The Sit Down: Latreal Mitchell

She’s been kicking my butt for the past 10 years, but Latreal Mitchell is more than just one of the best celebrity fitness trainers and health coaches in the business. She works out everyone from my pal Terry Crews to actor Jerry Ferrara, and also appears on the show Revenge Body with Khloé Kardashian. She’s my conscience in and out of the gym: She always makes me work hard and keeps me on the straight and narrow when it comes to health, exercise, and diet. We don’t always agree on everything—like the fact that she believes sugar is the devil and I sometimes need my chocolate milkshake fix—but she pushes me to my limit and, I tell you, it’s worth all the sweat and tears. She helps me stay fit, which to me means being able to jump out of bed and head to work, play with my kids, and basically do the things I need to do throughout the day without any restrictions (or pain). For me, being fit doesn’t have to do with having a six-pack; it’s about being able to live my life to its fullest. Sometimes I don’t like her—like when she makes me do anything using a kettlebell—but I always love her, especially when she’s helping others to lead healthy, happy lives: In 2009, she founded the nonprofit Fitness Bunch Foundation to fight childhood obesity by educating kids on health, nutrition, and exercise. She’s all about being healthy, in mind, body, and spirit, and she’s as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.

Her story: “When I was 18 years old, I wanted to be a model. I decided I needed to get in great shape to do that, so every morning I would get up and work out to [fitness expert] Denise Austin. My big day with a well-known modeling agency finally came … and they told me I would never be a model. I left the meeting and cried all the way home. The next morning, I woke up and worked out to Denise. A gym opened up in my area, and I joined it, and after a couple of months, I started teaching fitness classes there. That was the beginning of my career.”

Her star client: “Michael has been my client for almost a decade and he still works hard every time he shows up. I have very high expectations of him and he always exceeds them in the gym, even when he complains—and I ignore his complaints. He’s not a big fan of kettlebell or ViPr workouts (movement and strength training). Strength is not a problem for Michael, but he hates muscle endurance–type workouts. He’s really good at it, but he doesn’t enjoy it.”

Her M.O.: “Tough love. I’m not into whining, complaining, or excuses. I’m all about helping people achieve what they say they want—and eliminating the excuses that stopped them in the past from achieving their goals.”

Her must-haves: “I have to have veggies; my fridge is always full of greens. Great workout attire [like Carbon 38], 90’s hip-hop and R&B, Kiehl’s skin products, and a good bottle of champagne.”

Her influences: “I’m into self-help books and I read a lot about health and nutrition… there are too many authors to name. My first major influence was my dad: He taught me about being an entrepreneur and following my dreams. My mom, who became a mother when she was a teenager, taught me how to be tough and resilient. Oprah Winfrey and Shonda Rhimes are powerhouses in their industries and great examples of the woman I’d like to be in my industry.”

Her best advice: “Focus on yourself and don’t worry about what others are saying and doing.”

She’s happiest when … “My clients achieve their goals. I love watching their confidence levels go through the roof. A lot of people may not admit it, but we all have issues with some part of our body. I like to teach self-love; once we truly love ourselves and stop talking down about ourselves, we can make lasting changes. Lasting change comes when the subconscious conversation changes.”

Her motto: “Trying is lying. Stop trying to get into shape and just do it!”