#Inspiration and #goals immediately come to mind when we chat with fitness entrepreneur Marina Santos who designed the 14-Day Metabolism Reset and authored the Radiant Clean. If you don’t know Marina by name, then you’ve certainly seen her face here at Ellie as one of our go-to fitness models and brand ambassadors.
After graduating college dissatisfied with her slowed metabolism, adult acne and low energy levels, the Southern California-based influencer was determined to do something about it. Not only did she do the work to become a personal trainer, but she also created a transformative nutrition program and turned it into a flourishing business. Keep reading to learn more about Marina and how she looks and feels her best.
What’s the day in the life of Marina Santos? Walk us through your AM/PM routine.
I wake up at 7 am and make coffee, then I sit and read for about 30 minutes. I usually reach for a book about business, nutrition and exercise or self improvement. I’ll spend some time answering Facebook messages on my business account—I don’t have customer support, so I’m a one-man band! It’s important to me that I respond to every person and empathize with what they’re going through.
After this, I usually work out. Some days I keep it simple with dumbbells at home or I’ll go into a studio—I really like supporting local studios and other trainers. I eat a healthy breakfast around 10:30 am and lunch around 3 pm. I work from home, so during the day I’m online. We’re building a new website (that will launch soon) and I’m continuously creating more workouts and improving the community. I’ll end the day with a late dinner, if I’m hungry, and then I’ll wind down for the night.
Do you have a favorite workout?
I love doing a mix of circuit, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and functional training. In general, I like things that are high intensity. I don’t love working out for an hour or more unless I’m going to a class.
What’s your favorite kind of workout class?
I like higher intensity classes as well. I go to our local F45 Training, where they do similar workouts to what I do at home, but they include more weights, like sandbags and bars. I love boxing and kickboxing classes, too. It’s so fun and stress relieving to punch something! I also take yoga classes to work on mobility and flexibility. Plus, it forces me to slow down, focus on my muscles and lengthen them.
What’s your favorite exercise to do at home?
If I’m working out on my own, I’m all about getting the most out of a shorter amount of time. My workouts are between 20-30 minutes and involve some sort of cardio that I can do at home—jumping jacks, jumping rope, etc. Then, I include some sort of plyometrics, like burpees and jump squats. I also love planks—it’s the best exercise for your abs and core.
What’s your least favorite workout?
I hate to say this, but I hate spinning. I’ve gone so many times and I just can’t! It’s boring, because you’re doing the same movements the whole class. But as we all know, it’s all about finding what works for you.
How did you first get into fitness?
I grew up in a big sports family, so I got involved at a young age. I played competitive volleyball for 13 years, from age 10 through college.
What motivated you to become a personal trainer?
After earning a degree in broadcast communications, I moved to New York and that’s when everything changed. It was the first time in my life that I was on my own. I wasn’t playing a sport, exercising or paying attention to what I was eating. And all of sudden, my health started to decline. I began having problems with acne and weight gain; it was a really tough time for me.
I went in for a checkup and found that not only was my cholesterol insanely high, but I also had the antibody that caused hypothyroidism. This was a huge wakeup call. I was a 22-year-old with bad cholesterol, a lazy thyroid, acne and sudden weight gain. I decided then and there to make some serious changes.
You could say I was motivated by desperation in a way. I needed to do something for myself and improve my situation. Once it started working for me, I wanted to help other people feel better too. As I continued to learn and grow stronger, I thought “Why don’t I get certified?” And so I did!
Can you break down the details of your 14-Day Metabolism Reset?
It’s a 14-day diet program that’s used to help your body detox and reset your system. The meal plan includes a cycle of low and simple carbs, meaning minimal breads or grains and low levels of sugar and sodium on certain days. After 14 days, you can start adding other foods back into your diet in moderation.
I don’t worry about the quantity you’re eating, I worry about the quality of the nutrients you’re eating. If you’re on day two and feeling hungry, then eat more! Just eat healthy. I want to help women shift their mindset about food—it’s not the enemy, it’s something that can be very enjoyable without depriving yourself.
It was important to me that the recipes were tasty but simple, taking under 30 minutes to prepare. I also made sure that all the recipes called for simple ingredients that people could find anywhere. Usually by week two, most members report feeling great with increased energy and feeling better about how they look.
We’re so excited about your new book, Radiant Clean. What was your inspiration for the book and what can readers expect?
I created Radiant Clean because of my members. The number one request I kept receiving was for more recipes. I collaborated with a creative partner in Europe and I brainstormed ideas and found recipes, while she focused on photography and recipe development. It was a team effort.
I’m not a certified nutritionist, but I wanted to focus on what people need to know when they’re trying to eat healthy. For example, what to do when you’re eating out with your friends and how to get support from those around you. It takes vulnerability and courage to change your eating habits, and it can be hard to talk about. I wanted to make sure that this book offered solutions for that.
What are some of your plans’ favorite foods or recipes?
From the 14-Day Metabolism Reset, my favorite recipe is the Ground Turkey Lettuce Wrap. It reminds me of eating tacos, but I’m not! It’s super easy; it only takes about 10-15 minutes to cook and it’s so tasty and pretty. There’s something about eating food that looks good on a plate that makes it so much more enjoyable.
Another go-to recipe I love is the One Pan Chicken and Veggies. One pan dishes are so easy—you can make them with fish, steaks or any vegetables. You just chop everything, throw it in a pan, add seasoning (I love chipotle powder or Italian herbs), and toss it in the oven. This recipe is also great for leftovers. I’ll use the chicken in a lunch salad and throw the veggies in with my eggs in the morning.
It’s your cheat day! How do you spend it?
I don’t even believe in cheat days! I don’t like the association of it. I don’t think having a slice of pizza is me cheating. It’s just me enjoying my life!
What’s the most rewarding part of creating the 14-Day Metabolism Reset—not just for yourself, but for your clients?
By far the most rewarding part of it all has been getting to know the women in our community and hearing their feedback. I get messages all the time from women sharing their stories and hardships. They’ll say they’ve never felt so good or they achieved goals they never thought they would. I’ve cried reading people’s messages, because there are so many people suffering from poor body image and who lack body positivity. To be able to help these women or have even the smallest impact on how they feel about themselves, there’s nothing better to me!
My Facebook and Instagram are an open door to anyone who is struggling. I hope I can help people feel beautiful and great in their own bodies!
To learn more about the 14-Day Metabolism Reset and Radiant Clean or if you’re interested in joining Marina’s fitness community, you can get started by following her on Facebook or Instagram @marinasantosfit