Carmella: The Personal Transformer

Getting into shape can be hard work. It’s not something that happens overnight. It requires a level of commitment that can overwhelm those who aren’t serious about rebuilding their bodies.

Carmella Collins knows her stuff when it comes to working out. As a bodybuilder, she’s garnered national attention for her abilities, including competing nationally and getting her Pro Card from the International Federation of BodyBuilding on her first attempt. As a personal trainer at Gravity Fitness, she’s also used to working with gay men to help build their bodies. She’s known throughout the community for her sweetness, which disappears the moment she’s training someone.

In other words, she’s the perfect person to ask about getting into shape. We spoke with Carmella about her experience in bodybuilding, and what she recommends for those who want to start working out.

David Atlanta: How did you get your start bodybuilding?

Carmella Collins: I started so long ago, I’ll be giving my age away. I’ve been doing this for going on…almost 30 years. I started…phew, a long time ago, in the gym. I had a guy that I was dating who was a national competitor, and I was dancing in a club at the time as a go-go dancer. He’d come and watch me dance, and said, “You know, I can get you out of this business.” I said, “Why do you think I want out of this business? I love this business! I make good money, and I love it.” Then he said, “I want to train you.” I liked him. He’s cute, and he had a lot of muscles, so I started out at the Diamond Gym in New Jersey. That’s how I got started, just to get in shape.

DA: You also work as a personal trainer at Gravity Fitness.

CC: To tell you the truth, I’m a fag hag. I love them. The gay men here in Midtown have put me on the map as far as my training, to realize what I have to offer actually take me up on that, and I’ve transformed so many bodies in Midtown. If you see a good-looking body, it might be made by me!

DA: With this being the beginning of the year, it’s the time where a lot of people like to try and start getting into shape. What would you say is the most important thing someone should do in order to have long-term success in improving their bodies?

CC: Consistency. The first time I went to the Diamond Gym, this older gentleman, a bodybuilder, was there, and he told me, “Carmella, this game is about consistency. You have to be consistent with your training. That means put a program together and stick with it. Programs fail because people aren’t consistent.”

DA: Now, if someone manages to reach their target weight or target build, what can they do to maintain their body? I’d imagine that by sticking with the same exercises for a long enough period of time, the exercises become less effective.

CC: No, because it’s not about the exercise. I was actually telling one of my clients today; I went over to Atlantic Station, and it looked like a model show – guys posing, nobody sweating. I come from a hardcore, musclehead, crazy, headbanging, heavy metal kind of gym atmosphere where you have to exert energy. There’s no way that you’re going to get results going into a gym and going through a routine, and going through the motions. It ain’t happening. You need intensity. You need to exert energy. You need to sweat blood, sweat and tears, honey.

What I’ve noticed in Atlanta, coming from New Jersey and New York – people don’t have the knowledge, and nobody’s teaching them how to train. They’re not incorporating intensity into their workouts. You can go to the gym eight days a week, or 400 times a day – it doesn’t matter. If you’re just going to pick up the equipment and go through the motions, nothing’s happening. You have to work.

DA: What else would you like to tell our readers who are about to go find a gym or a trainer?

CC: Well, honey, I’m candid. I’ll tell people like it is. I want people to know: watch your trainers. If you do not see results within three weeks, get rid of them. They’re milking you. They’re hustling you. Now that’s the truth – I’ve seen it happen. And the reason why I say three weeks is through experience, watching people change. Actually, you can see a person’s body change in one workout. You know why? Because when you bring the oxygen and the blood and the intensity to that muscle, it swells up. All my clients are one size bigger when they leave me. They’re pumped up.

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