As a celebrity and fashion make up artist, I need a workout routine that fits in to my busy New York schedule. Meral’s simple but extremely effective fitness techniques combined with easy to follow nutrition guidelines have kept me in shape for over 15 years. I am inspired again and again by the discipline she demonstrates in her own life and truly value the knowledge and wisdom Meral has shared with me over the years.
The fat girl with the pretty face, look at those legs and that face, what about the rest of me? Who am I? What’s my purpose in life? Why is that no matter how much I “diet” and train why can’t I look like all of those girls on the cover of magazines? There were all the unanswered questions that I had been struggling with for let’s say the last 10 years of my life.
2009 – 2010 has been one of the most intense periods of physical and mental growth that I have ever experienced. I started training with Meral in March 2009 after my boyfriend introduced me to her at the gym. The only thing that I thought to say to her was, “um I’ve been watching you in the gym and trying to copy everything that you do.” It wasn’t very long after that when I began training with her.
I remember our first meeting and my first consultation with Meral. When she did my body fat I almost fainted. A 25 y/o girl with skinny ass legs and 24% body fat. Words cannot describe all of the things that ran through my mind…
Crash Dieter, Pills, Supplements
My first 2 years of college were when my weight began to fluctuate and where my bad eating and dieting habits began. Not only could I down an entire pizza or box of Velveeta macaroni I learned how to crash diet, I’ve done so many fad diets and experimented with diet pills and supplements, I probably tried it all! They worked for a short period, I did experience medical issues and horrible side effects as a result and I always found myself going right back to where I was after that bottle was done. I just wanted to be skinny and fit.
When I got into Ms. USA pageant I must say is really when I started to “diet down” in such an unhealthy way, I just couldn’t seem to get to where all of the “other girls were, I just wasn’t skinny enough.”
No Magic Diet or Magic Pill
Meral taught me to eat clean, and train hard. She told me that there was no magic diet or magic pill that she could provide me. I had to accept that eating clean and training hard, these were the 2 main principles that she instilled, over and over again.
Granted everything didn’t happen in 6 months, or even 1 year, (she said it wouldn’t) I still wanted to challenge Meral’s methods, and she continued to tell me, “what you put in your mouth and how you train w/out me I will know.”
I doubted this, I still wanted that pancake, waffle and scone (not thinking she would ever know), and to my amazement, she always knew! Again, I struggled finding the right balance for myself.
A Commitment to Change
In 2011 I made a commitment to change myself, after a tough talk with Meral, she said to me “don’t waste your money and time training with me if you’re not going to commit to yourself.” I never really expected to hear that from her or any trainer.
This was an awakening experience for me, and in January 2010 I decided to tag along with Meral to New Orleans and do a half marathon. Everyone around me was in shock, I was plagued by knee problems and sore hips from dancing all my life. Not only did I have some physical ailments but let’s just say I’m the person who, “likes to stop and smell and flowers and listen to the birds chirp.”
Meral taught me how to focus, push through the pain and achy knees. I did complain a lot in the beginning, let’s talk about blood, sweat and tears, there was a lot of sweat and tears, and maybe occasional blood from being clumsy and falling down! Let’s just say I finished my first ever half marathon race in 2 hours and 15 minutes, I’d like to give myself some credit, but Meral didn’t let me stop even though I tried to stop and stretch in the middle of hundreds of runners.
A Marathon and A Bikini Competition
This was the starting point for me. I never thought that I would EVER in my life run 13.1 miles or even 5, it just wasn’t on my bucket list. Then I decided to spring on her, “hey I want to do an NPC bikini show in 8 weeks!” I defiantly didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I made that commitment. I am not the most innately competitive person and am not driven by competing against others by any means; I’d rather compete against myself. Meral questioned my ability to hand with the “big girls” in these shows because I like to make friends and everything to be cool.
If you ask Meral, I have the most “stubborn body that she knows.” It was such a challenge for me and for her; I had to diet down and train like I had never imagined.
I Won First Place
All of my hard work paid off, when I won 1st place in my class and the overall for my first bikini competition. The host of the show asked me on stage, to make a statement about my victory, I described it as “an amazing experience the most amazing ever,” let’s just say I couldn’t stop saying, “amazing.” It was pretty funny.
Four weeks later I attempted to really challenge myself and entered a national qualifying show. Again, I had to train and diet down so hard (I think one of the only reasons I survived was b/c of my Parrillo cupcakes, cookies and pancakes) I remember frequently saying, “what would I do w/out Parrillo what would I do? I think my life would end, I might die!”
I was able to eat my Parrillo cupcakes pretty much until the week prior to the shows and they were my little bits of leftover sanity. My 2nd show was again life changing. I headed to N.Y.C. and placed in the bottom 5 out of 20 other girls. This was so discouraging to me, I felt embarrassed, ashamed and I felt that I let myself, Meral, my family and my boyfriend who I tormented (while dieting) down…
Transformation and Accomplishment
After my first bite into real food again, my sorrows were quickly healed. In retrospect when I look at my pictures I can’t believe the transformation that my body has made, I feel such a sense of accomplishment and pride nobody can take that away from me. So now here I go continuing learning how to balance my life w/out compromising my physical fitness or mental sanity.
Not only did I gain an amazing trainer who gives her all for ALL her clients, but I gained a great friend who believes in me and will embark on any journey that I chose. This is something so priceless that I treasure, and I’m grateful for every day. Meral taught me to NEVER give up on myself and to pursue everything that I could ever want and dream for with full force, full conviction and not to let anyone or anything get in my way.
“No pain no gain, shut up and train.” A phrase that frequently runs through my mind when I’m training with Meral.
I look forward to continuing on competing in 2011 so keep your eyes out for me 😉
Love and Light,
True Victory is finding yourself; And in that I am #1.
My experience training with Meral has changed my life in so many ways. Meral’s expertise and experience in personal training and nutrition has allowed my passion for the field of health and fitness to become more balanced. My self-confidence as well as self-discipline was a natural outgrowth. When I first started with Meral, I was already very active, and I thought I knew A LOT about nutrition, but much to my surprise, I had a lot further to go! Plagued by trying to stay in shape and be “healthy” while in college I was bitten by the dieting bug, which led to unrealistic and unhealthy ideations about myself as well as a world full of deprivation. After my first week training and writing down my daily nutritional intake, the results were astonishing. I thought to myself, “Wow, I can eat more and lose weight AND be happy!?!” At that point my self-confidence resurfaced and I began to focus on a goal. My goal was not only to lose body fat and build lean muscle mass, but to pick a show in which I would compete in the newly added bikini division within the NPC. Both Meral and I had no real idea what this new category encompassed. I wanted to push myself to the limit; “ALL OR NOTHING’ was the phrase that kept running through my head.
The show prep began eight weeks before the two shows I wanted to enter. Next we started the non-glamorous photo shoot of “before” pictures to mark every step of the process. The process was far harder for me mentally than physically. I had no idea what to expect, and knew that I had committed my money, time and passion into this goal and there was no turning back. Strict contest prep took place five weeks from my first show. During these next couple weeks, my ability to focus and instill discipline truly flourished. My friends and family officially took a backseat in my life and Meral was officially the navigator in my fictional racecar to reach the finish line. As my diet became more regimented, (which I never thought it could be!) I became more in touch with myself and my ability to interact with those around me. Delirium took over and re-evaluation of life surfaced and I changed my perception of the way I viewed my daily interactions. Energy had to be saved, thus wasting it on what once was a big deal suddenly became insignificant. My ability to be dedicated and completely committed to a goal enabled a true sense of stability, and a feeling of empowerment. At this point I felt re-born with a new sense of clarity on my life and happiness.
After my first show was finished, I had about 5 days to peak again for my second show. This was just another test I needed to ace. Having Meral be part of this process was of enormous help. She understood all the unexplainable thoughts and feelings that I was experiencing. Meral had not only experienced competition life herself, but was a great mentor to me while I reached for my goals. She made sure I was mentally as well as physically prepared each step of the way. After many conversations about competing, Meral instilled a very important outlook on the way I view myself and my ability through this quote “Winning isn’t everything but wanting to win is. There is only one success. To be able to spend your life in your own way.” Received from one my many “weekly diet and training emails” her quote redefined the concept of winning for me. As a very competitive person I realized that winning doesn’t come from a W next to my name or a trophy in my hand, it comes from believing in myself and viewing myself in a new light. Meral has helped me take control of my life and allowed me to adapt to life’s obstacles. I could not have had a better role model, trainer and friend help me grow and obtain just one of my many goals in life and for that I am eternally grateful.
When I first came to Meral, I was a 20 years old and about to be put under for a heart surgery. I had just ran a half marathon and started going to trainers to help prevent injuries. I danced daily, ate what I wanted, maintained a healthy weight, and was overall a healthy young girl.
Then I got in a car accident, and I was unable to move my back. I could not lift a gallon of milk without passing out from pain. I was in pain every day. It never left; it only became bearable and unbearable. Trainers tried to help, but nothing work. Chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists….nothing….not even yoga and alternative medicine.
Then something else happened, I stared getting dizzy and was getting bigger. My eating had not changed. I tried a new trainer, and the only thing that happened was he sent me to a hospital where I incurred over ten thousand dollars in costs and doctors wanted to try invasive heart surgery.
They thought something was wrong with my thyroid, anything they could test they tried. All of the tests said I was healthy; so, the doctors decided surgery would be a good way to find out what was wrong with me! Modern medicine is wonderful and has helped many people maintain healthier and longer lives. However, if you do not need a stint or a surgery, your best bet is to stay out of the operating room unless you are the doctor.
My family and I decided against the helpful suggestions of invasive surgery to a normally healthy girl and I happened to run into a family friend. She told me about Meral and to check her out.
I found out what I was wrong with me; I was anemic and had a weak back. Meral has helped me maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Anyone can turn out bikini models and before and after pictures. Any trainer and any person who wants to look a certain way can. The trainers who tried to help me have won countless awards and have helped a plethora of people. I am not impressed by diets nor am I impressed by the numbers on a scale.
I am however impressed that I can carry my books, I can run, eat a pizza, and know my limits. I have learned what my body wants and needs and how to attend to both. Healthy eating can consist of brownies and cookies. You just have to find ways to eat them and make them.
Meral not only has helped me with my lifestyle but has been a good friend. She puts the personal aspect back into personal training. I see her five days a week. Anyone you see that many times you need to build a relationship with. I would never see a trainer this much if they did not motivate me and make me want to see them.
Meral also understands the constraints of daily life. She helps build a healthy lifestyle within your day. She understands that people’s lives do not revolve around the gym and we all cannot cook every meal. She helps you improvise and figure out what suits your needs.
Unlike other trainers, Meral charges a respectable rate. I cannot tell you how many good trainers I have met that have gotten swayed into running up their bills. We may not have Hollywood budgets or their time, but if you train with Meral, you’ll look like you are from The Hills!
June 16, 2010
I first started working with Bodylines by Meral about 6 years ago. At the time, I was working out 6 days a week and ate no meat, only fish. I noticed that two of the women who had been taking all the same classes as me were suddenly getting very lean and muscular. When I asked them what they were doing differently they told me about Meral. I began going to Meral for nutrition guidance and lost about 10 pounds. I had been eating very healthy and working out consistently but it took Meral’s expertise for me to achieve the lean, defined look that I wanted. Unfortunately, my schedule got too crazy with two sons who had to be at crew practice 6 days a week and living on the opposite side of the county and I had to stop going to Bodylines.
Three months ago I knew I needed to go back. I was eating next to nothing, working out constantly, and I still couldn’t lose weight. I had gained back the 10 pounds plus more even though I ate a very healthy diet with no red meat. There’s a very significant history of heart disease in my family so I eat lots of fruits and vegetables and very little fat. Despite this, I have always had borderline cholesterol, usually just over 200. Working with Meral, I’ve already lost 10 pounds and, much to my surprise, my cholesterol has come way down. I gave blood a couple of weeks ago (in the middle of the day so I wasn’t even fasting) and when I got the results in the mail, I couldn’t believe it. My cholesterol had dropped 40 points. Meral guides me regarding what to eat and when. I have always been very interested in health and fitness and nutrition, reading up on it all the time, but I have not been able to achieve the results that I want without Meral’s guidance.
June 16, 2010
In 1992, I was about 170 pounds and overweight most of my adult life, when I started working on my fitness goals. I had no strength, muscle mass or endurance/cardiovascular health. But, I started training and doing aerobics and I lost about 35 pounds. I thought I was in pretty good shape…I was proud of myself and I knew I had accomplished a lot. Still I was not satisfied.
This brings me to my before picture on 02-01-2000. I was strong and I had muscle mass but I was still FAT. My body fat was at 24-25%. I had determination but that was all I had. I had a vision of myself and what my body image COULD be. I wanted to look like an athlete. I wanted to look like MERAL. I trained and trained and trained and I did aerobics 5 or 6 days a week. But, my body wasn’t changing even after all that hard work.
So, I decided to seek professional help. MERAL was the answer. She could give me the knowledge I need to succeed. She inspired and coaxed me to be patient and stay on course. She counseled me in nutrition and weight training techniques. I wrote down everything I ate and she reviewed and critiqued my program about every 10 days to two weeks. She made suggestions and improvements in my eating patterns and that’s when it happened. I was getting leaner, harder, and stronger and I was in the best shape of my life. After only 12 weeks, I gained 6.5 pounds of muscle and was only 16% body fat. The accomplishment of this goal was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life.
I have been athletic all my life and thought I was in pretty decent shape that is, until I met and began training with Meral.
Over the past 3 years I have trained for and completed 2 ( ½ ) marathons and 4 triathlons. During my first ½ marathon I hit what they call the “wall” at 11 miles and mentally had to focus to complete the race. I completed the race the following year, I trained a little different and completed the race in a better time but not with ease. Shortly after completing my second ½ marathon I began training for my first longer distance triathlon. I complete the race but was very fatigued and was sick for about a month following the race. As I look back and compare my nutrition and training habits to what I have learned from Meral, I realize now why I experienced what I did and I now know how important proper nutrition, training and recovery time are in my day-to-day life.
On February 19, 2001, I had a rude awakening when Meral measured my body fat for the first time. She told me my body fat was 28.64% and that I was in a category of being fit but fat. From that day on I have not taken my sites off the 19% body fat goal I set. I took the nutrition papers she handed me and I have not looked back. For me cheating is not an option, I told myself that if I am going to eat it then it goes on my food chart and if it is something I am not supposed to have then Meral will say something, therefore I don’t cheat and it’s not worth it. Besides I am only cheating myself. I told myself when I started with Meral that I wanted to change my life and my body and I felt like from our conversations she could help me do it. It has been challenging, cutting out certain foods, learning to cook and prepare things differently. One of the biggest challenges I faced was weighing my food and having to cook separate meals for me and my boyfriend. Not to mention learning what to eat. Although, it seemed hard at first it is like second nature today.
Since February of this year, I have lost 8.8% body fat, which equals 12.24 lbs of fat and gained 9.23 lbs of muscle. My weight has gone from 132 lbs to 128 lbs. Unfortunately I did not take physical measurements of my body. I know I would see a big change there as indicated by the way my clothes fit. My calorie in-take has increased from 900 to 2600+ calories a day and yes I am still losing weight and body fat. I have completed two triathlons this summer and my times went from 1:19:28 to 1:14:50 and I have set a goal for the next race of 1:10:00. I am getting stronger everyday. I am running, cycling, swimming and training harder and longer than I ever have before and I feel great. I receive complements every day of how my body has changed and how good I look.
People often ask me why I am doing what I am doing and how long I am going to be on this diet. First off what kind of question is that to ask why you want to be fit? I am doing it for me and no one else. Secondly, I am not on a diet…this is a way of life. Meral has showed me the way and I don’t intend to turn back now.
Kelly B. Allen
August 6, 2001