Nino Magaddino was in his early 20s when depression, anxiety and confusion came at him in waves, knocking him down and holding him under. “I just wasn’t in a good place,” the certified master trainer and owner of Max Flex Fitness in Naples says. “But I noticed when I started to exercise, I was happier and felt like I had more of a purpose.”
When he started training, Magaddino’s vision for his life crystallized. For the first time, he saw not only who he was but who he wanted to become. The idea for Max Flex Fitness was born with the concept of helping people transform their bodies and lives by adopting the goal-oriented mindset of an athlete. Since starting in 2011, Magaddino has grown Max Flex Fitness to include nearly 10 nationally accredited fitness and wellness consultants who train clients at the gym, near Vanderbilt Beach, and in people’s homes.
For the team, the focus isn’t on losing weight or carving out a six-pack—though those are definitely possible outcomes. Instead, clients are encouraged to set an intention and tackle it the same way an athlete would train for a competition. “We ask clients ‘Is there anything specific you’ve always wanted to do?’ Then we create a fitness/nutrition plan that’s very specific and tailored to those goals,” he says. If the goal is to run a 5K, the training will include cardio, instructions on form, skipping drills for power, stretching to avoid injuries, but also lifestyle knowhow like how to load up on carbs before a race. “We try to change their frame of mind. If I can get them to feel they are training as an athlete, that can be more motivating than saying, ‘You need to lose 25 or 30 pounds.’”
Magaddino agrees the red-hot CrossFit phenomenon of the early 2000s spurred functional fitness programs like his. “People want to enjoy more of an active, healthy lifestyle, especially here in Naples,” he says. “That means playing sports like tennis, golf or even playing with your kids and grandkids.” Traditional strength training focuses on push-pull movements on one plane of motion. But life is multidimensional, moving side-to-side, twisting and turning. That’s why Magaddino and his team like to focus the physical aspects of training on balance, agility, strength, core work and plyometrics—training that involves jumping and explosive movements, much like the skipping and jump roping you did as a kid, to build muscle. “Science and data show functional training prevents injury and gets people stronger in everyday life,” Magaddino says.
Following the athlete model, he instructs clients that a workout starts the day before with proper rest, and it continues after the physical exertion by building in rest days, stretching and proper eating habits. Golfers will lift for arm strength, but they’ll also have flexibility sessions to aid in torso rotation; for a day of weight training, he’ll instruct clients to eat protein and carbs, like an egg white omelet, a couple hours before the session.
In the fitness industry since 2001, Magaddino became a certified personal trainer and had to build 10 years of coaching experience and multiple other qualifications before he became a master trainer. He’s one of only 100 National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified master trainers in the U.S., and the only one in Collier County. He pours that experience into his athletes, and observes his clientele is increasingly female.
Magaddino says women have been particularly drawn to the concept of training like an athlete, gaining a sense of empowerment from accomplishing the goals. Chiseled bodies and increased energy are just some of the side benefits.
And because a key part of an athlete’s regiment is discipline and follow-through, he’s developed programs that help clients with accountability. He recently created a 28-day, all-female group focusing on daily habits and lifestyle coaching (including customized meal plans and recipes) coupled with weekly accountability emails, calls and Zoom sessions. “Preparing them to be their best—that’s the athlete mindset,” Magaddino says.