Lovin Life with Holly Markwart

One of my favorite Canadians hands down.

Holly Markwart has been featured in several of our promotional materials at our sister site garagegymlife.net, so much so that I really didn’t need to get any media for this article. When it was time to decide which home based athlete to close out the year with, it was a no brainer to select Holly. Let’s jump in and see why she’s lovin’ life!

How long have you been a Beachbody coach?

I signed as a Beachbody Coach in April of 2016, but I would say I’ve been an online Health fitness Motivator since 2012.

Ok, so then how did you get started with Beachbody?

I was already taking part In Beachbody Programs at home.  I was even running accountability groups on Facebook with other friends who had the same programs.  I came across Colleen Novotny on Instagram.  This lady was pushing 50 and looking amazing! Like HOLY ABS!! I loved her positivity she shared every day.  Finally I reached out to her regarding what I was doing fitness wise and some of my struggles.  We conversed often and she finally asked me why I wasn’t a Coach. I knew I loved running accountability groups and would love to help others. Beachbody gave me the opportunity to continue what I was already doing but actually have programs and tools to offer others.

Explain what it means to be a Beachbody coach; do you have to successfully complete some of the programs first, is there a training program for coaches?

If your passion is health and fitness and you desire to help yourself and others in ways to better themselves both physically and mentally, than Beachbody Coaching is definitely a gig for you.   You do not have to complete a specific program, but most coaches obviously stand by Beachbody Programs and use them as part of their workout routine.  Beachbody offers amazing online training to help anyone get their start in this Business.  In addition my Team of other Coaches offered me extra training, how to get started etc.  All this “training” was done online on my own time.  It has become my own little home business…and I get out of it what I put into it.  I love everything about it!

For the sake of those who don’t know how the program works, can you briefly explain what it means to be on a team?

With Beachbody I would say I’m a part of 3 Teams.  I have Team Beachbody itself, which offers me training and all the tools I need to help others make their start in Health and Fitness, Including my own business website.  Their Customer service is great and any help I need is just a phone call away.

Holly Markwart uses beachbody programs

Beachbody is a system

What is the support structure like for coaches and team members?

I have both up line Coaches and downline.  We all work together to not only assist with the growth of our Businesses but to motivate and support one another on our own personal journey within Health and Fitness.  Most of my team of Active Coaches are from the USA so it’s really cool to connect and build friendships with women from all over!

Lastly I have my own Little Team which I’ve Branded L3 Fit.  This is a group of all old and new Challengers…It’s basically Our Virtual Online Gym for Motivation and Accountability. I run private online Fitness Challenge Groups, usually consisting of 15-30 women all committed to doing the Same Program.  I offer Daily Support, motivation, tips, recipes, etc. within my Groups.

I feel a certain responsibility to stay consistent with training because of what I do; does being a coach help you stick to your own program?

Truth be told, it is this team that keeps me the most accountable in my own journey with health and fitness.  If I’m expecting them to do the work— then I better be doing it right along with them, and I do!

Is there one group interaction or do you schedule additional “calls” if you know someone is struggling that day?

These Challenges can last 21-60 days depending on the theme of the Challenge Group or the program selected.

I usually do personal check-ins with my challengers to see how they are doing or to offer any additional help if needed. The work itself is up to them. Only they can control what fuels their bodies, what days they push play and workout at home.  But anything that I can offer them to help reach their goals outside of that I do. 

You mentioned that you gained over 60lbs with both of your pregnancies, how much weight have you lost using Beachbody?

I had lost the majority of my Pregnancy weight prior to starting Beachbody. In Jan. 2012 I used Jillian Michaels’ at home programs to get back into better shape.  However my success did not stick and I slowly gained almost 20 lbs. back.  So I started Beachbody in Jan. of 2015, but can you believe since starting Beachbody I’ve only so far lost a total of maybe 4 lbs?  But my physique has improved drastically as you can see from the picture.  I have had fat loss and more muscle gain. I’d say I’m in the best shape of my life, but not quite at my goal just yet.

Holly Markwart before and after

What was the first program you started with? How did you know which program to do next?

The first program I did was Insanity Max 30.  The program proved a success and helped me with fat loss, but not wanting to quit I continued on doing program after program.  I’ve since completed 21 Day fix and fix Extreme numerous times.  Hammer and Chisel, Body Beast, Hard Corps, Shift Shop, and more.  And Beachbody is always coming out with new programs!  I’m excited for the New Obsessed 80 program being released January of 2018!

Do you train  Beachbody exclusively or do you mix it up with other systems?

I mainly stick to a Beachbody program and schedule but do occasionally add in a mix of my own.  A good friend of mine was kind enough to teach me a little bit about weight training and even created me a program to follow.  So sometimes I dabble with moves from that.  Pinterest and Google offer an abundance of quick routines.

Many people think Beachbody is a program but it seems to me to be more of a virtual gym. If you hire three personal trainers from the same gym, you usually get three different training styles. In Beachbody, you can choose the style of training you want to do by selecting among the training programs. Is this a fair assessment?

Holly Markwart flexing in her garage gym last summerThat is exactly correct! Beachbody on Demand is basically the Netflix of Workout Programs.  You have an abundance of programs and trainers to choose from.  A virtual gym at your fingertips to keep you accountable all year long! When you are done with a program you go on and just start another!

The most popular Beachbody programs are likely the Insanity and P90X series. Which program do you think is the unsung hero (the one that deserves more recognition but just doesn’t get tried by as many people?)

21 day fix and 21 Day fix Extreme.  I know it’s already a popular program but feel that avid gym goers look at that program and slough it off.  That program is good for any fitness level, but if you up the weights and push yourself in all sets especially in 21 Day Fix Extreme it’s great and can offer you amazing results.  In addition to that, 21 day Fix includes a full nutrition program using the portion control container system.  It’s an amazing plan to follow and truly installs lifelong lessons on portion size and what foods are best to fuel your body with.

How does your family feel about your training and how do you balance your duties as a coach with your responsibilities as a wife and mother?

This is a good question.  I’ve had at home fitness as a priority in my life now for almost four years so my husband and kids know that it’s just something that I do as part of my daily routine.   I am truly passionate about what I do as a coach my kids and husband know that. They know that I motivate others to work out and make healthier lifestyle choices.   Part of being a coach involves a lot of time on social media to motivate and inspire others to join me.  I do my best to use snippets of time throughout the day when my kids are at school or when they are preoccupied in their own activities to do this.   However there are times when they do have to remind me to put my phone away.   Evenings and weekends are our usual family time.  We enjoy many movies together and spending time outdoors.

It’s very easy for our passion to become drudgery when we start making a living from it. How do you maintain your enthusiasm for staying fit?

I constantly set goals for myself.  Every Single MONTH!  The Goals usually pertain to:

  • committing to a specific program start to finish,
  • inspire and motivate both past and new challengers to join me
  •  And always work on my own personal fit journey: find more abs, work on the booty, ditch the wine for a certain number of days.

Tell me about your Garage Gym, you actually workout in your garage, basement and living room correct?

Holly Markwart bundles up to train in her garage

currently we do not have a heated garage

I LOVE my Garage Gym It’s just nice to a have a space specifically for working out.  No moving furniture around or hauling weights in and out of a closet.  My Garage gym consists of a treadmill, a weight machine, weight set, dumbbells and of course a projector screen to view my Beachbody programs.  Currently we do not have a heated garage, therefore I can only with stand the cold for so long come our good old Saskatchewan winter time, usually from Dec. – April, my gym of dumbbells and a laptop are moved to the spare bedroom.  Not the same feel but at least it’s warm!!

What a wuss! (he says from the warmth of a Georgia winter) Let’s talk about nutrition.

First and most important: Which is a better protein source, Canadian bacon or the bacon we eat in the rest of the world?

Ha, ha! I’m sure it’s Canadian bacon of course…I personally go for Turkey Bacon myself.

Ok, now that we have that completely unbiased opinion; Beachbody nutrition doesn’t get a ton of attention; we tend to focus on the exercise programs. I just tried the Protein Hot Chocolate and it was pretty good with 15g of protein per serving. What’s your favorite Beachbody nutrition product?

SHAKEOLOGY of Course! I drink it every single Day.  Some people may slough it off as just an expensive protein shake but it is so much more than that!  It is stuffed full of superfoods, ingredients with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, probiotics, fiber, digestive enzymes, and more.  It’s known as a meal replacement but I myself usually use it as a delicious afternoon treat!  The Shake itself is known to help maintain good health. I use this as my only source of daily multi vitamin and have very rarely gotten sick since starting it 2 years ago.  It also builds and repairs muscles, reduces cravings, boosts energy, and over all aids in healthy weight loss.  I recommend it to all my Challengers.  They have a variety of Flavors and even offer a vegan version that diabetics can have.

Aside from Shakeology my favorite would be Energize pre-workout.  It’s a lemon flavored dietary supplement that improves intense exercise performance and increases energy and endurance! It works amazing!!

You mentioned that the kitchen area is your area of greatest struggle. I think that’s something that many athletes struggle with. What are your most successful habits for avoiding temptation?

My Accountability/challenge groups.  When I’m paired up with other ladies doing the same challenge as I, on a journey through a program we work together to meal plan, share recipes, and prep ideas.  Knowing I have a team of ladies doing their best to avoid temptation helps me do the same.   Of course the best tip would be out of sight out of mind. If it’s a bad temptation (for me red wine usually my weakness, darn all those empty calories) , just GET IT OUT OF THE HOUSE.

We’re in the holiday season now and most people gain weight during this time. What’s your favorite way to cope with the additional calories? Because you can’t be the one with Tupperware at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Over my years with Beachbody and because of the 21 Day Fix program the system has been engrained in my brain. I have learned portion control and nutritional guidelines.  What I mean by that is 21 Day Fix is structured around a macro nutrient count system but instead we use color coded containers.  It has a suggested amount of carbs, fats, proteins etc. that you can eat throughout the day.  So on days I know I have a bigger meal involved I just plan my day around it.  I Use Shakeology as a Meal replacement at lunch so that I can truly enjoy my holiday Meal without the guilt of over indulging…because it was planned for and fits within my daily suggested plan. 

You’ve talked about the fact that we need to adjust our training as we age— our bodies go through hormonal changes and things that used to work for fat loss don’t work anymore. Is this one of the things you learned as you researched for ways to get you out of your training rut? I know that you were reading books like “Thinner, Leaner, Stronger” to find ways to jumpstart progress.

 At this point it is not something specifically that I have done a lot of research on…it’s just something that I have noticed.  What worked for me in 2012 to reach that lower number on the scale…is not working this time round.  There are many factors that come to play though, I’m older, and I have more muscle then past, my physique and build is different.   That number on the scale is just something I need to not focus on.  I am always looking through resources for tips on what to do next, whether it be books the internet, or reaching out to friends on social media.

You posted this on Instagram:

“I’ve completed numerous programs, tried many routines, exercises and followed a fairly clean diet… well over 90% of the time. While I know I’ve made progress and I’m stronger then when I started *(it’s impossible not to if you just keep at it)* My journey is slow going and has me in a “Rut”. I won’t give up though, can’t stop, won’t stop. I’ll just continue learning and growing and sharing.”

In my journey and on my social media shares I have not shied away from the fact that I am a lover of red wine.  It was the main contributor to my weight gain in 2013/2014.  What should have been moderate treat soon became a nightly habit.  It has been a main struggle of mine always. I’m a very social person and choose not cut all the fun out of my life, however I find when feel stress is in my life, or there is a lot of social activates on my calendar old habits creep in and hinder my progress.  As a coach I do not at all feel that this makes me a hypocrite in anyway…If anything it bonds me more with my challengers as I too have struggles to overcome in my journey to a healthier Life.

In September, along with a group of Challengers I dialed in 100% to a Program called Shift Shop.  I followed the meal plan pretty much to a T and completely cut out all Booze for 21 Days.  At the End of the program all though I felt fantastic, I didn’t see much change physically or on the scale.  That lead me to wanting to research into what changes I could possible make to really see results.

This statement came at the end of a September that you said rocked and led into an October that you called a rocky month of worry, stress and anxiety which took a toll on you mentally and physically. Talk about how you were feeling when you wrote this post and how it’s connected to your struggles in October.

October came and started on such a scary and sad note.  Two scary situations within the news, terrorist attacks in Edmonton, and the shooting in Vegas.  My husband and I are yearly Vegas vacationers. So the negativity of it all set my anxiety off.  I started to worry over the silliest things, and couldn’t get my mind right.  I still did my workouts and ate well, but my evenings resorted back to my old friend red wine to ease my mind from anxiety that I couldn’t shake.  My husband and I still took that trip to Vegas and it actually was one of the best trips we have ever had!  I came home refreshed and ready get back to myself.

I created the Fit in Ness Holiday Dress challenge group, in collaboration with my teammate Heather Newman.  This challenge group included both American and Canadian women, committed and dialed in to the same program for 42 Days.  It is because of that group that I really focused on myself again and all the things I truly value.  Being the best version of myself, making healthier choices, and living a life I can be proud of.

I love how candid you are when you struggle. Why do you think it’s important to show the world more than just your social media “highlight reel?”

Because it makes me human.  I’m not perfect and I don’t want anyone to ever think that.    I’m not a certified fitness trainer, or a certified nutritionist.  I’m just a mom trying to live a life of health and fitness to inspire my family, my friends and any other woman out there who is struggling but doesn’t know where to start.   I often look at my IG account as my own personal fitness journal, because I share it all there.  It’s nice to go back and see how far I’ve come, what I’ve done, what struggles I had and overcame.

Holly Markwart with her dog after a runTell me what it means to you to create healthy habits, not restrictions.

“”I am a firm believer of enjoying LIFE!   So I am not so restrictive at special events or holiday times of the year.  If my mother in law offers me pie, I eat the pie. We only have one life to live. If my mom makes tarts I’ll treat to a couple.  But in moderation!  And when the holiday is over and it’s back to usual routine, I dial back in.  That’s what I call balance.  If you hold major restrictions on things you love, then I feel it will never become a lifestyle. You will not enjoy the journey.

What’s the last empowerment book you read and how does reading those books help you in your overall wellness journey?

The Last one I read was EAT THAT FROG by Brian Tracy.  I took this book along with me on my Vegas Vacation.  It offered me great resources to share with my Challengers on goal setting and really going after those desires they want most!

These books are so helpful not only for myself and my mindset but they offer me great insight and resources to offer my challengers good content within our challenge groups.

Besides Beachbody workouts do you still enjoy 5k runs?

YES! If the weather is good and I’m home on the weekend you can bet I’m out getting in a 3-5k Run.  There is nothing I enjoy more than the sweet escape of running on the path with music in my ears!

You can follow Holly or contact her to join one of her Challenge groups by visiting her on Instagram @hollyluvlife

About the author

John Greaves III is a writer based in North Georgia with nearly two decades of experience in training at home. A former amateur kickboxing champion, John now competes recreationally in powerlifting. He takes a physical culture approach to training; believing that strength and health need not be mutually exclusive. In addition to his nonfiction work, John has written two fiction books, A Different Kind of Giant and A Little Lesson in Manners that are available on Amazon.com.