Nino Magaddino was in his early 20s when depression, anxiety and confusion came at him in waves, knocking him down and holding him under. “I just wasn’t in a good place,” the certified master trainer and owner of Max Flex Fitness in Naples says. “But I noticed when I started to exercise, I was happier and felt like I had more of a purpose.”
It wasn’t until Magaddino found his purpose that he started to accomplish his goals. For the first time, he saw not only who he was but who he wanted to become. Since starting in 2011, Magaddino has grown Max Flex Fitness to include nearly 10 nationally accredited fitness and wellness consultants.
And the focus isn’t on lifting weights or doing cardio; it’s about seeing the person you want to become and going about it the same way an athlete would train for a competition. “I think it’s empowering,” says Magaddino, who specializes in personal and corporate training. “When I receive a new client, they might be overweight or feel pressure to lose weight. We try to change their frame of mind. If I can get them to feel they are training as an athlete, that can be more motivating than saying, ‘You need to lose 25 or 30 pounds.’”
Magaddino agrees the red-hot Crossfit phenomenon of the early 2000s spurred functional fitness programs focused on the concept that everyone is an athlete, whether they embrace it or not.
A proliferation of athletic apparel companies urging people to train like athletes has further created a niche market in training, nutrition and mind-body wellness offerings. “I think people wanted to enjoy more of an active, healthy lifestyle, especially here in Naples,” Magaddino says. “That means playing sports like tennis, golf or even playing with your kids and grandkids.”
Clients become stronger, but they still need to move functionally. “Our training is training them to move like an athlete. We like to focus more on balance, agility, strength and core and even plyometrics that transfer even more into everyday life.”
Traditional strength training focuses on push-pull movements on one plane of motion. But life is multi-dimensional, moving side-to-side and twisting and turning. “Science and data showed functional training was preventing injury and getting them stronger in everyday life,” Magaddino says. “[Crossfit] was a fantastic movement designed to teach people how to work out functionally, but what they found was a lot of people were getting injured because, maybe, of the coaching.”
In the fitness industry since 2001, Magaddino became a certified personal trainer and then had to build 10 years of coaching experience and multiple other qualifications before he became a master trainer. He’s one of only 100 National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified master trainers in the U.S., and the only one in Collier County. He pours that experience into his athletes, whom he notices more and more are female.
Magaddino said women have been particularly drawn to the concept of training like an athlete, receiving a sense of empowerment that only comes with conquering goals. The chiseled bodies and increased energy are just some of the side benefits.
The interest has been so strong Magaddino recently created a 28-day all-female accountability group focusing on daily habit and lifestyle coaching coupled with weekly accountability emails and calls. Customized meal plans, recipe guides and weekly team Zoom calls create an atmosphere to help his female clients bond while accomplishing goals.
THINKING LIKE AN ATHLETE
Laurie Martin is a certified life coach who helps both amateur and professional athletes with stress relief, meditation and working through obstacles to achieve their goals. Her business— Smile Across Your Heart—provides business and life coaching, yoga instruction and tips on stress relief. Three of her classes are approved by the Florida Department of Nursing and Florida Department of Nursing Assistants, and she’s authored three books.
“The mind is really important,” the yoga instructor and wellness guru says in discussing an athlete’s mindset. “We do the physical poses, but I really focus on the mental and the inner chatter, because that’s everything. Where is the mind while you’re doing the physical activity?”
Martin said framing what you’re going through makes all the difference. And training like an athlete begins with thinking like one. “Emotions can get in the way of a lot of goals. Focus is the most important thing,” she says. “Where are we focused? More important than that is what we’re focused on supporting us or hurting us. Are we focused on solutions or the problem?”