Fitness Guru Magen Banwart

Q&A with Magen

1. You coach clients in groups and one-on-one. What is their biggest obstacle to success?
We are usually our own biggest obstacle. Specifically, our negative self talk, that unproductive soundtrack that starts playing in our head as soon as we wake up, when we look in the mirror, etc. That self talk is a result of negative programming that’s in our subconscious mind and tells us all sorts of untruths such as, you’re too this or too that or it’s too late to have what you desire. We focus too often on what we don’t want, what’s not working rather than what we desire and how we want to feel.

Dr. Darren Weissman, a holistic physician and chiropractor and developer of the world-renowned LifeLine Technique says “When we focus on what we do not want, what we want to get away from, what we want to fix – when we are focusing in that way, that ultimately perpetuates the same pattern.”

Good news is, we can shape our minds just like we can shape our bodies. But as with healthy eating and exercise, it requires practicing daily for it to become habitual.

Try these three steps to get your subconscious mind into shape:

  1. Focus on how you want to feel. Sit quietly with eyes closed and ask yourself, “What does my heart choose to feel?”
  2. Act the way you want to feel. You know that saying “Fake it till you make it?” Well when it comes to retraining the brain, that’s good advice. Dr. Weissman says, “Our brain and our body do not know the difference between imagination and reality. So, if we can focus on where we are going, rather than what we want to get rid of, then we begin to coax the body and the brain into following in the vibration of what it is we desire. This means instead of wanting something, you affirm that you are the very thing that you want more of in your life. Thus, begin your New Year’s Resolution [or goal] with “I AM”
  3. Visualize It – As you are going to sleep each night, rather than laundry list those things you need to do upon waking, take a minute or two to paint a picture of yourself, having the healthy body and life you desire. Be specific, where are you, who are you with? How does it feel? Add as many details as you can. Repeat often.
    Dr. Weissman says, “The neat thing about who we are is that we are malleable. Over a 28-day period, a whole new neuro-network begins to form in our body, in our brain just as a result of doing it.”

2. What is required in order to achieve fitness and well-being?

In addition to a healthier mind, I think you need the following:

  • A road map/good plan
  • Good support system-Join the Reboot with Joe, tell your close friends and family. Enlist a best buddy to try your new program with you!
  • Take steps daily. Think of every meal, every block of free time and every thought as an opportunity to start fresh, to choose that which supports you, makes you feel good and propels you forward rather than back.

Without the proper support system: a coach or a community and a realistic plan I find that people lose their ability to stay on their new, healthier living programs. It’s easier to stay positive, inspired and on course when you have a cheerleader and or when you have a group, a community of like-minded people who are going through the same challenges as you to remind you, we’re all in this together!

3. What do you say to someone who feels like they are a lost cause – never athletic, or too overweight to exercise? How can they begin?

Not true! There are no lost causes, you don’t need to be athletic to exercise. And while exercising when you have a lot of extra weight doesn’t feel as good as it will after you lose some weight, there’s no such thing as too overweight. Those are examples of those untruths we tell ourselves-negative self talk I was referring to. Next time you notice you’re telling yourself somethin’ that doesn’t feel good or ‘right’ to you, remember, you have everything and you are everything you need to be healthy and happy. And it’s never too late to have it all!

My advice:

  • Just move. Move for five minutes a day. And if you can’t move for five minutes, move for as long as you can, take a break and do some more.
  • Try a couple of the exercises from Joe’s You Tube videos. Or
  • Walk. If you don’t have anywhere safe to walk, it’s too cold outside, etc. march in place for the length of a commercial break while you’re watching your fave TV show. Get your kids involved, young kids love to do what Mom and Dad are doing. Then work up to every commercial break or one segment of the program.

4. What’s your favorite indulgence?

Do I have to choose one? There are so many and most of them are in the cheese family:) To name a few, those chips and queso dip you get at Mexican food restaurants. Mac and Cheese, mashed potatoes. But I rarely eat these things. I try and opt for healthier, less processed options like flax crackers and goat cheese, quinoa pasta with tomato sauce and roasted red potatoes rather than mashed.

5. For people who are short on time and resources – who can’t see an amazing expert like you, or join an expensive gym – what do you recommend?

I also LOVE the Urban Rebounder. It’s affordable and it comes with some great videos to get you started.Do what I do and keep it in in your living room (folds up so you can keep it behind your couch or in a nearby closet) and use it for a few minutes every day. It’s the best, low impact, full body, fat burning core strengthening exercise I know of. It’s got a lot of other benefits.

I’m going to recco You Tube again. There are so many great, short, doable Rebounder, exercise and stretch videos. Try a few and make a little collection of the ones you love.

6. Do you juice?

Do I juice?! To some folks in NYC I’m known as the “juice fairy” because I’ll make a big batch or buy a few of my fave juice and hand them out to friends, clients and the guy who cuts my hair throughout the day. I live for juice-makes my insides smile- and I live well because of it.


Magen Banwart, is the founder of MB Fitness based in New York City, she is a recognized leader in the health, wellness and yoga arenas. Her unique and holistic approach blends her experience as a competitive athlete, fitness instructor and wellness consultant. For the last two decades Magen has dedicated herself to creating innovative and integrative programs to help people manage stress, recover from chronic back pain and achieve their personal goals, including weight loss and maintenance. Recently she received the honor of being voted among “New York City’s 20 Most Popular Yoga Teachers of 2012″ by Rate Your Burn and earlier her signature MB Yin Yoga class was voted “NYC’s Best Fitness Class” by Manhattan Magazine. Her unwavering spirit and energy have inspired many to change their lives – and as a result the lives of many around them. Her followers are ageless, ranging from late teens to those in their 80’s, all having shared values focused on optimizing their lives.

Active in competitive sports since childhood and a distance runner who completed the Boston, New York City and London marathons, Magen understands what it takes, both mentally and physically, to achieve personal goals. A long time student of anatomy, physiology, Pilates™, interdisciplinary styles of yoga, and meditation for over 20 years, she received her Yoga Teacher Certification in Interdisciplinary Yoga from the Nosara Institute in Costa Rica. Among those who have influenced her Yin Yoga practice over the years are Paulie Zink, Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers. Magen is an avid learner and continuously furthers her education, evolving her transformative programs which include one-on-one customized offerings, as well as group sessions.