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Getting to Know Maria Cardozo, Personal Trainer of the Year

Sep 20, 2022

Each year, the pros at the Fitness Together® brand chose to recognize a trainer who consistently goes above and beyond for clients–and who gets results that stick. This year, the honor goes to Maria Cardozo, who works with clients at the Fitness Together studio in Burlington, Massachusetts. Here, we’ll take a look at what made her decide to embark on a personal training career, transformations that clients have had through working with her, and how she works to help clients stay on track with the behaviors that help them work toward their goals, both inside and outside of the gym.

Getting Started

Cardozo didn’t have the intention of becoming a personal trainer–she actually started college with the goal of becoming a nurse. During her time in college, she began to fall in love with fitness. As an athlete throughout high school, participating in both competitive dance and rugby, Cardozo understood the importance of movement, but didn’t consider it as a career path until a few years later.

Of falling in love with fitness, Cardozo said, “During my freshman year of college, I started becoming interested in weight training to enhance my performance in sports. I still remember my first day of leaving the cardio side of the gym and slowly trying to find my way into the weight section. I had no idea what I was doing and being surrounded by guys who did was intimidating at the time. That is when I decided to educate myself. I started to research how to lift properly, how to program, and the “why’s” behind each exercise. Once I fell in love with strength training, I switched my major to Exercise Science with a pre-physical therapy route.”

After completing her degree, Cardozo learned of a personal training opportunity at the Fitness Together studio in Burlington, and decided to give it a go.

“Once I started working at FT Burlington, I absolutely fell in love with training. I had no idea on what to expect but it was exactly what I was looking for. Six years later and I am still loving my job and am SO thankful for the opportunity Brendan Stapleton gave me. Plus, I get to wear leggings everyday.”

While Cardozo didn’t know she’d fall in love with personal training, she’s forever grateful that she took the leap to work at a Fitness Together studio.

Of her love for her career, Cardozo says, “Not only is it rewarding to see people progress, reach their goals, get stronger, have less pain, and move better..but I also deeply care for them on a personal level. It’s awesome to see someone increase their overall confidence, feel more energized, get excited to master a new exercise, to see someone consistently happy when they come to the studio, to get the daily updates on their life, and to hear how much their workouts are helping them feel better both physically and mentally.”

Pushing Clients to the Next Level

Cardozo isn’t just about getting her clients results–she also wants them to enjoy the process so they can realize how prioritizing fitness can positively affect all aspects of their lives.

Of her training philosophy, Cardozo says, “My training philosophy is to help educate people of all ages on how to optimize their health and feel good while doing it. As a trainer, I want to help others achieve their goals, feel better, and learn how to function throughout their day. My goal is to create a safe space for them, coach them through their effective program, and to have fun while doing it!”

Cardozo loves that she can help clients take their progress further by providing the unbeatable combination of stellar programs and accountability.

“Having someone assess you and create an individualized program for you will instill a sense of accountability in you. If you are paying a professional coach to program for you, you are more likely to stick to the program and get your workouts in since that is something you are investing your money into. The coach who is doing your programming also has to put time, thought and effort into the program. Knowing this, you don’t want to let them down or skip a workout since they will be waiting for you. It’s tempting to go home after a hard’s day of work, take a nap, eat snacks, and maybe push off your workout to the next day if you go to the gym on your own. But if you let down your trainer…that is the last thing you want to do.”

It can also be motivating for clients to see how they’re progressing through their program. Cardozo changes client programs every four to six weeks, and loves seeing clients’ excitement as they learn what their updated training plan entails.

Cardozo says, “Having someone program for you will keep you on your toes and motivated. Going back to accountability, knowing that someone is spending the time to help you reach your goals will keep you motivated and consistent.”

Keeping Clients On Track Outside of the Gym

Cardozo states that getting to know clients and their unique needs is one of the most important parts of each client’s initial consultation. After Cardozo and her team get to know what a client needs to meet their goals, they work together to make it happen.

Of the process of understanding how to support a client’s journey, Cardozo says, “Do they need nutrition help? Do they need mobility exercises to do at home? Do they need a cardio plan? Are they running a race/doing a triathlon and need help? Whatever their goal may be, as a team we are constantly checking in with them and holding them accountable while providing them the help they need.”

During sessions, Cardozo makes a point to talk with clients about how their habits outside of the gym are negatively or positively affecting their progress. Creating a relationship where you can talk with clients openly (and without judgment) is key to helping them move forward, she says.

“A lot of clients need to shift their mindsets, so the more you talk with them, give them small tips, and create a relationship with them..the easier it is to help them. Then you just make sure you communicate with your team so everyone is on the same page on what that client wants/needs.”

Working at a Fitness Together Studio: Why Cardozo Loves Her Gym

It’s clear: Cardozo is great at what she does, and could work anywhere–but she chooses to stick with a Fitness Together studio. In addition to the positive, supportive environment provided by the Fitness Together brand, Cardozo loves that the gym works to provide clients with exactly what they need–and nothing they don’t.

“FT is personal. It takes into account who the client is, what they have, and where they are trying to go. With the average health and fitness out there, there’s no assessment of baselines. Most workouts and training sessions are usually way off from what people actually need. There is a lot of wasted time and effort doing stuff for perceived benefits instead of actual outcomes. One of the highest values we have at Fitness Together studios is figuring out what the appropriate program is for someone.”

Cardozo also states that the private environment offered by the Fitness Together brand allows trainers and clients to truly get to know one another and develop the type of relationship necessary to get maximum results.

“The studio has a private environment for the client to use which helps them get the most out of their session and feel more comfortable. The trainer then can work alongside the client to coach them through their individualized program, or can modify/progress based on how the client is feeling. Long story short, you’re working with experienced professionals who are fun, nice and smart to help you reach your goals :) How great is that?!”

Ready to Meet Your Trainer? The Fitness Together Brand Has Got You.

If you’re ready to meet your health and fitness goals, studio trainers want to meet you. At Fitness Together studios, the brand is all about building relationships, creating a family environment, and letting you know that you have a full team in your corner. Reach out to your local Fitness Together studio today to chat about starting your wellness journey.


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