Mike Foley, 42, personal trainer, nutritionist, and author of “Eat to be Fit.”

He operates Foley’s Fitness at World Gym on Marginal Way in Portland. He lives in Scarborough with his wife and three children. 

Q: How long have you been in the nutrition and fitness industry?

A: I’ve been a personal trainer since 1987 and a nutrition consultant since 1990. 

Q: What is Foley’s Fitness? 

A: It’s a company I established in 1994. It’s basically my nutrition program. 

Q: What does your program entail? 

A: The sessions are 15 minutes, unless it’s the start of the program (first meeting), which takes between 45 to 60 minutes. In the initial session, we sit down and talk about your goals. We design a nutrition regiment to go along with your exercise routine. I have some clients that are not gym people. They might be just walkers. I have a couple people that are very large. I might have them do a five-minute walk three or four times a day. It’s more than what they are doing. I’m working with a lot of people getting ready for the Iron Man. On the weekends, they exercise for 10 hours a day. It’s amazing to me how much they exercise. 

Q: How many clients do you see a week?

A: Right now, I see about 200 clients a week. It’s a long day. 

Q: How much exercise do recommend for the average person?

A: I try to make sure they do at least 30 minutes of cardio a day at least four times a week, depending on what their goals are. If you want to get in better shape you might need more commitment.” 

Q: Is part of that eating healthy? 

A: I have people eating consistently. If your body isn’t sure when you’re going to feed it, it becomes every efficient at storing fat. The whole key to changing your body is to get your body burning fat when you’re not working out.” 

Q: Why did you decide to pursue this field?

A: I was going into college. I had back surgery and lost a lot of weight. I wasn’t able to work out. When I got back into working out, my body never came back.

I never really ate healthy in high school. I played sports, but was I just an average athlete at best. I found that as I started making a commitment to nutrition, I felt much better personally and liked the changes it made physically and mentally. 

Q: What was your purpose for writing “Eat to be Fit?”

A: It was something I always wanted to accomplish. With the help of Pat Walsh, I was able to write the book. 

Q: How many copies have you sold? 

A: I don’t know. I have given away so many. 

Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge for people trying to live a healthy lifestyle?

A: I think the biggest challenge is mentally giving in to eating healthy. So many times when people go about doing nutrition plans, they are so used to taking short cuts where they try to lose weight quick with very little effort or no effort.

There are so many different ways you can design a diet that work. If you put structure in someone’s eating and give them enough of the right nutrients at the right time, they can change their body. That does you no good to lose weight if you can’t maintain it. 

Q: So what’s the trick? If someone is on a good streak and they are exercising every day and eating healthy, but they hit a plateau — how can they get past that plateau to keep the momentum going forward?

A: For those people, I would first start by changing the exercise a little bit. Let’s say they are a walker and they are not a gym person. Maybe adding five or 10 more minutes of exercise for a short time will help. Sometimes when you hit a plateau, it doesn’t mean that every pound is going to be fighting you. A lot of times, the easiest thing to do when you hit a plateau is increase your calories gradually for two or three weeks, and then take those calories away, you will drop (weight) again. 

Q: How many kids do you see?

A: Not that many. Right now I have four kids I’m working with under the age of 13. I always work with quite a few high school kids. What’s great about these four kids is that they are doing the program with their parents. 

Q: What’s your take on childhood obesity?

A: I’m not sure if kids have ever really eaten well. Each generation gets less and less active. I think when I was growing up, a lot my friends didn’t play sports. They were as good as I was. Now, there is such a separation of the athletes. I think because it’s competitive, a lot of kids fall through the cracks of being physically active.” 

Q: Are you taking on new clients?

A: I’m always taking on new clients. 

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: [email protected]