today, I train many fitness competitors who are vegan or just people who want to transition from eating loads of animal meat to a plant-based lifestyle. I love seeing my client’s internal transformation more than anything. Living a holistic lifestyle has been such a blessing for me.
MB: What an incredible journey for you! And now you’ve got me thinking about a 30-day vegan cleanse. Hmm…
But speaking of our Mommy Makeover Contest, I’m guessing you’ve worked with a lot of mommies throughout your years as a personal trainer and as a Healthinista. Is there any particular advice you have for moms who want to transition to a healthier lifestyle?
MP: Yes! I’m certified to work with both prenatal and postnatal women. Over the past eleven years, I’ve worked with so many women who were trying to get pregnant, who were pregnant, and who wanted to lose the baby weight. My biggest piece of advice is to try to eat real whole foods for the majority of your daily consumption. It will give you long-lasting energy and make you feel better. Also, make time for yourself. Whether it’s a workout, a massage, or some free time to read, being a healthy mom makes for a happier mom. Expect the unexpected and do what you can when you can. Your body will thank you and so will your family.
MB: This brings up something I’m curious about, and from all your responses to my questions, you seem like a woman who knows her heart pretty well. The majority of married women in my life either have children or are planning to have children in the future. However, I’ve noticed a sentiment in myself and in some of my peers that we aren’t sure motherhood is the right path for us. Did you ever want to have children or was that something that never interested you?
MP: I’ve always wanted kids and a family of my own, but sometimes life throws you a curveball. I met my husband when I was 28 and he was 32. We dated for a couple years and then got engaged. I was 31 when I got married. We wanted to take the time to have fun with each other and travel the world before we had kids. Plus, professionally we wanted our careers to be in a better place financially before having a family.
When I hit 35, I decided that was the time to start a family. I got off birth control and nothing happened for a year. We went to a fertility specialist and I had to go through extensive testing. Turns out, I had endometriosis and my fallopian tubes were scarred. I went through a couple fertility surgeries before IVF. Long story short and a few years later, it was not in the cards for me to conceive. Being infertile was a long hard road for me and was not a fun process.
People often ask me why I didn’t adopt. But after four years, I was mentally drained from the whole infertility process. I needed time to regroup and find me again. I decided to look at the positive instead of the negative. I nurture my clients. I love my husband and our three dogs. Family isn’t always about conceiving. For me, family is my husband, dogs, friends, coworkers, and the relationships I build in business. I love my life and really feel fulfilled. I pour my heart and soul into everything I do. I feel so grateful and blessed to be where I am today.
MB: Thank you so much for sharing that. It’s something I think about more and more as I approach 30, and I’m thankful for your honest and open perspective!
I’ve just got one more question for you, but it has two parts. First, what dreams and plans do you have for yourself and for your business? Second, what advice do you have for someone who’s just starting out as a personal trainer?
MP: Dreaming out loud and putting it out there…My next life goal is to finish writing my book and then to have my own makeover reality show where I can help people get healthy. I want to be on a positive reality makeover show on the OWN network. Being a trainer is more than a fitness program. It’s life coaching and watching someone transform his or her life for the better. My favorite part is the internal transformation because I love helping people discover that they had the power all along.
My advice to someone who’s starting out as a personal trainer is to get a reputable certification. The proper education is important to succeed and continuing education is important too. A great personal training university is Body Design University. They help prep you for either ACE or NASM certification. They have both classroom training and intern-type training to get you prepped for real life as a personal trainer. They also have business classes to help you understand the business of personal training.
I got certified at Cooper Institute 11 years ago, but today I’m continuing my education with Body Design University in May. Continuing education is important in our field. What works today may not work tomorrow because of ongoing studies—so always be humble and stay on top of your game.
MB: Thank you so much for your thoughtful, inspiring responses, Marzia! You’ve given me a lot to think about!
MP: Thank you for having me on Model Behaviors! It’s been so fun working with the Mommy Makeover group and now getting to share my story with you.
I’m feeling so inspired by Marzia’s words and passion for life! If you’re interested in working with Marzia as an online coach, you can contact her through her website, The Healthinista. She also has great workouts and meal planning ideas on her site, so swing by for a look!
Later this month we’ll take a look at a day in the life of Marzia Prince, plus we have a very special giveaway lined up. We’ll see you soon with the next installment in our Woman of the Month series with Marzia Prince!