Marissa Vicario: Teaching Her Clients to be “Holistically Hot…”

Through my work with Body Conceptions, I spend lots of time getting to know the wellness community in the city. I’m always looking for ways to connect our Body Conceptions clients with the best and most respected wellness professionals around (and I’m also always looking for ways to broaden my own horizons!).

Marissa Vicario was one of the first such people I met when I launched Body Conceptions 2 ½ years ago. She caught my attention because she had made a big change in her professional life from working in Public Relations to becoming a health coach. Similarly, I had left a graduate program in clinical neuropsychology to dance in the musical theater world many years ago — and I had never wanted to go back.

Marissa has become known for her articulate advice for women on achieving healthy relationships with food. She works with at-risk families, and she’s a great inspiration to other women looking to change their careers. She’s also a major force in the city’s female entrepreneur community.

It’s my pleasure to introduce Marissa to you now. Enjoy!!


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1) Could you talk a little bit about your work as a health coach? What do you do on a daily basis?

I’m a board-certified health and nutrition coach who helps women change their relationship with food. Through blogging, speaking, my online programs and one on one coaching, I inspire women to deliciously fuel their bodies to turbocharge their health and look their best without resorting to starvation, diets or calorie-counting.

2) Do you only talk to women about food? If not, what else?

Yes, I primarily work with women in the areas of food and nutrition. I also mentor women who want to make career changes like I did. I help them get on the right track to making that change.

3) You are so busy, and you’ve been featured in so many great articles and blogs. How do you find the time to be healthy?

Being healthy is a priority for me. If I don’t take care of myself then I won’t have the energy to do it all. I think there’s a misconception that being healthy has to take a lot of time. It doesn’t; only a commitment. When the commitment is there, you make it happen.

4) What made you decide to get into health coaching?

I’ve always loved fitness and I got to a point where I realized that if I wanted to be fit and healthy, it meant changing how I ate. So I started eating a whole foods diet and it changed everything for me. I was working full time in Public Relations for a tech start-up at the time and everyone on the office was around my age. They were all more interested in what I was eating for lunch everyday than my PR strategy. When I discovered health coaching, I knew that I had found my calling and dream job.

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5) What’s your favorite part of your job?

I love speaking to groups about nutrition and inspiring as many women as possible to make healthy changes. It’s the best feeling in the world to make healthy living accessible to someone who is feeling overwhelmed or offer a new perspective to someone who may be struggling. I also love bringing this work to charity. I work with families in the most at-risk areas of NYC to teach them to make healthier choices.

6) What do you think makes you different from other health coaches?

The honest answer is that I’m me.

7) I always enjoy asking: Is there anything fun or interesting about you that most people don’t know?

At 13, I declared myself a vegetarian. I was a little activist and little did I know was paving my way in the world of food and nutrition early on!

8) How does someone get in touch with you if they want to use your services?

There’s an online form on my web site or email me at .


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Founder of Marissa’s Well-being and Health, Marissa Vicario is a NYC-based board certified health coach and healthy living expert who helps women transform their relationship with food. She shares her health secrets, get-fit tips and the cooking expertise that has inspired countless women to ditch the diet mentality and turbocharge their health to become holistically hot in a way that’s fun and fearless. Click here to download her e-magazine, How to Be Holistically Hot: A 30-Day Guide to Making Men Swoon and Your Friends Want What You Have.

Joanie – My Wonderful Instructor and Health Coach


I knew as soon as I heard about Joanie that I wanted to include her in my business. Words like lovely, devoted, holistic, empathetic, hard-working, and knowledgeable were some of the qualities that were used to describe her. And not only did she have extensive experience in fitness, but she had her own health coaching business and a philosophy about wellness that closely matched my own.

I pursued Joanie for a while until I wore her down (ha!) – and I’m thrilled to have her now as the senior member of my team!

It’s so important to me that Body Conceptions represents more than just fitness. We promote health and happiness in all of our clients in all stages of their lives. We also believe that nutrition, exercise, lifestyle and emotional health are all too interconnected to address separately.

Since Joanie’s business, Motivated Nutrition, represents one of the first wellness businesses we have welcomed as a partner, I thought it was important to include her here so that you can get to know her a little better. Plus, she’s just a really cool and fun person (even when she’s inflicting pain on you in your training sessions with her!).



Health coaching is kind of a mysterious term. What does it actually entail? And how did you get into it?

I get this all the time!  “What the heck is a health coach?”

I like to describe myself as a life coach that specializes in fitness and nutrition.  I help my clients set sustainable wellness goals and then we work together to transform those goals into action.  I set them up for lifelong success as they learn to listen to their bodies, become informed consumers when navigating the “health world” and strive to live each day with optimal energy and positivity!

Do you have a general coaching “philosophy?” If so, what is it?

My philosophy is rooted in the concept of “bio-individuality”.   There’s no such thing as a cookie cutter solution to our health.  We all have different background, likes, passions and goals.  There’s no such thing as one diet or lifestyle works for everybody.

Do you work with different people differently?

The bio-individuality approach means that every client is a new challenge.  And I love a challenge!  I try to understand each client as a whole person.  What foods do you love?  How much time do you have?  What workouts excite you?  How well do you manage stress?  There are so many factors that go into figuring out what lifestyle changes are going to help you reach your goals!

What have been some of your biggest challenges as a health coach?

My biggest challenge is teaching clients not to blindly follow whatever the health “trend” of the moment is.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a mean, green juice, but the juicing fad at the moment is driving me bonkers!

You are a knowledgeable and talented trainer for Body Conceptions, and the results you have gotten with our clients have been nothing short of amazing. Without mentioning names, could you talk about some of the accomplishments you’ve seen?

Aside from loosing weight and gaining strength, the biggest accomplishment in my clients has been the transformation in the way they feel in their bodies and view themselves.  There is nothing more beautiful than a woman totally in love with the way she feels in her body.  All my clients are gorgeous that way!

Part of my own philosophy establishing Body Conceptions came out of my interest in helping people lead healthier and happier lives and also connecting them with a bigger wellness community in the city. What are your thoughts about combining health coaching with fitness training?

They are one in the same.  Being physically fit is essential to good health. You want to be able to run with your children, enjoy nature’s beauty on a long hike, and not have to worry about aches and pains when you are doing things you enjoy.   My tag line has become “The healthier we are, the happier we play.”  Health coaching isn’t just about food.  It’s about becoming healthy and happy enough to “play” through life!

Ok – now to the fun stuff. Do you have any vices? What are they?

A glass of red wine and semi-sweet chocolate chips before bed.  It’s my worst, and most cherished, bad habit.  I’ve tried to cut back to just once a week but after a long day of exercise, there’s really nothing better.

You like to work with children, right? What kind of work have you done with them?

Can you remember how boring health class was growing up?  With childhood obesity on the rise, we can’t continue to make children memorize the food pyramid and expect them to eat healthier because of it.  We’ve got to get them moving and make nutrition fun!  I’ve developed a creative movement program that builds confidence in children as movers, gets their heart rates up, enhances creativity and the end of the session they are telling me things like “Sugar is whack!”

I also have a family health-coaching program that helps families incorporate better nutrition, meal planning, exercise and wellness habits into their busy, everyday lives.

And what’s something fun about you that no one would ever guess?

I took 7 ½ months off and backpacked through Southeast Asia with my fiancé a few years ago.  We walked 6 miles of The Great Wall of China, climbed 3 volcano’s in Indonesia and nearly died in a sulfur mine at the bottom of one them (!), learned to drive Elephants in Laos, slept under a million stars in an Indian dessert after riding camels for 8 hrs, and hiked through a blizzard in the Himalayas in Nepal for 8 days…All while wearing the same 2 T-shirts and 3 pairs of underwear.   AND I made some pretty awesome travel videos along the way!