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“Intense physical therapy restored mobility in both of my arms after my double mastectomy, and eventually, I was able to return to the gym. I have come back better and stronger than ever.”
  • Michelle Miller

Meet The Trainer: Michelle Miller

“I had my son when I was in my mid-thirties,” says personal trainer Michele Miller, “and found that my body didn’t bounce back the way it did when I had my two girls in my late twenties. My metabolism had changed, and it was kind of rough getting the baby weight off, so I decided to join a gym.”

Once Michele began weight training, she quickly became a self-described gym rat. “I worked out four or five days a week religiously and taught myself how to lift. This led to my getting a sales job at the gym I’d joined. When I moved to Suffolk County, I joined another gym and again did sales. It was there that the training staff noticed me and approached me. ‘We are in desperate need of a female trainer,’ I was told. ‘We have no female trainers, you work out every day, and you obviously know what you’re doing. Would you be interested in becoming certified?’ And I said, ‘You know what? Absolutely! That would be great! I’d love to do for other people what I’ve done for myself.’ So I got certified, and within that first month, I was on the floor training people. I’ve always loved helping people, so becoming a trainer was a perfect fit.”


A significant health challenge derailed Michele’s personal and professional life. “I’m a breast cancer survivor,” she says. “In my case, it was hereditary. I carry the gene. A lot of people in my family got tested, and I was the only one that came back positive. For obvious reasons, my workout routines were quite affected—for quite some time, I was out of the gym altogether because I had more than one surgery. I also had chemo, so my body wouldn’t allow my normal routine as a trainer, or even as the gym rat that I am. Intense physical therapy restored mobility in both of my arms after my double mastectomy, and eventually, I was able to return to the gym. I have come back better and stronger than ever. It’s such a huge accomplishment, and I’m super proud of it and want people to know that they can do it as well, just like I did. Again, for obvious reasons, it’s a message I want to be heard. I have been cancer-free for three and a half years.”

Paying It Forward

For Michele, gratitude plays a role as well. “I’m grateful to my mentor at the gym I just mentioned. Years ago, he encouraged me, and it’s now been over twelve years that I’ve been working out and committed to the gym routine on a personal level. Professionally, it’s been a decade.”

Michele found Fitness Incentive through friends in the business. “I’d been looking to make a change from where I was because, after Covid, they struggled to pick things back up and didn’t have the staff to facilitate bringing customers and trainers together. Two members of F.I.’s staff that I knew had nothing but wonderful things to say about this place, so I decided to check and see if they were hiring. Laurie (Gilfedder) learned about my interest, we started talking, and that’s how the ball got rolling.”

Tough Love!

When asked to describe her training philosophy, Michele wastes no time. “Philosophy? Sure. Tough love!” she says with a smile. “I want to hold people accountable, so I get in their heads a little bit. Find out what their goals are, learn how they are eating, learn what their habits are. Because it’s not just about lifting weights or getting on a bike, there’s so much more! I want to make sure that I know as much as I can about them so that together, we can hit that goal—tough love. Not mean, but, you know, stern!

Mind-Muscle Connection

I am a weight lifter,” she continues. “So a big part of my approach is teaching clients how to isolate. Pick two body parts and focus on them. Then for the next session, two different body parts. The teaching aspect is vital, as I want my clients to learn so that when they are not with me, they remember what we’ve covered and can work out effectively on their own.

And as I’ve said, I love helping others. I want my clients to be satisfied, to look and feel confident with themselves. I love hearing about people’s goals and journeys and being a part of that, helping them to get to where they want to be. And not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well. I want to inspire confidence – I don’t want anything holding people back.”

About The Author

Paul Smith
  • Paul Smith

Paul Smith manages member communications and graphic design for Fitness Incentive and Incentives Spa. He is a frequent contributor to Fit to Print.

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