A wellness coach serves as a personal lifestyle trainer for individuals seeking customized accountability in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Unlike a personal trainer, a wellness coach covers several different aspects of health: fitness, nutrition, emotional, stress and personal well-being. A person’s individual health is the top priority, so discovering a distinctive plan that suggests exercise routines, nutrition advice and lifestyle adaptations that cater to each individual’s daily life is key.
In many ways, a wellness coach is not just a teacher, but also an encourager. Living a healthy life should not be a challenge, but sometimes, we need a little support to help us reach our goals and find out what we are truly capable of accomplishing.
Nicole Montesanti is a fitness & wellness coach, and all-around interesting woman. We had a wide-ranging conversation in which she imparts helpful experience and insight for us.
What inspired your dedication to fitness and wellness?
Tracking progress; And when I say this, it’s more like an overall feeling of control. I tracked what I was doing (my controlled variables: food/macros, workouts, good/bad, etc.), and I tracked my results in complementation to them. Keeping track and staying aware throughout the process made helped me remain more engaged because everything felt more intentional. I was able to make intentional decisions towards my goals, purpose, and what I wanted/still want out of life.
What do you find are people’s top fitness concerns and what advice do you give?
In my opinion, top fitness concerns are not understanding the concepts of what they need. My average clientele is between ages 35-50, male and female are relatively close in the 50/50 range. They come to me all with all sorts of stories, but essentially the same initial problem. They don’t know what to do and how to change their body. They compare it to years prior to how they felt they lived and don’t understand why it feels so different now. Well, my first tip of advice is to realize that your body is not the same, and that’s okay. We don’t digest food the same nor burn it the same. Actually, old cars don’t run as good as new ones, especially if you haven’t driven it or given it the right fuel. The point that should be emphasized here is to understand the “what’s” & the “why’s” behind what we do and what our body needs in midst of getting there. That is how we control and manipulate not only weight loss, but overall body composition change. Another problem that I typically hear is lack of support and also very frequently an expression of challenging environmental situations. We are already our own worst enemy, so adding a negative external factor is not promising in the decisions we make. My advice? Check your surroundings and check who you turn to in life. Make sure they contribute to you in a positive way. Make sure they are someone that you aspire to be. Make sure they teach you things that contribute to your future you.
How can people introduce fitness into their lives for the long-term?
You can only introduce fitness into your life for the long term when your mindset is in it for the long run. When I look in the mirror, of course, I check out my abs, but all jokes aside, I really don’t, not anymore. It doesn’t really phase me. I got the leanest I’ve ever been, and I was still lost. I was still angry and experiencing anxiety. I was still having “bad things” happen “to me,” and it wasn’t until I hit my rock bottom, at my leanest, that I realized my journey wasn’t done. I looked the best I ever have and still wasn’t happy. I achieved my goals plus more and still wasn’t fulfilled. Things were still happening to me. With this, my weight took a toll and mental health went downhill in acquiring a binge eating disorder and having a severe case of body dysmorphia. It wasn’t until I had taken my fitness to another mindset and re-trained my mind in all these things and that they had happened “for me.”
How did I introduce this into my life in the long term? By going into it my journey with authentic clarity, self-awareness, and self-compassion. Have clarity in what you want and WHY. Be aware and accountable for where you’re at. When you fall, be compassionate, get back up, and take that step forward. The habits you change and things you sacrifice, the discipline you gain, and the progress you achieve are what keeps your results sustainable. The things you believe and the mindset you keep is what brings you to a different level of self-love.
So, why did I choose fitness? Because the standards that YOU see physically are a reflection of the standards, that I have set for myself mentally and standards are what change your life.
For people who already work out regularly, how can they take their bodies to the next level?
The only way to take your body to the next level is to know the level you are currently at. Keep track of what you’re doing and really keep track. The older we get, the harder it gets, and that is okay. Track your water consumption, macros/calories, days/week you work out, down to the hours you sleep. That’s why my coaching has turned holistic. That went from the status of trainer to health coach. My niche is fitness and nutrition, but my program is holistic health because everything matters. So much can contribute to weight loss/gain. Only when you know where you’re at, is when you can make changes as need be and/or reach out for help. At the end of the day, you are your own experiment. You have a choice, and you are in complete control.
What is the connection between nutrition and fitness?
When you have a goal, everything matters, and it all has to make sense. There is an intention and purpose behind the science when it comes to feeding your body for your goals, whatever they are. Whether they are physical or performance, if you want to optimize your results and sustain them, learn how to complement the two in a way that suits you. The importance of protein, carbs, and fats working with what you are physically doing to your body really affects how you feel inside and outside of your workouts. Coming from someone who’s been from a partier and college athlete to a bodybuilder competitor and girl with an eating disorder, I can now say I honestly feel the best I’ve ever felt after years of trial and error and ups and downs. Can I get better? Of course, we all can, but point is, I feel good, happy, and feel that I am able to balance my life.
What does your typical daily diet consist of?
I have the same breakfast every day. It’s yummy, easy, and convenient. It’s an egg scramble that consists of eggs, egg whites, spinach, turkey sausage crumble, and chopped sweet potatoes. I also love me some sugar-free ketchup on it ☺. I then have lunch, which is typically some type of bowl either with chicken or turkey, Brussel sprouts or asparagus, and rice. I also will use a condiment or something to give it that “ethnic” feel, i.e. enchilada bowl, balsamic bowl, Asian stir fry bowl, etc. Then, my next meal is a smoothie that is made of a protein scoop, spinach, PB2, oats, and avocado. I will most likely pop a protein bar throughout the day with my schedule and dinner is always some sort of dish with protein, fats, and vegetables. I don’t typically eat heavy, starch carbs at night.
What’s the best piece of health advice you ever received?
This is so hard! I’m a believer in holistic health, so I want to focus on categories of health advice that I think are all important. They all play a piece in my health that I myself treat as a lifestyle. Do I have ups and downs? 100%, but the way I respond to them has drastically changed from how I used to. All of these were pieces of advice that I follow every day: work on being happy, use your muscles, avoid negative self-talk, practice self-awareness, eat good and eat right, handle your stress, practice self-care, and self-love because they are two different things, and lastly, and now my favorite, reflect.
What is the best fitness advice you can give our readers?
Really think about what you want. Do you want the idea of it or the actual lifestyle? No matter where you’re at, it’s going to be difficult for everyone to get to where they want to be because, essentially, it’s better than where you’re at, no? So, in theory, it could be that the better you are, the harder you have to work, no? My point is that no matter what, it’s going to be work. It’s going to be uncomfortable. There is going to be pain, loss, and tears. There is also going to be a pleasure, gain, and choice. Focus on the person you are becoming in the process and become so aware of yourself that you become your own project in finding the lifestyle that you desire.
An experience that changed your life?
This is another hard one to answer. There have been so many experiences that have changed my life. I’ve had some pretty messed up things happen, and the reason I say that is because that is really where my power comes from. That is where I grew. I lost friends, and I also gained some. I’ve had my heart completely broken, and I am sure I also broke others. I have been without a place to call home and down to $0 in my bank. I had gone through some of my hardest times while having to play a role as a coach and leader to others, when deep down, I didn’t even have my shit together. I am all about opening up and telling my story, but in this type of article with only so much space, I feel empowering is more important.
What do I mean by this? My point in saying this rather than talking about an individual experience is to emphasize the pain and loss that I went through and pushed through to get to where I am today. I don’t fear humility not because I’m wonder woman, but because I can’t for it’s part of my story. Changing your life is not easy. It’s hard. There is going to be sacrifice. There is going to be times you fall, but you must not give up.
Hardest thing about staying motivated
Our own thoughts. When I look back in retrospect, it is wild how easily and frequently my mind contaminated my thoughts. It’s like our minds look around and spot all the things that are negative. If we let it talk to us, it can argue against the things we know we want to be doing and/or should be doing. Our minds are and can be so negative and lazy! It doesn’t matter how positive or optimistic you are, if you fail to practice self-awareness, then the small things begin to add up and affect our choices and habits. Therefore, we have to continue to do our mindset work every day. You can call it prayer, meditation, or reflection. I don’t care what you consider it, but we have to continue to do it each and every day. Tony Robbins said, “Wants don’t get met, standards do,” and the only way we know our standards is if we know ourselves.
Why does this matter? Because when the motivation isn’t there, which won’t always be, then you know your standards will be.
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