Such words from Alex Silver-Fagan—Nike Master Trainer, Wilhelmina model, yoga and kettlebell guru—affirm the kickass way she approaches life and fitness today. Hard to believe that just a few years back, the picture was much cloudier.
Seeking VIP club status, and maybe an escape from family drama, anxiety, and depression, this sweet, funny Jersey girl dieted and partied her way to an “emotionally and nutritionally undernourished” 90 pounds while studying at NYU. The pendulum then swung toward weightlifting and bikini competitions, but body issues remained.
Only when Silver-Fagan began studying to be a trainer—and learning to value functional strength over aesthetics—did things start turning around. Meanwhile, her willingness to openly confront her demons resonated on social media, inspiring some 100,000 Instagram followers.
“I’ve really taken an interest in therapy and meditating and journaling,” the 26-year-old adds, “recognizing what’s hindering me, finding ways to add positive moments.”
Her mantra, “You’re stronger than you think you are,” reflects her grit, and perhaps the coolest of her five tattoos, an arrow, illustrates her big picture perspective. “The point is, when life’s going backward, it’s always going to launch you further, just like an arrow,” she says of her biceps ink. “It can’t go forward without being pulled back.”
And even as her star rises, Silver-Fagan remains focused on every breath, every movement, every droplet of sweat that goes into sculpting a strong, healthy body. Or as she puts it: “My journey with fitness and my own training have progressed to being just more engaged and more present in every little aspect of it.”
So what lesson can those among us lacking workout fire learn? “You just need to keep telling yourself, ‘I’m doing this again, I’m doing this again, I’m doing this again,’ until it starts to be natural and a habit and something you crave,” Silver-Fagan urges. “You’ve gotta push through the uncomfortable.”
Trust her. She knows from experience
Have a Plan: “When you walk into the gym, know what you’re doing that day.
Be on a program or write it out or get your workout from someone who’s credible on the internet, not just someone whose butt looks good.”
Exercise Everywhere: “Don’t isolate your training to the gym. Take the stairs, walk, move throughout the day, do things that are active in general.”
Engage With Your Meals: “Make your food.Enjoy your food. Recognize how your food makes you feel rather than just saying, ‘I eat this four-ounce chicken and cup of broccoli and half sweet potato, and I hit my macro goals for the night.’ We’re humans, not lab rats.”
Eat Close to the Source: “Your food should be primarily things that grow, and I’m not saying just plants—like, an animal grows. I mean things that aren’t packaged.”
This kettlebell routine will jack up your heart rate and work your entire body. Warm up with two rounds of 30-second walkouts, bird dogs, lateral lunges, and air squats. Then perform the below moves.
1A. KB Deadlift* – (3 sets, 12 reps)
1B. KB Swing – (3 sets, 12 reps)
2A. KB Single-arm reverse lunge** – (3 sets, 6 reps per side)
2B. KB single-arm thruster – (3 sets, 6 reps per side)
2C. KB windmill – (3 sets, 6 reps per side)
3A. Lateral Shuffle Over KB – (4 sets, 30 sec rep)
3B. Alternating Single-leg V-up – (4 sets, 30 sec rep)
*Use a heavier kettlebell for this superset.
**Use a lighter kettlebell for this triset.