Neghar Fonooni is a fitness & lifestyle coach, writer, veteran, and mom passionate about empowering women through strength. A Los Angeles native with 14 years experience in the fitness industry, Neghar believes that a positive mindset is the most important aspect of a fit lifestyle. Through her website and social media platforms, she teaches women how to embrace their bodies and enrich their lives with food and exercise. Neghar is a contributing blogger to several sites, including My Fitness Pal and Schwarzanegger.com, and is the author of the 12-week total transformation system, Lean & Lovely.
An unabashed sci-fi and fantasy nerd, Neghar snorts when she laughs and loves lifting weights, yoga, red wine, dark chocolate, travel, fashion, and reading and collecting books. She currently resides in Santa Monica, California with her husband, son, and two silly bulldogs.
Conscious Connection caught up with Neghar between workouts to learn about successful goal setting and how to turn a passion into a career which inspires people to live the ultimate fit lifestyle.
Conscious Connection: What first inspired you to become a personal trainer?
I’ve been an athlete for as long as I can remember, so it was a natural transition for me. In college I trained clients at the local gym, but I always assumed it would be a hobby or part time job. After having my son in 2006, I decided to make training a full time career so that I could have the flexibility to be a mom and a career woman.
I was, and am still, inspired by helping people find themselves through movement. Empowering women through strength is what has kept me motivated over the 14 years that I’ve been in this industry.
But it wasn’t until I started my blog in 2009 did I realize the full potential of a career in fitness. At that point I was able to truly bring my passions for writing and fitness together, and create something more powerful and impactful than I’d ever imagined.
Conscious Connection: How did you transition from running a blog to a full-fledged entrepreneur?
I was training clients full time at the gym while simultaneously managing a blog and social media outlets. Although this was stressful and overwhelming at times, it’s what allowed me to transition into entrepreneurship with relative ease. When the time came to open up my coaching program, I had hundreds of applications from readers. And when my Lean & Lovely Total Transformation Program launched, I had thousands of readers ready to grab a copy.
It really all came down to creating value and contributing meaningful content within the digital space. Because I had spent the time and effort necessary to create content and build trust with my readers, I was able to make the move from blogger to entrepreneur pretty smoothly.
Of course, networking and making connections played a huge role in that transition, and I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not met and learned from some incredibly talented people along the way.
Conscious Connection: Tell me more about your philosophy that exercise and nutrition should enrich your life.
In my time as a fitness expert, I’ve seen countless women struggle to maintain balance in their lives while chasing some arbitrary “ideal” physique. From obsessive calorie counting to daily weigh-ins and hours of cardio—women all over the world aren’t living the life they deserve because their every moment is consumed by the pursuit of fat loss.
Because I believe first and foremost in living wholeheartedly, I preach and teach a more balanced approach to diet and exercise. I believe that there is no “perfect” diet or “ultimate” workout program, rather the diet and workouts that best work for YOU. My intention is to teach people how to find their own path—the one that brings them infinite joy and optimum health.
A lean body isn’t worth having if the rest of your life is empty, and a life of emptiness is not worth any aesthetic pursuit. My approach teaches balance and harmony through intuitive exercise, mindful eating, and intelligent indulgence.
Conscious Connection: What are three things you do on a daily basis to stay in peak shape and practice self-love?
Move, journal, and read.
Most importantly, I move every single day, whether it’s a lift session at the gym, a yoga class, or a long walk on the beach. Movement is what keeps me mentally and physically sharp and it’s like medicine for my soul.
Journaling daily about gratitude and compassion helps keeps my perspective fresh and reminds me of all the positive things I have in my life at any moment. It’s important to write down positives, especially amidst times of struggle or stress, as it keeps me focused on my ultimate desires.
Lastly, reading is not only my favorite hobby, but it enriches me as a writer as well. I usual read a fiction and non-fiction book concurrently as I enjoy the juxtaposition of creative and practical writing. Most recently I read the first two books in The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss, and Before Happiness by Shawn Achor—both of which enhanced my life to a large degree.
Conscious Connection: What’s your number one goal-setting tip for our readers looking to transform their life?
Big dreams are necessary, but in order to get there it’s important to have smaller goals along the way. The more of your goals you accomplish, the more likely you’ll be to actualize the bigger picture. People need to feel success in order to continue to be inspired and motivated, so setting micro goals is a must when it comes to any sort of transformation.
Conscious Connection: Any exciting new products or initiatives you’re working on?
Right now I’m working on expanding upon the Lean & Lovely franchise with Lean & Lovely Yoga and a series of 20-minute follow-along fat loss workouts. The other major project I’m working on is launching an exclusive membership program for the Eat, Lift & be Happy community. It should be ready to unveil this fall.