I sat down with Diane Stoner, personal trainer, two time Ironman finisher, tri-athlete and holistic nutrition counselor to learn what motivates her to hit the pavement before sunrise, commit to a plant-based diet and push her clients to embrace a goal-centric fitness philosophy.

“A goal without a plan is a wish”, Diane says and is a quote she often uses to inspire her clients as they work to personalize a fitness and nutritional plan that not only will transform the way they feel but produce real results overtime. “Transformation takes time, it won’t happen overnight, so I encourage my clients to build a base, identify problem areas whether a sweet tooth or an unwillingness to move and then begin to watch their body change. You feel stronger. You have energy. Your willpower to say no to that chocolate cake on a Tuesday night happens because you have committed to a goal.”

Diane understands this commitment because it is personal. You wouldn’t know it by looking at her, but there was a time in her life she was battling her own health crisis. She tells me of the time she passed a woman who clearly was a runner at the grocery store, and made a mental note “I will have those legs one day”. Diane refused to let the challenge and hard work required intimidate her spirit. She was determined and wanted more. She wanted to love her body (again), feel empowered by her food choices and enjoy the benefits that come along with “mindful living”. It would be an understatement to say Diane achieved her goals. But Diane is not done yet. She has only just begun to make a mark. Her influence in the health community is apparent because she is a realist in her approach and knows how simple life changes can transform a person’s overall well-being.

We talk about how overwhelming it can be in a highly saturated health and fitness market, which often over promises and under delivers, to stay on track. Diane gives caution to falling into a routine that is just not right for you and your body (often resulting in injury). She provides a few simple tips to jump-start your own personal transformation:

  1. Keep a food journal.
  2. Workout in the morning (if possible, to avoid excuses as the day goes on and to jumpstart your metabolism).
  3. Maintain a well-based diet with minimal meat, dairy and sugar. But remember to allow yourself “cheat days” so it’s a lifestyle you can maintain.
  4. Eat a plant-based, whole foods diet (as much as possible).

Diane Stoner lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband Rodney. She is a Boston Marathon finisher and has completed two Ironmans. She is the founder and owner of Goal Fitness Training. Diane enjoys traveling, cooking (is a foodie!) and great wine.

Images by Rodney Stoner, owner of Rodney Scot Photography, a full service commercial, portrait and wedding photography company.