Margie Berlin began her journey as a fitness professional at the YMCA in Basking Ridge, New Jersey where she quickly established herself as a dynamic and results-driven trainer/group fitness instructor. She completed her Personal Training/ Group Fitness and Spinning Certifications from leading fitness organizations, including the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), and Mad Dogs Athletic (Spinning). These certifications equipped her with a comprehensive understanding of exercise physiology, nutrition principles, and client-centered coaching techniques.
In addition to her work as a personal trainer/group fitness coach, Margie is passionate about educating others on the importance of healthy eating and wellness. She regularly conducts workshops, seminars, and online tutorials on topics ranging from nutrition fundamentals to stress management techniques, empowering her clients to cultivate balanced and sustainable lifestyles.
Married for 28 years and mother to two adult children, Margie balances her active life-style with her other passions – reading historical fiction, playing Mahjong and Backgammon.
Can you point to one event that triggered your interest in your career?
After the birth of my son 24 years ago and gaining a vast amount of weight, I decided to go back to something that really mattered to me, and something I was very passionate about. Recognizing the transformation power of exercise and healthy eating, I decided to channel my passion into a career as a fitness coach, personal trainer and group fitness instructor. My son’s arrival not only marked the beginning of a new chapter in my personal life, but also ignited a professional calling that continues to inspire and fulfill me every day.
What about this career choice did you find most appealing?
The most appealing aspect of a career in the fitness industry was the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on people’s lives. My career path has led me to a wide variety of clients from young adults wanting to get in shape, to women my age (50 plus community) to the active age. Unlike other fitness niches, working with active agers allowed for a deeper connection and a chance to address unique challenges related to aging, such as mobility issues or chronic conditions. The diversity of clients and the ability to adapt training methods to suit individual needs provided a dynamic and enriching professional environment.
Ultimately, knowing that I could play a role in helping older adults maintain independence, vitality, and overall well-being made active age fitness and personal training a deeply rewarding career choice for me.
What steps did you take to begin your education or training?
Initially, I researched reputable certifications programs accredited by fitness organizations to ensure I received quality education and training. I actively participated in workshops, seminars, and online resources to stay updated on the latest fitness trends, training techniques, and industry best practices. I specialize in active age fitness, spinning, TRX training, and a variety of strength and cardio classes that I teach at Lifetime in Berkeley Heights, YMCA in Basking Ridge and Private Training throughout Somerset County.
Continuous learning and professional development remain integral parts of my journey as a personal trainer and fitness coach, allowing me to provide the best possible service to my clients and stay at the forefront of the fitness industry.
Along the way, were people encouraging or discouraging?
My fitness career has introduced me to the most incredible people; friends, co-workers, clients that have supported me throughout my 24 years in this incredible and rewarding industry. I am very fortunate to have touched so many lives and the encouragement and commitment to this field have driven me to remain steadfast in my commitment, fueled by my unwavering belief in the importance of promoting health and helping others achieve their fitness goals.
Did you ever doubt your decision and attempt a career change?
I never doubted my career path as a personal trainer and fitness coach, I have loved every opportunity that has come my way in helping others lead a healthy and fit lifestyle. When you see the results and changes that have helped my clients to live their best lives, there is no other path I would have taken. This is really my true calling and I feel extremely blessed to be able to share my knowledge and experience in the fitness industry.
When did your career reach a tipping point?
My career reached a tipping point when I realized the profound impact I had made in the lives of my clients, witnessing their transformations in health, confidence, and overall well-being. The age group I’m most excited about is my active-age clients. Teaching and training this group of people has inspired me to never give up, to keep moving and to stay strong. When I hear from my clients and members at the places I teach, that they are off their medication, that their bone density has either stabilized or improved, that has given me an incredible amount of pride and enormous satisfaction that I am making a difference in their lives.
Can you describe a challenge you had to overcome?
We go through life with so many challenges, no one escapes the pain of a sick child or family member. My son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 13 years ago, it was devastating to say the least, but having an amazing community helped me get through this difficult time. Staying healthy and focused with my training and classes gave me the strength I needed to help my son through a very challenging time in his life.
What single skill has proven to be most useful?
I can’t say it is one single skill that has proven too be most effective as a fitness coach/ group fitness instructor. Each client or class has different needs, it is so important to have patience, empathy and adaptability when you are with your clients or even when you’re in a large group setting. I love the expression “ need to read the room” , know who you’re working with and know how to challenge, lead and communicate to your clients. By honoring these skills, I can empower my clients to embrace healthier lifestyles, achieve their fitness aspirations, and sustain long-lasting habits for overall well-being.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I have been in the fitness industry for over 24 years and looking back at all the clients I have helped through the many years is what I am so proud of. There are two recent accomplishments that have really changed my life in the fitness industry. When Covid hit and life as we knew it completely changed, like so many of us, we had to pivot and find new ways to make things work. I had many clients and friends looking for something to help them stay healthy and fit during the pandemic. I remember trying my first live zoom class and bringing people together three times week to workout, share stories and create something really unique.
I am still teaching live classes on zoom with an amazing group of woman from all ages, backgrounds and all over the county. It has truly been such an incredible experience knowing how I have helped changed their lives. One of the more recent accomplishments that has really changed my life is the Arora program at Lifetime Fitness. I started teaching at Lifetime about two years ago, starting with some branded classes being offered. Lifetime started a new “Active-age” program called Arora, no one knew what is was or even what it stood for. I started very slowly with 1-5 members joining the class. It was challenging at first, trying to motivate and guide this beautiful community to a healthier lifestyle staying active and strong. This program has exploded, there are wait lists to get into the many Arora classes being offered and there is not a day that goes by that I’m not pulled aside by someone to thank me for the positive impact I have made on their lives. Bringing together this community is truly my proudest achievements as a fitness coach.
Any advice for others entering your profession?
My advice to anyone who is thinking about getting involved in the fitness industry and making this their full or part time profession is to not limit yourself to one group of clients. Be prepared to adjust your approach based on individual client needs, emerging trends, and changing circumstances. Invest in reputable certification programs and educational opportunities to build a solid foundation in exercise science, physiology, nutrition, and coaching techniques. This provides credibility and ensures you’re equipped to effectively guide clients toward their fitness goals. Stay updated on the latest research, trends, and best practices within the fitness industry. Attend workshops, seminars, and conferences, and pursue advanced certifications to expand your knowledge and skill set. Demonstrate a commitment to health and fitness in your own life. Your personal dedication to wellness not only inspires others but also reinforces your credibility as a fitness professional. By embracing these principles and continuously refining your skills and knowledge, you can embark on a rewarding and fulfilling journey in the fitness industry.
Photos courtesy of Margie Berlin
For more information on Margie, go to her page on Facebook: margieberlinfitness
Contributor’s note: I have the pleasure of attending Margie’s Arora 360 Classes at Lifetime Fitness in Berkeley Heights, NJ. It is a program for healthy agers that presents strength balance and cardio exercises. She is an enthusiastic, dedicated and creative instructor that is beloved by class participants. Margie challenges students, is always interested in their progress, and welcomes feedback. It’s no wonder that her Arora 360 classes always have waitlists!