Pro Tips: Total Gym Diet Secrets from Maria Sollon

Breaking Down Your Diet Based on Your Goals:

Professional trainers have to be educated in all aspects of fitness to provide the best outcome. A great workout routine WILL produce results, however, the correct diet accelerates your success! Everyone will have a different experience and approach for what works best. You can be your own judge!

As a professional in the industry for over 20 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many types of clientele. I’ve learned that each person will respond differently to tactics and advice. Just remember, you are unique and your body may respond differently than someone else. You will decide what you need and what works for you.

Generally speaking, the secret to the proper diet is to eat real foods that are rich in nutrients and colorful. Yes, it is that simple, yet so challenging! Here are some of my favorite quick tips as a guide. Feel free to tweak the advice to accommodate your body’s needs for your specific goals:

  1. Pre-Workout Snacks:

Depending on what type of workout you are performing, try to eat a light snack or meal at least an hour before you workout. This way your body will have the energy to fuel you through the workout and you won’t feel heavy or full. If you are performing a longer cardio session, you may need more fuel (calories) to keep your energy high.


Example: Hard-boiled eggs on a spinach salad, rice cake & almond butter or a fresh greens juice.

  1. Post-Workout Meal:

Follow your workout by hydrating with water and eat a meal within 30 minutes of completion. Add a lean protein source to repair and replenish your muscles.

Example: Protein shake with spinach or a salad containing a lean protein, such as fish or chicken.

  1. Weight Loss:

If your goal is to lose weight and fat, and gain lean muscle, focus on eating smaller, extremely clean meals that are rich in nutrients. Try to keep your meals no bigger than your fist, but don’t starve yourself! I suggest sticking to more green leafy vegetables and lean proteins. Limit your grains, sugars, dairy, and alcohol intake. Eat your largest meal at breakfast or lunch, and try not to eat anything heavy late at night!

Example: Vegetable juices or smoothies (NO DAIRY), salads with a lean protein using olive oil or lemon juice.

  1. Mass Gain:

If your goal is to build muscle mass, you need to focus on taking in more calories. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to eat more food, rather plan your meals to have a rich source of nutrients and more calories. You will also need to plan to eat more often throughout the day.

Example: For breakfast try oatmeal with protein powder, raisins, banana, almond butter, and chia seeds.

  1. Supplements:

This is very personal to each individual. I generally do not feel comfortable recommending supplements unless I know my client well and have done the appropriate research for them prior to suggesting anything to take. I would only suggest a more natural approach such as homeopathic remedies or non-chemical products to aid in whole body health. I feel a natural approach is better for your health and body in the long run. I believe foods can heal. If the right nutrients are eaten, you will not have to supplement with anything else.  However, if you have certain concerns such as circulation issues, adding aloe vera juice or cayenne pepper into your water can really help aid in noticing a difference!

14 Ways Fitness Pros Can Help You Achieve Your Best

Determining the most effective method of exercise, the right food selections and knowing what really works is a challenge in itself. The reality is, you can workout on your own…but knowing proven tricks of the trade can get you results faster, safer and can place you on the best path for success!

Fitness has been my passion and way of life for over 20 years. Successful habits for a healthy lifestyle include scheduling workouts, monitoring intensity, and changing routines to accomplish specific goals, while eating a healthy, clean and well-balanced diet, and finding ways to keep motivated through the process! Fitness professionals learn different methods that work and are able to share their expertise to help others accomplish their desired goals.

Seeking advice from fitness professionals can be an excellent source for your success. Whether you find a trainer at a local fitness center or seek guidance on the Total Gym Pulse blog, below are a few ways fitness professionals can help you get the most out of your workouts:

  1. Setting realistic goals
  2. Learning proper exercise form
  3. Learning how to prevent injury
  4. Learning how to recover from injury
  5. Learning appropriate modifications for challenging exercises (example: push-ups & squats)
  6. Assisting in choosing appropriate exercises to accomplish a specific goal
  7. Education on how to choose the right fitness programs
  8. Learning about proper nutrition and appropriate diet choices for specific goals
  9. Providing motivation
  10. Learning new exercises / routines
  11. Choosing the best workout gear
  12. Team building & social outlet
  13. Learning the latest and greatest fitness trends
  14. Learning modifications to keep the progress going



Fitness Apps:

There are some great fitness apps out there that can keep you on track and motivate to accomplish your training goals. Here are some of my favorites to check out:


  • Daily Burn: motivational tips / workouts & more
  • Fitbit: tracks workouts / diet / calories burned & more
  • RunKeeper: tracks cardio sessions  & more
  • Sleep: records your sleep habits
  • MapMyRun: GPS tracks your cardio workouts
  • Nike+Training Club (N+TC): variety of workouts to choose from
  • Tabata: training interval timer

There are tons of great apps out there that you may currently use as well as new ones to try. Ask others what they use or like. Here’s a more (link to detailed look and review of apps to add to your fitness repertoire. Apps are great tools that we have in our modern world and can assist us to achieve success!


I hope my tips and suggestions have provided you with the education, motivation, and willingness to start accomplishing great things. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask about a specific topic.


Best always,



Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. (purchasable workout videos) (workout clips)

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