By Nathan Gerbino
Before joining Dr. Drew’s daytime television show Lifechangers, Coach Marc Montemerlo trained Hollywood stars like Reese Witherspoon, Chris O’Donnell, and Marcia Cross. He helped them to shed unwanted pounds, gain muscle tone, and improve their overall health and appearance.
His regimen does more than exercise the body. Through his fitness academy, Coach Marc works to exercise minds as well. Says the coach, “if you want to achieve real, long lasting results, you need to tackle mental weakness as well.”
Breaking bad habits is key. Smoking, drinking, overeating and laziness all stem from the mind. If you want to find balance in life – the ultimate goal, according to Coach Marc – it is important to develop habits that lift the spirit and get you moving in the direction towards physical and mental fitness.
Why have you dedicated your life to changing the lives of others?
Coach Marc: Years ago, after I lost my father to suicide, I had to be strong for my sister and mother, supporting them and caring for them on all levels. I put myself second to their needs. About three years later, a friend, who happens to be a life coach, asked me about my dad because I hardly ever spoke about him. I finally released all the emotional stress and anxiety I had bottled up. I was able to put my dad to rest. I had been empowered; recharged. I started sharing the skills I learned with some of my fitness clients, coaching them through their own tough times. I was surprised by how easily it all flowed from me to them. I decided to get my life coaching certification. Now, in addition to helping clients achieve fitness goals, I help them find their life’s path.
How did you get the gig on Dr. Drew’s LifeChanger show?
I published an article on how to maintain balance in life and somehow, the show’s producer stumbled on it. He apparently liked my philosophy regarding fitness and life and called me in for a screen test. The next thing I knew, I was selected as a Life Changer for Dr. Drew.
Why is it important we transform both mind and muscle?
In today’s fast paced world, it is so easy to live on autopilot. But, if we do not stimulate our mental capacity, we end up merely existing. That leads to complacency, then to boredom, then to lack of drive. The greatest thing about exercise and moving the body is that it somehow forces the mind to shift gears and open up.
Does the road to fitness really change lives?
People who work out know the feeling of a natural high that cannot be bought at a store or found in a bottle. The endorphins rush you get after a long run or an intense spin class. That surge of happiness that just keeps you going back for more. I had a client who was confined to a wheel chair. When I first met him, his posture was rounded forward, chin pointed down and low, shoulders, legs and core under developed. He was a weak sight.
What did you do to help him?
I started by getting him out of his chair and onto the exercise mat. I taught him momentum patterns to get up with the least amount of effort. We slowly worked on improving his posture, lifting his chin up and drawing his shoulders back. He needed to know his disability was nothing to be ashamed of and he had to learn pride in himself. By training the mind, the body changes. Six months later, he did his first spin class and eight months later he took his first assisted ten steps towards me.
Are fitter people happier people?
If you exercise, you will be a happier person. You don’t need to be a crazy marathon runner to get the happy bug. All you need to do is get your heart rate up and your blood oxygenated. You will notice things start to change inside of you. The way you think about yourself, others and of life in general will change because you are in the process of empowering yourself. Once you are empowered you can achieve most anything.
The hardest part of the journey is staying on the journey.
Motivation is my favorite topic. Truthfully, it is simple. It comes from within. Staying motivated can be challenging at times. Hell, sometimes I even get down on myself and lack drive. We all do. It’s human nature. But it’s important to have the skills to get motivation back up and drive harder to achieve more. I often use motivational books, videos and meditations to help me stay motivated. The best thing to do is to find someone that exudes motivation and spend as much time as possible with them. Motivation is infectious.
What are examples of mental exercises one can do to stay motivated?
Live in the moment. Often, we get distracted by the little things in life. Set up daily task lists to keep yourself on track. If you remain focused, you will be rewarded with results. Results will drive you to achieve more as achieving stimulates acceleration and then momentum. Once momentum kicks in, there’s nothing that can hold you back.
You also say quiet time is important.
You need time to rejuvenate through meditation and reading. Be calm, clear and get inspired.
What is the biggest mistake people make in their quest for fitness?
Too much, too soon. People enter their training programs really excited and end up pushing themselves too fast and then burning out. Another mistake people make is comparing themselves to fitness models in magazines. They forget theses models do this for a living. To have those awesome amazing bodies, you would need to be in the gym seven days a week, three hours a day. It also requires strict eating plans. And it takes years to get to look like that! If you want to make lasting changes towards a fitter life, be patient and committed.
How important is nutrition?
Along with fitness and strength training, it’s one of the three vital components for optimum results. If my nutrition is off and I have been hitting the sugars and bad stuff, my workouts are terrible and pessimism kicks in big time. If I’m on plan, feeding my body the nutrition it requires to work like an athlete, it’s game on. I work out harder, I achieve more, my mood is better, motivation clearer and I have an internal drive that pushes me further and faster.
Is happiness the ultimate goal?
Having a balanced lifestyle that involves social interaction, working out, excelling in your career and being an all rounded healthy minded person will make you a happier person. Your life is a blessing. Wake up everyday and say, “Wow, I have another day to achieve something. What will that be?” Be good to yourself, be good to others, be good to the earth you live on and become the best person you can be.