Elmore McConnell is the Owner/CEO of We Train Atlanta, a personal training facility located in Atlanta, Georgia. We got an opportunity to speak with Elmore about his success as a personal trainer and tips for losing weight the right way.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Can you tell us a little about how you got into fitness and what inspired you to take that route with your career?
ELMORE MCCONNELL: Well, I got my degree in Fitness Management from Mississippi State University in 2005. I’d sat down with an academic counselor and she described different degree programs and I wanted to do something involving business but I didn’t want to do a boring job where I’d always be locked down behind a desk. So what she did was find a degree that would basically allow me to dabble in business but also allow me to be active as well. And that’s how we got to Fitness Management.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: As a child or a teen were you involved in any sports or anything like that?
EM: I was…I was a track and field athlete so throughout college I ran track and field. Coming up as a kid, all the other kids used to do what I did as far as exercising and I was training myself in order to be better at my sport. I did basketball, football and track growing up in Alabama.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Oh wow…you did a lot.
EM: Yep, I was in sports year round because in the neighborhood I came out of, you know it was a poverty stricken neighborhood, it was high crime and things like that. I had to stay busy and that was one of the ways that my parents knew that I would stay out of trouble.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: So how did you end up in Atlanta?
EM: I picked Atlanta because you know…you have a lot of women here so that was an attraction for me and then all of the Black people who are very successful here was another attractive point. I came here to see if Atlanta was gonna live up to the hype and next thing you know, I’m loving it here. I’m enjoying the environment, I’m enjoying all the entrepreneurs here, I’m enjoying all my mentors and it’s just a great place to be.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: And you’re having a lot of success in Atlanta and I just want to take a moment to congratulate you on that. Speaking of your success with your personal training, what do you consider your “main” expertise to be?
EM: I specialize in body transformation and that’s basically taking a person from one extreme if they’re 250 pounds all the way down if they wanted to weigh 180 pounds or 150 pounds. So those people who are tough to train, usually people who have failed time and time again. I have success with those people who are in on the fitness journey for the long haul. I have my most success with those people because I can relate to their story because people have given up on them. They’ve been discriminated against because of their body weight, in some careers they haven’t been promoted because of their size and I can relate to having that chip on your shoulder.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: How do you motivate them? I know that part of your weight loss journey and your body transformation is that you stay motivated. Is there anything special that you do with your clients to keep them motivated?
EM: I always love to get to know my clients and find out why they’re there. As far as their journey, what made them want to lose weight and then I find out what their purpose is. I found out that when you find out a person’s purpose and tie it in to their goals, they’re more driven. Does that make sense?
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Yes, it sure does.
EM: So with those clients, I want to make sure their goals are bigger than their obstacles. Once their goals are bigger than their obstacles they will overcome any excuse, push away from any dessert, they’ll go home earlier rather than staying out late at night and turn those drinks down. I also try not to lower my standards. I set my bar high and once I do that, I have high expectations for my clients. They then begin to see their true potential.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: That is so cool. Now we’re heading into a new season, the weather is about to warm up and this is a big time, especially for women, to get into the gym and get ready for the summer. I know I’m trying to do that myself but for some reason I just can’t get my discipline together. Do you have any tips for those of us who really desire to get fit but we get lazy? What can we do become more disciplined?
EM: I was always taught and I don’t know if this could be taken the wrong way, but you always have to prepare. There’s a saying – with piss poor performance, you’ll fail every time. When you’re prepared, you have success. You always want to make sure you’re prepared for what you want to do and you have a clear plan even if it’s just “run one mile five days a week.”
My other suggestion would be to find a support system. There’s a website called Meetup.com that will allow you to have that. My third suggestion would be to join a group like Black Girls Run. I would advise joining some of those free things to get you started.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: We’ve heard the saying that losing weight is 80% what you eat and only 20% of exercise. Do you agree with that?
EM: The thing is you have some vegans who are overweight. Does that make sense? These are people who eat healthy, right? So there’s definitely a science behind it. You must work out. I tell my clients that its 33.3% nutrition, 33.3% exercise and then 33.3% Elmore the body transformation expert. It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: So you don’t have to say “I’ll just change my eating habits and my body is gonna transform?”
EM: You do have to change your eating habits but it’s deeper than that – it’s a behavior change. When you change a person’s behavior, they’ll change their environment. For instance being around people who eat badly will make you more likely to eat that way.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Before we go, do you have anything coming up for us to be on the lookout for?
EM: I do, I have a few boot camps planned for the summer and I have a project I’m working on that’s a secret so I can’t say much about it yet. Some of my boot camps will even be free.
For more information on working with Elmore, visit him online at www.Atlanta-PersonalTraining.com.