CJ Koegel is a fitness model with Wilhelmina Models in New York. Originally from Boca Raton, FL the 34-year-old fitness expert and personality has been seen on MTV’s Fresh Meat challenge and also competed in Football.

MM: What part of the fitness industry are you in currently?

CJ: I am currently inventing fitness products, personal training, and modeling for Wilhelmina.

MM: Where does your passion for fitness and wellness come from and do you have a specialty?\

CJ: Coming from a sports background fitness was always something I did to get better at the sport I was playing. As I am getting older, fitness has transitioned into something I do to make sure I can walk when I’m 90, haha.

MM: How have you had to adapt as an athlete since you first started to compete in sport and fitness?

CJ: You know the saying “If I knew then what I know now”… When I was younger I would just get after it and not pay much attention to recovery or mobility. Now, I focus on mobility and recovery just as much or more than my actual workouts.

MM: Are there any major fitness trends or workouts you have embraced recently that you want to share with us?

CJ: Being the inventor of a fitness product, I want to live by the practice what you preach lifestyle. That said, I have integrated my product OTTO into most of my workouts to show people that it really works.

MM: Aside from diet and sleep, what are men getting right in the health and wellness industry and what can be better?

CJ: I can’t attest to this in other cities, but in NYC the fitness community is a very positive place. Let’s take Rhone for example. Rhone is a men’s clothing brand that has brought most of the fitness community together so we can get to know each other. Now we all champion each other’s success and genuinely support each other.

MM: Have you ever had to overcome an injury or a fitness-related challenge that seemed impossible? What did you learn?

CJ: 14 miles deep into the Great Wall of China marathon I went into Hyponatremia, which is overhydration. I was at risk for heart failure, kidney failure, puking everywhere, and all my muscles were cramping. My friend has passed away from cancer earlier that year and the one thing she always would say was “never give up”. The thing I learned from this marathon was that your body can be breaking down, but your mind is what pushes you through!

MM: Outside of diet, what 3 exercises or movements would you tell our reader to do to look their best in their swimsuit?

CJ: Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition.

MM: Words to live by?

CJ: Be kind to one another.