Interview with Morit Summers
By BJ Dowen
On a cold rainy winter day in NY City, many of you joined us for our #Take2AndRenew live Facebook takeover starring celebrity trainer Morit Summers where she squatted and curled her gym friends. So, how did an overweight 14 year old girl who hated running, hated sports become one of top sought after trainers by celebrity clients like Ashley Graham?
How did your love of training people begin?
When I was 14, I was overweight, I hated sports, hated running, so I joined a gym with a trainer, to teach me how to get my body moving toward a fitter direction. I struggled with my weight most of high school and college, never quite achieving the “image” of being fit. I tried everything to reduce my size, including weight loss camp aka “Fat Camp” at Camp La Jolla in San Diego, CA.
After you caught the “training bug” and realized you enjoyed lifting weights, how did you feed that passion?
I attended SUNY college for Exercise Science and Kinesiology, between my Junior and Senior year of school I interned all summer at Equinox gym, and when I completed school, my first job was working at the Brooklyn Equinox gym.
What was it like landing a job at an established gym like that? Were there any other trainers there who did not fit the mold of being a size 2, 4, 6?
No, there was no one else there who looked like me, even though I was fit, I was not thin or small. My uniform didn’t fit as the t-shirt was too small. My manager called me fat and told me “I’ll train you so you can fit in”. Now, before you go judging my manager, I was provided some great guidance and motivation along the way to be the very best I could be. I would not have remained there for 10 years if there weren’t many other areas of positive impact there. And for the record, I knew I had no intention of “fitting in” the way traditional training society wants.
How did you make the leap from trainer, to “celebrity” trainer?
A couple of things happened within a few months. Shape Magazine asked for trainer tips, which I provided. Ashley Graham posted a couple photos of me training her on various social media pages, and my social media following started growing quickly, and a lot more attention from online and print media followed.
When did you start curling, lifting, squatting PEOPLE?!?!
Oh yeah, one more thing that greatly increased my visibility was a 15 second video clip that Ashley (Graham) posted of me deadlifting her. That little video was viewed hundreds of thousands of times. I like to keep workouts fun for my clients, and myself. Lifting, curling and squatting people is fun for all.
Recently, you left Equinox to branch out on your own. What has it been like taking that giant leap of faith to leave the security of working for an established business, to doing everything on your own?
Scary! But it was time. Once I accepted that I was “different” and that it was OK to be different, it made the move easier for me. After we did our live Facebook event for FabUplus Magazine, I did a weekly Saturday training series in February for Lane Bryant, where I was wearing a sports bra during training. When I train, I get hot, and I’m comfortable in my own skin to workout wearing a sports bra.
What are your Top 10 fitness tips you would like to share to those who are struggling on their fitness journey
1) You can always workout at home, you don’t have to go to a gym, the important thing is to move.
2) If you prefer to exercise at a gym, the most important movement you can do is step through the doors, it gets easier from there.
3) Look around and find someone you feel comfortable with, like a workout buddy, or simply someone to speak to.
4) If you don’t know where to begin, start on the treadmill or any elliptical trainer, ask for help.
5) Move at least 4 times a week, 2 full workouts, and 2 cardio (which can be walking). 4 hours a week.
6) Include stretching and mobility/recovery before and after workouts.
7) Water – I don’t know anyone who drinks enough water
8) Consume whole foods like vegetables, fruits and proteins
9) Safety first, if you are not sure, ask for help
10) It’s OK to start slow
BJ: What is your motto?
Try. Start…….Just Try!
How do you #Take2AndRenew for yourself?
Now that I’m working for myself, I have more alone time. When I train myself, rather than take transportation, I like to walk the 20 minutes to the gym, during which time, I clear my mind and breathe.