Body Shifters

Confident that your best body is just a few sessions away, meet the top trainers making Miami mighty, one workout regimen at a time.
Text by Ryan Jarrell Photos by Edward Leal | May 10, 2018 | People

Equinox Brickell Heights
850 S. Miami Ave., Brickell

“Remember, as we say at Equinox, ‘It’s not fitness. It’s life.’ — that’s one of the most important things to keep in mind no matter what your fitness goals may be.”

A football player in college, Equinox Brickell Heights trainer Devon O’Farrell found himself developing an odd calling while participating in that most American of athletic endeavors. While his peers seemed satisfied amassing touchdowns and tackles, dreaming of jet-setting careers and lucrative sponsorships, O’Farrell discovered his most fulfilling moments fell away from the bright lights of the University of South Dakota’s coveted DakotaDome. “During workouts, I loved trying to push my teammates and motivate them,” he says. “I knew at that point I wanted to be a fitness professional.” A perpetual optimist intent that people should feel every bit as good as they look, O’Farrell’s proudest professional accomplishments are inevitably complemented by the enriching of his clients’ lives. “The most rewarding aspect of my job is that I get to meet complete strangers and help them achieve their goals,” he says. “People so often struggle with meeting their personal life and fitness goals, and it’s truly wonderful that, in a short time, I can help them get to a point that they never thought possible.” Relatively new to The Magic City, this fitness nut’s favorite pastime is as special as it is healthful. “I jog through Bayside every morning, just so I can see the sunrise!”

Referencing Equinox’s holistic approach to movement, nutrition and regeneration, O’Farrell cites several basic principles necessary to see some positive physical changes in your life. “First, you have to have a good attitude and relentless mindset,” he says. “Realize there are going to be days you don’t want to train, but stay determined and you won’t regret it. Consistency is key.” Another helpful, healthful tip that we don’t think anyone can disagree with is that everyone should get plenty of sleep. “If you want to see results, you must recover properly,” he says. “Getting enough quality sleep will do wonders for your regimen!”

Cure Fitness
1800 SW 1st Ave., Brickell

“Trends are a dime-a-dozen, but that’s really all they are, just passing fads. I just do what I know works and try to have a little fun while doing it.”

A distinctly Miamian fitness professional intent on helping folks radically reinvent the way they approach their bodies, Alex Cure’s life has followed a tenor many in Miami would identify with. Born in Brazil, Cure’s future as an athletically inclined entrepreneur seemed to have been fated from birth. “I’ve been active and involved in sports since I was young,” he says, citing an intense physicality present in even his earliest of memories. Certain that something was lacking in the modern concept of physical fitness, Cure Fitness and its methodology was founded on a process drawn from a decade working with some of South Florida’s top personal trainers. Intent on the idea that true fitness means so much more than dumbbell reps in another cutesy cookie-cutter facility, Cure’s process ensures that clients maximize all aspects of their lifestyle, a transformation the trainer finds so much more satisfying than any salary. “I can’t just put on a suit and sit in a cubicle,” he says. “I need to interact with people, make them feel good about themselves — to help others find the same passion for fitness that I have is more rewarding than you can imagine!”

Are you eager to transform your flabby frame into a social media stunner? Not sure where to start? When? How? Well, whatever you decide, understand that It’s going to take some patience to get the results you want. “There’s no quick fix to anything,” says Cure, “but if you work a little bit day by day, you will see some significant results before you know it. Consistency is the most important factor in any effective fitness regimen.”

Skanda Yoga Studio
1800 SW 1st Ave., Ste. 102, Brickell

“I love to see the sunrise while practicing, and there’s nothing like witnessing the full moon with the rhythm of drums.”

A lifelong yogic practitioner mindful of the manifold benefits her practice has afforded her, Lina Vallejo’s finest moments come when she can enliven and enlighten members of the community in their own potential. “While I see client transformations every day, one has always stuck with me,” she says. “One time, a young woman came to us because she was overweight and on over 18 different prescription medications for everything from high cholesterol to mental illness. In less than 2 years, her doctor had suspended all her prescriptions. When she came to tell me how grateful she was that yoga had done this for her, I just smiled. I knew I wasn’t responsible. It was her consistency and discipline that made those changes possible. That’s the true magic of yoga.” As an innovator eager to provide the best possible enhancements to her clientele, Vallejo is quick to point out that practicing a centuries-old art doesn’t mean you have to throw away modern medical advances. “Our program at Skanda is amazing because we use several modern scientific stretching techniques that aren’t used in many standard classes,” she says. “We’ve combined the best techniques of many traditions to communicate an original and specialized style.”

When asked for the swiftest tips and techniques to battle the bulge, Vallejo is quick to recommend a practice gaining a lot of traction in the last few years. “My top tip is to practice yoga daily,” she says. “This helps people stay in shape not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well.” Does she have any accessory tips for getting the most out a new yoga regimen? Surely. “It’s vital you have a diet based on protein, vegetables, fruits and low carbs, and to start your day in a state of gratitude and appreciation.”

Pilates Center By Bernadette
260 Crandon Blvd., Ste. 36, Key Biscayne

“All my client transformations have been incredibly special to me…My clients and their goals challenge me to bring out the best in them and in myself.”

As a former professional dancer with the world-renowned Australian Ballet Company, Bernadette Ceravolo, Founder & Principal of landmark movement studio Pilates By Bernadette, Pilates was a complementary aspect of maintaining a vocation she loved. Discovering the still-emerging Pilates method matched her need to maintain strength and flexibility in the field of dance, Ceravolo eventually moved to New York to study with famed instructor Romana Kryzanowska (who herself trained under founder Joseph H. Pilates); and, after a rigorous training process, became dedicated to instilling others with the passion and fulfillment her craft has yielded. “There’s nothing like taking someone through the Pilates process and helping them unlock their pain and transform their mind and body,” she says. While Ceravolo loves learning and understanding what’s trending in the fitness scene, she tempers her observations with her traditional Pilates background and its applications in order to better serve and personalize routines for her clients. “From the instant you step through our doors, we’re dedicated to giving you the original method of Pilates,” she says. “We’re particularly proud to hold this authentic label…The Joseph Pilates method is truly unparalleled if you take the time to legitimately understand his work.”

Like many of the fitness pros around the world, Ceravolo doesn’t believe there’s any singular way to get fit quick. “The best things in life take time, dedication and determination to accomplish them,” she says. “Do what you love with passion and enthusiasm; the rest will fall into place.” Eager to promote her craft, Ceravolo recommends people interested in the fantastic benefits of Pilates training to contact her studio for customized programs and healthful tips.

Cure Fitness
1800 SW 1st Ave., Brickell

“I rarely implement trends in my practice because I believe that nothing beats the basics!”

A local strength and conditioning pro plying his trade in The Magic City for the last 12 years, William “Coach” Cameron of innovative fitness experts Cure Fitness got his start in the field the way so many do: participating in childhood athletics programs. “I’ve always been involved in all kinds of sports,” he says. “I started receiving training from a young age, and knew I couldn’t make it as a professional player, but I thought maybe I could help others perform at a higher level.” Proud of a number of notable client transformations (including, but not limited to, training children to be future elites in their sports of choice), the aspect “Coach” appreciates most about his vocation? The freedom it provides him. “I love being wherever I want to be whenever I want, with no one telling me what to do,” he says. “I never really liked the idea of being stuck in an office all day!” His advice for the aspiring fitness gurus of tomorrow? The job isn’t as easy as it looks. “People entering the field just because they want extra money are destroying the industry,” he says. “Fitness takes education, talent and a good eye for inadequacies of movement — those are the aspects that really matter.”

Want Coach Cameron’s advice on getting fit quick? Don’t look for a quick fix! “People always want something quickly, but that’s not how fitness works. People fail to realize that the people they see on magazine covers and in music videos have been working out, consistently, for a very long time.” Aware, as any professional in his field is, that everyone’s regimen should be individualized, he has one warning for people who find their fitness instructions in YouTube videos and magazine articles. “Always remember that what works for someone else may not work for you… people really need a professional to introduce them to proper exercise habits.”