In college, Mitch Senat was a skinny, basketball-playing psychology student. Today, the personal trainer can be seen strutting the streets of New York City at a cool 245 pounds, strictly maintained at an astounding 7% body fat. So, what led to such a drastic transformation?
The Path to Fitness
Fitness was never in Senat’s career plans as a youth. “At first I thought I was going to be in front of a desk my whole life, because I was a bookworm and really quiet,” he says. While in college, Senat started working at a nightclub and ended up becoming a manager. After six years of the nocturnal lifestyle, he realized it was time for a fresh start. Having grown up playing sports, Senat knew change was needed. “I just didn’t feel right,” he says.
Senat says he went back to his old high school basketball coach to ask if he could help train the team. The new gig gave Senat a reason to stay in shape and led him to begin training some of the students’ parents. Once he started doing individual training, Senat says he was eager to learn and put his bookworm background to use by studying for new certification tests. Today, Senat has more than half a dozen certifications, including nutrition, strength training, kettle bells, and boxing.
Once Senat’s clients began to see how much time he put into his work, his career took off. Prior to meeting with Senat, many of his clients never took exercise very seriously. Once they’re around Senat on a consistent basis, they start to take training very seriously and incorporate it into their daily lives. “Truthfully, I like the fact that I’m helping them build more confidence in themselves,” he says.
Accommodating Clients to Reach Their Goals
Part of what keeps his clients coming back is Senat’s willingness to accommodate their busy schedules. “With people with busy work schedules, I cut down their goals because it’s not as realistic.” Rather than set up a 10 month goal that is unlikely to be attained, Senat will set up shorter goals, such as 2 months, so that even the less committed are able to see progress. This, in addition to problem solving and motivational appeal, is one of the many elements to personal training that Senat has taken from his psychology degree.
Beyond workout structure, Senat also gives his clients extensive access to reach him at any time. This includes emails and texts throughout the day regarding diet questions, screenshots of grocery lists, and pictures of meals from his clients. “Everything they’re doing, I’m with them step by step,” Senat says.
With clients in all sorts of careers, Senat believes his work can help people in any profession. “Without being physically and mentally fit you really can’t do your everyday job. It doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor, a lawyer, whatever,” Senat says. “If you’re walking around out of shape not liking yourself, not wanting to do anything, that’s going to affect your everyday routine.”
Fitness Over Everything
Senat subscribes to the mantra “fitness over everything.” Why is that? He believes being in shape has a trickle down effect. “If you’re physically fit and mentally fit, you’re doing what you have to do to stay a certain way, everything else under that also gets affected the right way,” Senat says.
In order to show his clients, among others, just how much they’re capable of, Senat goes on weekend fitness trips a few times each year. These are most commonly based in Montego Bay. These may be scenic getaways, but they’re no ordinary vacation. After waking up at 6 am on Friday morning, the group takes a 10-mile bike ride and attends a social event that evening. On Saturday, they hike up a mountain. That night the group feasts on fresh food courtesy of a local farm, seated around a 60-person table. Sundays feature intense group circuit training at a sports park, followed by a group bonfire that evening.
What makes the trips so special is not necessarily the scenery, or even the workouts themselves. It’s the refusal to quit that the group collectively adopts that inspires Senat. He says the feeling of accomplishment that settles in at the mountaintop doesn’t compare to the little things that weigh down everyday life. “It’s mind-blowing,” Senat says.
The former psychology student may have beefed up since his college days, but much of his work every day involves strength of mind. He’s required to have the mental strength to keep his own body in top-notch condition, as well as inspire his clients to do the same with theirs. Perhaps it’s better described as a love affair though. Or as Senat would put it, “Love your fitness, love your life.”
Fitness is a great step towards a healthy lifestyle, but it isn’t everything. Learn more about WellPath’s customized nutritional solutions to optimize your nutrition.
About Zac Howard
Zac Howard is a writer on The Path Editorial Team. He is a graduate of Florida State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in magazine journalism at NYU. With his passion for lifting and dieting, Zac enjoys writing about all different kinds of exercise as well as keeping up with the latest news in the world of fitness. In addition to his contributions on The Path, he is a fitness beat writer for NYU Magazine. For more of his work, visit NYUMag.com.