It’s not often you get an opportunity to follow someone around and see how they live their lives, but I did. I got to sit on the shoulder of Maggie Garemani while she helped a lot of people change their lives in many ways. Maggie is a guru without the name. It’s best to tell you what she is not. She is not a fitness coach. She is not a personal trainer. She is not a nutritionist. What she is, is a woman who has spent the better part of her life, living the very things she tells her clients. From age 15, Maggie decided she wanted to be fit and healthy. At that young age, looking around her, she made a conscience decision to eat right, exercise often and the right way, and above all else develop a strong mind able to resist the temptations around her. And now, through Fitness By Maggie, she can provide a way in which you too can motivate yourself to change the way you look, feel, think and live.
The following takes place between 5:45 AM and 9:00 PM. These events happen in real-time.
Maggie’s wake-up call comes at an un-Godly time of the morning, although she wouldn’t admit it. 0545 hours or 5:45 AM or a quarter to six, or any other thing you want to call it, it’s a miserable time of day. And, the voice you hear, Maggie’s, is unintelligible. She rolls over and falls out of bed and into her exercise clothes and a transformation takes place. Maggie becomes a different person. She moves from comatose to an active, vibrant, fitness consultant. She shoves a toothbrush in her mouth and walks to the kitchen and starts the coffee. No, she doesn’t put it on the timer so it’s ready for her; no she doesn’t, because those technology gadgets like DVD players, coffee makers, IPods, even the new smart phones on the market are foreign to her. Well, no, not foreign, just not very important in her grand scheme of things.
The coffee started, and her morning ritual of 2 tbls of apple cider vinegar , (Bragg’s unfiltered) and a glass of water and then she then does what she tells each of her clients to do; make breakfast, but not just any breakfast. Maggie’s consists of fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, banana, and apple), raw almond butter, honey, cinnamon, and her one and only cracker, Wasa ““ Crisp & Light 7-grain! The cut up fruit either neatly or not, placed on the crackers, normally 2 servings and as Maggie says, “I’m in heaven!”
06:15 and she fires up her computer to check the news for the day, email, and compose a message to her clients.
06:45 ““ Now the day changes ““ Fitness by Maggie clients knock on the door and if you think it was hard for Maggie to rise and shine, it’s even harder for her clients. A quick final gulp of coffee and Maggie won’t see a rest-break for 12 hours.”¦.Out the door, Into the car and a short drive to the base of the morning’s hike. Rain or shine, this is the start of Maggie’s day.
07:00 ““ The start of a 6-8 mile hike usually takes 2 hours unless Maggie feels in the mood to make us work harder than she makes us do anyway. Interesting when there are 3-4 clients with her. She moves up and down the hill, forward and back, talking to, counseling, cajoling, and pushing everyone to accomplish more. And we do. If you just started with Maggie the first week is just terrible, but as the week’s progress and she gets our bodies to react differently, it actually becomes ritualistic, fun in a way, magical, especially since you’re communing with Nature. Maggie makes one look at what’s around us in a different light.
09:00 ““ Just when you think she’s taking us back to the barn, she makes us climb another short hill and she never stays behind, she leads us. I actually believe she relishes the idea that more is better! Except we all know that as we drive back to her studio there is another “˜hurt’ session coming ““ strength training!
09:30 ““ Maggie doesn’t just show us how to do a myriad of exercises designed to strengthen and tone our bodies, she actually does every one of them with us for the whole time. As she once said, “I can’t ask you to do it if I don’t. I don’t like it when someone tells me to do an exercise and then just walks away to help someone else. I take your hand and walk with each of you, up, down, 1, 2, 3, 4 and a 1,2,3, 4!”
10:30 ““ Now we’re done and if there is a little time left Maggie sometimes turns on her juicer and magically a glass of cucumber, carrots, and I don’t know how many more veggies are in it, but it’s great! There’s a knock on the door and Maggie’s second class arrives while we all drag ourselves to our cars. Yup, she does it all over again and looking at her march out the door with a satisfied look on her face like it’s really nothing but fun.
12:45 ““ And just enough time for a biological break and perhaps a bite of a Fuji apple and”¦.
1:00 PM ““ The next wave of clients, 2-3 for just a strength training session, this is Monday and some days include a third trip up the hill ““ Maggie knows where every rock is on that trail, I swear! This class ends around 2:45 and she gets only a slight break because she does something else.
3:00 PM ““ Maggie conducts a mentoring program for several women which are usually 1 hour sessions and even though Maggie may be sitting and not moving, she is still giving of herself mentally.
5:00 PM ““ No, she is not done yet. A quick shower and a short drive to one of 2 support groups Maggie attends and has the opportunity to share her up-lifting life experiences with others. The day with Maggie is almost coming to a close, and it’s the best time for Maggie.
7:30 PM ““ With a large portion of salmon covered with dill, lime juice, and a little sea salt, marinating in a Teflon skillet, she takes the time, barely standing, to chop up the ingredients for one of the most delicious salads I’ve ever eaten. It’s not just a portion as you might imagine, it’s the whole big salad bowl! Lettuce, fennel (anise), tomatoes, hearts of palm, avocado, lemon, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and oh, I almost forgot, she even throws in some chopped apple. One might say she eats a lot, but when I saw how much she does during the day, she needs it all just to replenish the calories she burns ““ 4,000 a day.
8:30 PM ““ A few phone calls and I now see Maggie the way I wanted to be at 9:30, in a prone position barely hearing the news on the TV!
9:00 PM”“ I had to gently nudge her awake to make her retire to her bedroom and get a well-earned rest before torturing a few others the next day.
I thought this exercise would be easy. It wasn’t. But what I did see was a complex, driven woman to which one has to have admiration. I have heard many others tell their stories about following Maggie; people who haveÂ changed the way they look; have more quality time with their family; reduced their dependency on prescription drugs; changed their attitude about life around them, and much more. From age 15 as a gymnast, to forming the first fitness spa in Iran, running marathons, to starting Fitness By Maggie, she’s helped hundreds ofÂ people and I personally thank her for helping me.Â Ellen Young