Life lessons from trainer Linzi Martinez
The beloved personal trainer and host of the award-winning Happy Healthy Stronger web series shares benchmark moments along a road paved with passion and positivity
- Everything in life is a choice, except death and taxes. If you choose to perceive something negatively, that’s your choice. I choose to see the good. You have one life to live. Why not look at things in a way that propels you instead of stopping you?
- For much of my life, I had been involved in gymnastics. I started at age 2. In my early teens, I took five years off because I just wasn’t good enough to make the Provincial team in Ontario [Canada], where I grew up. You’re supposed to be done in gymnastics by 18. But I made the Provincial team for the first time at the unheard-of age of 19. I was the oldest on that team by five years.
- At 23, I tore my ACL. That was the end of my gymnastics career as an athlete. But I coached gymnastics into my mid-30s. Competitive sports, for me, breed discipline and develop character. You have to be devoted, and you have to be passionate, to put that much time into it. And that spreads across your entire life—for life. You can access those skills as an adult.
- When the first digital camera by Nikon came out, I bought it—and it sat in my closet for two years. After my divorce, I moved to Florida in 2004 with [son Ethan, now 22; and daughters Baily, now 20, and Milan, now 17] from Pennsylvania, and I decided to be a photographer. I went back to school and took Adobe Photoshop classes, learned everything I could, and took every job that anyone gave me. It changed my life.
- I was very shredded during this time. I always went to the gym, and I have a six-pack. So, some of my photography clients in Boca Raton started asking me to train them. Within two months, I had almost 40 hours a week of training sessions. It took over everything.
- You know when you’re so in the moment that you could have the sky fall down beside you during a hurricane and you wouldn’t even notice it? That’s what happened as the training took off. I felt euphoric. My life became so much more fulfilling. It wasn’t just about me anymore. It was about everyone else.
- True happiness comes from giving. And it’s not giving things. It’s giving of yourself. I feel that any success I’ve had is because my interest isn’t about “Look at me, look at me.” My interest is about, “How can I help this person feel better than they do today?”
- Happy Healthy Stronger started in 2015 on social media. I was posting pictures and little motivational things, and the response was amazing. I had the opportunity to do my own web-based interview-style talk show; it ran for two-plus years and topped 100,000 online views weekly. But I wanted a larger hyper-local reach to create even more change.
- I had an idea to cast three local people and chronicle their makeover over five weeks. To secure sponsors, I posted a short workout video almost every day for more than a year. Sometimes the videos were by myself, sometimes with my clients. And they caught on. I’d have a few thousand people, in this niche market, watching my videos within 24 hours. With [that audience], I was able to find 26 sponsors for the makeover idea. The money raised allowed us to hire a camera crew and staff to create not only a social media campaign, as originally planned, but also a three-episode TV show. [Note: The Happy Healthy Stronger Makeover TV series debuted Aug. 7, 2018, across the online Women’s Broadcast Television Network, which streams across internet TV platforms such as Roku and Apple TV.]
- I’m a Pisces. I’m a dreamer. I’m not big on follow-through. I needed to hire people to keep me focused, and I learned that I can’t wear all the hats. You have to stick with what you’re good at and plug the holes with other talent. For the first time in my life, I plugged all the holes, so I wasn’t leaking—and the concept took off like a rocket ship.
- If you believe in yourself, the universe starts showing you things. I’m living proof. After producing the HHS series, I know I can do anything.
Linzi, 51, is a certified personal trainer and nutritional therapist whose clients have included tennis players Chris Evert and Madison Keys.
The Happy Healthy Stronger Series earned two New Media Star awards—Best Documentary and Best Host—at the 2019 Miami Web Fest.
The Boca Raton resident, a native of Toronto, continues to operate the full-service photography company that she started two decades ago.