South Beach Bodied…..Meet Ella and Courtney



The title of this blog is misleading because its really not about bodies at all, but rather all about eating. It doesn’t hurt, of course, to use two slamin hot ones to get your attention 😉 Yeap, as you can see above, I’ve been hanging, working out and eating with these two Miami Beach-based ladies: Ella Magers and Courtney Watkins. Take another look above…..let’s just say, I aspire to this!! To make my situation even more of an uphill battle, I have a MAJOR confession to make. I’ve totally slipped off my limited booze/low sugar wagon and it shows 🙁 I’d love to make excuses like, OMG our Miami move was SO stressful (it was), the boys transition to a new school was extremely challenging (definitely was) OR I felt like my part of my identity has been stripped away now that I’m not teaching and I’m down about it (I am); but that would be the wuss way out. Nope, I’d like to confess that of late, I’ve loved both my nightly glass(es) of wine and sweet treats on the reg. Pretty much since my late June birthday up to now its been a consistent free for all, I was having too much fun, acting like the party was every night and not being my usual disciplined self. Now that I have a plan in place to limit the habits, (a plan, btw, is everything if you want to make real moves) I’m all on it.

ANYWAY, this blog post is about being inspired by real, hard-working, fit, fierce and dedicated South Beach Bodies. Ella and Courtney are entirely different in the way they teach fitness, workout and eat, but both have achieved amazing “lifestyles” that afford them these beautiful and healthy physiques. At the very heart of this lifestyle is food. So, I interviewed them both about their daily diets because EYE wanted to know (same questions for each, which I include below) and because I only hope they inspire you as much as they do me, especially when I’m needing it most (like right now!):

CP: What is your “food philosophy” if you have one?

EM: The more whole plant foods the better! Variety is key, as is avoiding processed foods and oils as much as possible. 100% plant-based is the way to go!

CW: My food philosphy is to eat clean, avoiding added sugar, salt, and processed foods. But it really depends on your goals. The more strict your diet is, you achieve better results.

CP: Outline your food diary on a typical day. 

EM: Sample Day’s Menu includes a Super Food Shake for breakfast (cashew milk, frozen banana, spinach, hemp seeds, flax meal), huge salad with raw veggies and chickpeas for lunch, fresh pineapple as a snack, finally for dinner I’ll have BakedTofu & Dr. Praeger’s Veggie Littles.

CW: I drink a full glass of water first thing in the morning with supplements/vitamins. Half an hour later my breakfast is an egg white omelet with spinach, red peppers, side of fruit or oatmeal with green tea or coffee (the latter not every day). My mid-morning snack is greek yogurt with fruit or green smoothie. Lunch is  kale rubbed with avocado (no dressing), tomato, cucumber, chicken or tuna. My afternoon snack is veggies with hummus or smoothie. Post-workout/Dinner is can be a grilled turkey burger with asparagus.

CP: How do you fuel your workouts? Eat post-working out?

CW: I go for complex carbs pre workout and it usually involves peanut butter and on a rice cake with a Celsius drink. It’s important to eat protein within 30 minutes post workout, so if I’m not able to eat food right away I’ll have a protein shake. But I typically food prep in advance so always have dinner waiting at home. I prefer real food to protein shakes and bars.

EM: An hour and a half before working out I like to eat a serving of fresh fruit, and post-workout a super food shake is great.

CP: How do you feel about cleanses? Have you ever tried one?

EM: I think cleanses are good to do a few times a year (more or less depending how clean your diet is). I think doing a cleanse that involves a couple days of smoothies followed by a couple days of juice is a good way to go. I’ve done them and think they are great for detoxing, not as a weight loss method because people tend to gain the weight back quickly if you don’t change your diet long term. Eating clean for a lifetime is the best way to stay lean and fit.

CW: I think detoxing your body is a good start but eating clean and healthy is easier to maintain in the longterm. I’ve never tried a cleanse. I have given myself a 30 day clean eating challenge which is basically no sugar, no salt, no processed food, only healthy fats, high protein, eating as lean and healthy as possible which also means cooking mostly at home. (food prep is key in staying on track with healthy eating).

CP: What are your favorite go-to snacks?

EM: Fresh fruit (pineapple, mango, nectarines, grapefruit), veggies and hummus, carrots and celery with almond butter, and Lentil Chips.

CW: Peanut Butter and Banana, Nana Ice Cream.

CP: What is always in your fridge?

EM: Spinach/greens, tomatoes, cucumber (my dog’s favorite snack ;)), hemp seeds, flax meal, banana, fresh fruit, chickpeas, nut milk and tofu.

CW: eggs, almond milk, greek yogurt, greens (kale/spinach) turkey or chicken.

CP: What are you vices?

EM: I love strong Dark Belgium Beer and tequila.

CW: Peanut Butter 100%

CP: How often do you indulge, if ever? And how?

EM: I don’t ever “indulge” with animal products. I eat totally plant-based, and because my base reason is ethical, I am not tempted by animal products and bi-products. I certainly do indulge on less-than-healthy vegan food sometimes though! I also love Stacy’s Pita chips and yes I consider those a treat! I will splurge every now on then on vegan pizza (Visa 01 makes an amazing one), a glass of wine on occasion and coconut milk ice cream… yum!!!

CW: Depending on my goals, I usually have a cheat day on the weekends, anything goes. It’s all about finding that balance. Everything in moderation, so if I’m craving ice cream I’ll make a healthier version or wait until the weekend. Being consistent with your workouts is also an important factor in bouncing back from the cheat meals. It’s much easier to maintain a balanced diet and lifestyle if you stay active as well.

CP: What are you favorite spots to get food / drinks / smoothies / juices, etc?

EM: Milk Gone Nuts for nut milk, smoothies, and juices; Plant Theory Botanical Café; Juice and Java; Carrot Express; Full Bloom Vegan for an upscale gourmet dinner; Yard House for watching sports and eating vegan wings.

CW: Pura Vida, Apple a Day, Milk Gone Nuts, and Go-Go Salad.

CP: Does your body look different now than it did when you ate differently in past stages of your life?

EM: : I’ve always been into sports so have had an athletic body since I was a kid. I have been developing muscle and refining my diet along the way and am as happy with my body now as I’ve ever been. Strong, toned, not too thin but lean 🙂

CW: Definitely. I feel stronger mentally and physically. Food really affects more than just your waistline. But I agree 100% with the saying… Abs are made in the kitchen.

Perfect note to end on!! Thanks you two and I definitely need to keep you both close by to help me stay honest with my plans moving forward.

I have two quick final personal notes to add. First, especially of late with distractions swirling all around me, I’ve circled back to adjusting the volume of food I’m consuming and eating more mindfully. These two go hand-in-hand. Even too much healthy fresh food isn’t a good thing and feeling too full is uncomfortable. I am chewing more slowly and paying attention to the flavors and textures of food as a way to enjoy it and avoid over doing it. Second and most important, as we all know genetics is undeniable and unchangeable. We can adjust and tweak our physique within a certain range around our physical set points, but not drastically transform ourselves. There is NO WAY I am ever going to look like Ella or Courtney no matter what I eat and how I exercise. I’m a short Latin/German twin mom, come on, let’s be real. So my point is, I would make myself miserable if I tried to compare my body or lifestyle to theirs. In fact, those days of comparing myself to other women are long long over, its a waste of time! I prefer to celebrate other beauties by simply being inspired and this is much easier when I feel good about how I’m eating, moving and living. My hope is that you read this and digest it with a similar positive perspective.


Learn more about Ella:

Connect with Courtney:

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