Mind Over Matter
A dedicated fitness and nutrition program can make all the difference.
For native New Orleanian Leilani Heno, owner at X-Trainers, it was her own personal health that led her to a career in the fitness industry. Over the years, she gained and lost 100 pounds five times. It was a pattern that eventually caused a lot of harm to her body and organs, and she damaged her thyroid to the point that 80 percent of it had to be removed. “Unfortunately, I had it removed when I was still 80 pounds overweight,” she says. “With only a small amount of my thyroid remaining, I was forced to learn the biology behind weight loss in order to lose the last 80 pounds for good. I did every diet known until I learned the science behind metabolism and food use. I began training clients as an experiment and quickly learned that I was able to duplicate significant weight loss over and over.”
Heno started X-Trainers in 1991. She quickly found that many of her clients were getting completely off of their blood pressure and cholesterol medications. “When some doctors were reducing their prescribed insulin, I could see that I was doing much more than delivering weight loss — I was making a fundamental change in each client’s life,” she says. “In addition, watching a client’s self-esteem increase gives me the greatest satisfaction.”
There are a number of ways that X-Trainers is unique:
Privacy: “Our 3,500-square-foot facility is completely private,” Heno says. “We do not take walk-ins. Everyone training is with a trainer who is providing each client with their undivided attention.”
Nutrition: “We recognize that exercise and nutrition go hand and hand,” Heno says. “Breaking down muscle is useless if it is not built back properly. We offer optional nutritional monitoring to every client. The reason why X-Trainers clients have such a high fat loss success rate is because they eat following the X-Trainers PV²™ System. The PV-squared system is one protein (the size of your hand) and two veggies (the size of two hands).”
Accountability: “Our trainers have a vested interest,” Heno says. “Trainers earn bonuses based on client progress. This keeps our trainers focused on reaching client goals.”
Variety: “I challenge my team to provide unique exercises around our proven training system,” Heno says.
Overall, Heno enjoys the many positives that come from her work in the fitness industry. “Making a fundamental change in each client’s life without the use of surgery or artificial drugs that simply suppress ailments is huge for me,” she says. “Watching a client’s self-esteem increase, which sometimes leads to them making a major life change, such as starting their own business or leaving an abusive relationship. At X-Trainers we have a 94 percent fat loss success rate. Last year, collectively, our clients lost 777 pounds. As wonderful as that is, I get the biggest joy when a client can now walk to his own mailbox without waiting for a neighbor’s help to bring in a box or a grandmother who can now pick up her two-year old grandson.”
On average, clients at X-Trainers train twice per week. That includes the upper body one day and the lower body the next. There is also two minutes of high intensity cardio, which is relative to every client, in between. Heno personally follows the same regimen, except she also practices karate two or three times per week.
ON STAYING MOTIVATED
“Variety: I get bored very easily, so doing active things keeps me on track,” Heno says. “But what’s most important is that this activity is structured. Having a trainer locks you into set times.
Meal Prep: I cook for the week or for at least three days on a Sunday for the first three busiest days of the week. This way, when you are busy, rushed or drained, you don’t have to think about what to eat — so you always have something healthy. Vision board: I keep pictures of my goals readily in front of me daily to stay focused.”
“The X-Trainers PV²™ System: one protein (the size of your hand) and two veggies (the size of two hands) for breakfast, lunch and dinner with two snacks (mostly nuts) in between,” Heno says. “X-Trainers’ clients who follow our general PV-squared eating guidelines reach their weight loss goals up to 50 percent faster. My favorite food is sushi. I could eat it every day. My guilty pleasure is Trader Joe’s Crunchy Cookie Butter. One serving is perfectly fine for a snack, but to me it’s like crack. Therefore, I can only buy it periodically.”
“Our recent biggest loser is Marcus Stein,” Heno says.” He lost 30 pounds in his first five weeks. He trains with us two days a week and follows the X-Trainers’ eating plan to the letter. Tracy Thomson, owner of Kabuki Hats did the same in about eight weeks. The largest loser was Nick, [who] lost over 200 pounds following our same regime.”
“Consistency is key,” Heno says. “Lock yourself into a plan and commit to sticking with it for a minimum of six months. Movement of any kind works in general, but that movement must be consistent. Just joining a gym will not provide accountability. Each person should decide on what will keep him or her accountable to exercise a minimum of twice a week and eat a low sugar diet daily. Personal training provides that accountability. This is why I believe that one-on-one is the most successful option.”