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Overcoming Obstacles


For this local personal trainer, dedication is the key to fitness success.


Emile Tujague III, personal trainer and owner at SMX Personal Training, was born and raised in New Orleans. “I have never had any thoughts of leaving,” he says. “New Orleans is truly what I call home. “As most know, the Tujague family has not been involved with the restaurant for many years now. However through some casual research and a little digging, it does seem we have some distant ties.”

But the reason Tujague got involved in fitness has nothing to do with NOLA’s incredible food scene. When he was young, he had a physical condition that prevented him from participating in most athletic activities, particularly running. “Therefore, I had never picked up the basic sport skills that my peers had gradually learned from being exposed to P.E. class, little league and other team sport engagements,” Tujague says. “So on the days that I would muster the courage to give it a shot and ‘step into the batter’s box,’ I was often met with a humiliating outcome due to my lack of experience. As you know, kids can be particularly cruel at certain ages, and, instead of being met with encouragement, it was typically ridicule.”

When eighth grade rolled around, it was announced that there would be a school-wide physical fitness challenge. In preparation for the event, Tujague spent his time at recess on the monkey bars working on chin-ups. At home, he dedicated part of his evenings doing push-up and sit-up drills in the privacy of his bedroom.

“I recall having two very small glasses: One I filled with wooden matchsticks and one was empty,” Tujague says. “After each completed workout, I would strike a match and deposit the spent match into the other glass. This was my way of logging how many workouts I had accomplished during a given time frame. When the Fitness Challenge was finally upon us, to the surprise of all the students (particularly the ‘jocks’), I completely swept each and every competition. This moment provided me with a life changing bolster in confidence, and taught me some very important life lessons. It was also a clear demonstration that — even for an under dog — with dedication, effort and desire, one can overcome obstacles and accomplish goals that seem out of reach.”

Then, in 1996, Tujague and a friend he met in the Exercise Physiology curriculum at UNO opened a studio that was called One To One Personal Training and Clinical Exercise Facility in Uptown. In July 2014, he formed SMX Personal Training (Slow Motion Exercise).

Understandably, the best way to capitalize on fitness results is to use a smart, effective, safe and efficient method. “The method that we utilize is the only method that I have found that consistently holds true to what I’ve learned in classical biology, kinesiology and even mechanical physics,” Tujague says. “Your true goal should be to fatigue and inroad your muscles to stimulate a positive exercise response. By simply slowing things down, it forces your body to do the actual work. At Slow Motion Exercise, we sometimes spend as long as 10 seconds just to lift the weight and another 10 seconds to lower the weight. This promotes a much higher quality of muscle fiber stimulation. Our average training sessions take approximately 30 minutes.” There are no contracts, commitments or monthly dues. 735 Octavia St., (504) 236-4121, [email protected], smxtraining.com


“Being in the fitness industry is a constant reminder for me to keep myself up,” Tujague says. “I am certainly no bodybuilder or athlete, but staying fit, strong and healthy is certainly important to representing myself as a fitness professional.”

“For any fitness program to be fully complete, diet is essential,” Tujague says. “The rules I follow are never skip breakfast (eggs, egg substitute or Special K Cereal) and be certain that each meal is mostly protein-based. My wife helps me prepare a number of dishes at home and sorts them into individual containers to bring to work. Most of these are protein-based meals with a vegetable, such as a lean grilled pork chop with broccoli, salmon with asparagus, chicken breast or grilled chicken salad. I am a strong believer in feeding an average of 5-6 times per day in order to stay anabolic, keep my metabolism burning, and to maintain steady blood sugar levels.”

“This female client struggled with weight her entire life,” Tujague says. “She had a body frame that didn’t seem like could ever be lean. She was from out of state, and the introduction to New Orleans cuisine certainly wasn’t helping. She started training with me very regularly two times per week. She really put her heart into it as it was very important to her. One day, I found a note on the windshield of my car from my client. The note informed me that she had made a quick trip back home, and the reactions of all of her friends and family when they saw the “new her,” was that of astonishment. The satisfaction that I felt was hard to measure.”

“Do your homework.” Tujague says. “Interview your potential trainers. Let them give you a detailed overview of what they can offer and how they can help you. Ask questions to see how well rounded they really are and if their plan will fit your needs. Make sure the trainer can see and appreciate your individual needs and has the variety of skills, tools and insight to address them specifically.”