From Party Girl to Successful Entrepreneur
July Cover Star, Coach Maria Gargiulo

Hi! For those that don’t know me, my name is Maria Gargiulo and I am from Springfield, Missouri. I am a little midwest gal that has been living in Orange County, California from the past two years. I own a company called The  Me, Myself and Health Academy which has helped over 1,000 women transform their mind and body by teaching them how to create sustainable habits around their health and fitness!

My journey to SUCCESS and FIT has been a wild ride and I’d like to share it with you! Let’s start with birth shall we? I was born in London, England and resided there with my parents and sister for 6 years. We then moved to Sicily, Italy where I did all my elementary schooling before moving to Springfield, MO. Changing languages and countries twice at such a young age was very difficult for me. The language, clothes, and culture were all different.

After high school I went to Missouri State University, completed my general education requirements ,and never went back. Although I had a 3.9 GPA in high school, college just didn’t seem right for me. I didn’t know why. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I did not know what I was good at. So, I took a few years to try and figure it out.

I always knew I loved makeup and beauty. In 2014 I enrolled in the Academy of Hair and Design and obtained my esthetics certification and started working at a spa. At the time I was also working at my father’s restaurant (Bruno’s Italian Restaurant) for extra cash, and working at a local engineering firm (Pinnacle Design Consultants) as their executive coordinator. I was keeping plenty busy trying to distract myself from the pain of my failed 6 year relationship.

2015-2017 was a crazy two years for me. I was working 60 hour weeks and really going nowhere. My lifestyle consisted of working 8 am to 10 pm and then going out for drinks after work to socialize. The little sleep, lack of exercises, unhealthy quick fuel sources, and weekly alcohol consumption caused me to slowly gain a solid 25-30 lbs.

I started to eat healthy during the week and felt like I was progressing. I’d wake up early and go to the gym and do some machines and cardio. I really had no idea how to use free weights and was embarrassed to try. Then on the weekends I would blow it out of the water. I called it “balance”. I’d eat sushi, get Mexican with the girls, and have a few drinks each night. I’d stay up late with friends since weekends were really my only free time to do anything. The weight kept packing on.

I started to wear Spanx under my dresses. I would tuck my stomach fat into the front of my jeans when I would sit down so that from the side I looked skinnier… I would wear baggier clothes so that no one would see my love handles having out. At the lake, I would only take my cover up off if I was a few drinks/shots in. I was truly miserable in my own skin, but no one knew because I hid it very well. Going out was a total nightmare. I would go through 2 or 3 outfits and start shaming myself. Nothing looked right. I felt uncomfortable. Things were hugging all the wrong places. Don’t even get me started on shopping…let alone swimsuit shopping. Those days were followed by self sabotage at Maria’s Mexican Restaurant. I am already here in this body might as well have the chips, guacamole, and Traditional margaritas!

I was so frustrated that eating clean during the week was not working for me. I wasn’t seeing results in the gym and was getting very discouraged. I had accepted that my family’s genes would keep me at this weight and that I would have a tire around my waist for the rest of my life. I would stop trying and then start again. I was the queen of saying “I am going to start Monday”, or “I am going to start next month!”, or “I will start after…(insert whatever event)”. That day would come and go like clouds in the sky. Still no change…in fact it kept getting worse.

One day I woke up and looked at myself in the mirror and said “THAT’S IT”. Something had to change. My fat pants were now tight, I was broke from living a lifestyle I could not afford, and I was going nowhere with my life. I confided in my best friend and her and we signed up for a slim down program together. I put that program on my credit card. Even though I couldn’t afford it, I also knew that I couldn’t afford living like that anymore.  I cut out most of my weekly drinking and going out, I started to eat more food on a daily basis so I wasn’t binging on the weekends as much, and I was consistently weight training with a plan and purpose. 

My body started to change. I lost 15 lbs in 3 months. Once my coach and I started to see how my physique looked, I decided to continue my fitness journey and head into a competition prep. During this time I FELL IN LOVE with my new process. I loved waking up early to go to the gym, I loved how my body felt eating clean food most of the time, I loved how clear headed I was now that it was not clouded with crap food and booze. The competition prep allowed for me to take a step back from my life and really examine it. That old way of living was not serving me anymore. I suddenly had something to work towards. I had a goal….the goal was to place at a bodybuilding show.

I continued to work my 3 jobs and finished my competition prep with a Bang! First place novice and in my height class. It was then I knew that I had found my passion. Health. Fitness. Transformation. I started to help others change their ways. I suggested ways they could eat and train. I watched them succeed. My heart filled with joy each time they reached their goals. I decided to get my personal training certification and decided that this was what I wanted to do. I wanted my passion to be something I did every day. Hello job #4!

I started training at a gym part time. I was fully booked very quickly. I was training for another competition at the same time and quickly got burnt out. I noticed that some of my in-person clients were not getting the same results  as my others ones. After talking with them at each session, I realized it was because I was only helping them with 4% of their day…the hour they were with me. They had no idea what to do with the other 96%. They needed help with their nutrition, their mindsets, and their lifestyle  habits.  This realization is how my little business started. 

I wanted to help more women but didn’t have the time. I was burnt out doing all my jobs and prepping for my first national show. I had seen online coaches before but had no idea how to transition into the space. I figured if I could do this online and get super organized I could help more women from a holistic standpoint.

I took a HUGE leap of faith and invested in a business school to help me switch from being an in-person trainer to online health coach.  This school was the second decision that changed my life forever. I put that hefty payment on my credit card too. I couldn’t afford it, but I also couldn’t afford living paycheck to paycheck, appointment to appointment, job to job, and have no free time. Plus, my health was declining. I was so stressed that I was having massive eczema flare ups all over my face. Something had to change.

Once I started my business it immediately took off. I was so blessed to have immediate support from friends and family. As I kept competing and climbing the national ranks, I started to get social media traction. This is how Live Fit Apparel found me. I started with them as an ambassador and quickly moved to sponsored athlete! My mind was blown that  they believed in my business and talents.

My business kept growing. I started to hire staff. I was no longer a one woman show. I wanted my clients to get the BEST services and that required more eyes and better tools. Slowly I started quitting my side gigs so that I could fully concentrate on my dreams. I soon realized the power of investing in my health. And how that fist action changed my life forever. That little slim down program created this empire of healthy women and saved me from going down a path of unfulfillment, settling,  and self destruction. 

I’ve had the privilege of helping over 1000 women worldwide change their lives. This was not done alone. I’ve had a lot of help. I’ve had my own fitness coach for 5 years to continue to help me with my body. I have a brand coach. I have a mindset coach. I will ALWAYS be investing in myself and my business because I know the value that comes from it. My new lifestyle allowed for me to climb out of $30k in debt, move out to sunny California, and travel the world. Something I only thought was possible in dreams and movies.

My health journey has not been perfect by any means. I’ve dealt with hormonal  imbalances and gained 20 pounds. I’ve also lost 30 lbs again for a bodybuilding show. I’ve had moments where I really wanted to quit. Or I think it would be easier to just be fluffy and work an  8 to 5 again. I’ve had moments where I’ve felt sorry for myself and my PCOS and almost thrown in the towel because it’s genetically harder for me to stay fit. But I didn’t.

I know for a fact that this lifestyle is WAY better than the lifestyle I was living. I am fulfilled. I have purpose. I have energy. I have love. I have excitement. I have stability. I don’t fear food. Food doesn’t control me. I am no longer drowning my sorrows in food and alcohol. I am no longer waking up dreading the day. I am no longer surviving the week. I AM THRIVING!

For those of you that think you cannot change your body and your life, for those who  think it’s just not meant to be, or that your genes are holding you back, or that you are that lemon and it’s impossible to have that dream body…. YOU CAN CHANGE. If you can dream it, you can create it. All you need is a driving force, the right strategy, and a willingness to change. Is it scary? YES. Is it uncomfortable? YES. Will you make mistakes? YES. I promise you…. YOU on the other side is ABSOLUTELY WORTH THE FIGHT.

Based on my transformation journey and experience I wanted to give you some tips on how you can start your own!

  1. Eat more colorful whole foods.
  2. Drink more water.
  3. Build muscle all over your body.
  4. Get 10k steps daily.
  5. Get 8 hours of sleep.
  6. Limit your alcohol intake.
  7. Don’t be afraid of carbs.
  8. Eat more protein.
  9. Change your friend group to one that supports your new lifestyle.
  10. Find someone/something to keep you accountable.

For some it’s easier than others. For those who are doing the above but still struggling with consistency, INVEST in your health. Hire that coach, buy that program, pay for those classes/training sessions. Either you pay for good health now you will be paying for bad health later. It’s OK not to be able to do it on your own at first. Asking for help does not make you any less worthy. It just makes you smarter. It saves you time, energy, and money. It buys you freedom, happiness, and memories.

I hope that my story has inspired you, motivated you, and given you hope. I am here to help you and serve you. If you need anything at all feel free to find me on Instagram (@maria_g_fit), Facebook (Maria Gargiulo), or you are welcome to email me at maria@mariagfit.com. To hear more about my story and clients feel free to check my website out at www.mariagfit.com

Reach out anytime! Let’s grow! 

Coach Maria

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