Tuesday, 29 December 2015 13:04

Just Getting Started? Here’s Some Expert Advice

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If you’re not the gym type but have been looking to change your lifestyle, you’re probably realized there’s no shortcut to a fit bod.

But to help nudge you along, Revue tracked down some experienced personal trainers and fitness experts and asked them how to get off the couch and stay motivated.

Specializing in weight loss and body transformations, Tiffany Duffield, 37, is the Gym Manager at Snap Fitness in Greenville and has lost over 200 pounds. “It may be good for people to know that even trainers have to work at it.”

What advice would you give a newbie when they first hit the gym?
Pace yourself. People go too hard too fast and get sore and don’t want to do it.

What’s the most common mistake newbies make at home?
Diet foods are horrible. If it says diet it’s basically full of chemicals and artificial flavors. It’s all about balancing whole foods.  Lean Cuisines aren’t where it’s at.

People are snackers. If you’re going to snack, what are some healthy options?
Almonds, berries, carrots, freeze dried fruits, kale chips. Plantain chips are natural and good dipped in hummus.

You’re huge into biking. What do you love about it? What does it do for you?
Nothing compares to riding a bike. It makes you feel like a kid again. I needed to find a form of cardio I enjoyed to be successful in my weight loss. The bonus is that the calorie burn is amazing and I get to ride with my husband who has been racing since he was 10.

You’ve got quite a weight loss story to tell. How does that effect your communication with clients?
As Americans you see a ton of people that are just digging their graves with a fork and spoon. When I realized I could control it and get myself heathy I wanted to help people. People listen more and see I’m still doing it every single day. They’re more apt to believe me and look up to me.

The Founder of EcoTrek Fitness, Cari Draft, 50, specializes in unique outdoor group workouts in all four seasons that are great for beginners.  She resides in Spring Lake and trains in Grand Haven where her clients have fun climbing dunes. She has EcoTrek trainers in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids and Holland. Lean more at ecotrekfitness.com

Where is a good place to jog in West Michigan?
Anywhere that’s lighted and that you feel safe. In the wintertime, we put on our Yaktrax. It’s a traction device that goes on your athletic shoes to give you that grip.

Do you follow a certain diet?
I like several small meals throughout the day. I don’t like to do the three, big square meals a day. I tell my clients to be constant snackers on healthy things: Frozen green grapes, raw vegetables or a handful of almonds.  

Is it OK to eat junk food every now and then?
In my mind once you start eating healthy, you’re not going to want to eat that junk food. Even this past Thanksgiving I was asked if I wanted whip cream on my pie and it didn’t sound good to me — too sugary.  

How do you get rid of a beer belly?
Exercise! But I love that people are doing the beer flights for a little taste of each kind and not drinking gigantic pints of heavy, full-calorie beers. Go for the sampler, go moderate.

What are some tips to stay motivated?
Have an accountability partner, friend or family member—or even your dog to take for a walk. Have someone in the same position as you. It’s hard to do it by yourself if you don’t have some support system in place or if you don’t have a gym membership.

You can find Matt Johnson at Blue Star Community Gym in Saugatuck and also in-home as MJ’s Personal Training. Johnson, 40, specializes in sport specific training, focusing on muscles that work around certain sports. The Holland native covers overall training with clients ranging from teens to the elderly. Find more information at bluestargym.wordpress.com.

What advice would you give a newbie when they first hit the gym?
Don’t be intimidated. Find out what’s good to do and what’s bad to do. Newbies look around and see incorrect exercises and you can build bad habits quickly.

What advice do you have for those thinking they’re “too busy” to exercise?
I wake up every morning at 4:30 a.m. to get my workout in. There’s always time for fitness or you make a lot more time for the hospital bills and trying to recover from life’s battles.  

Is it a good idea to count calories?
I’m not a calorie counter but I tell people to follow a healthy diet and a colorful diet. Try eating fist size portions of protein and carbs and colorful veggies. I also eat anything that walks on two legs or swims to get your protein. Also, whole grains.

Is beer ok to work into your diet?
I have a stein at New Holland Brewery every Wednesday. Most people’s appetites increase when they’re intoxicated. People will eat wings and drink too much. Keep the gut away by not overindulging.

What’s on your workout playlist?
I like R&B, dance and hip hop. It’s good to find what you like most and play that. You can put in some earbuds and in between sets I can chat with you about form.  

Sam Parker, 33, is a Grandville native and owner of CrossFit Grand Rapids, which specializes in personal training, Olympic style weight lifting, sports performance, to only name a few. Check it all out at crossfitgrandrapids.com

How should someone new to the gym get started?
Start slow. Set some realistic goals and a timetable, like ten pounds in two months. Put a time frame on it.

How should one balance weight training and cardio?
I’m a firm believer in equal parts. They don’t have to be separated. This is where CrossFit comes in. You can do them at the same time. That’s what CrossFit is built upon, pairing cardio exercise with weightlifting exercise, like jumping rope and deadlifts.

Do you follow a certain diet?
The Zone diet. It’s counting your macronutrients and calories, making sure you’re in the proper zones.

How should one approach junk food?
You have to be realistic. It’s going to happen at parties or during the holidays. You have to allow yourself to have those cheat meals. Nobody wants to be a robot and eat the same things for the rest of their lives. I’ve got three kids. I can’t eat perfect.

What’s a good way to lose the belly fat?
Watch how much processed carbs you take in (bread and pasta). Replace breads with sweet potatoes and other veggies.

Do you have a preference for workout songs?  
We like to have fun at CrossFit Grand Rapids. I’d say ‘80s music, like Toto’s “Africa.” We had Rick Astley on today.

The owner of Fit with Tab, Tabitha Goldsmith, 33, offers in person and online health coaching, local boot-camp classes and fitness programs for individuals with Down syndrome. Check out more at fitwithtab.com.

You’re a mother of four, how do you fit in exercise? What are some tips?
Everybody has a crazy schedule. Start with small, realistic goals, like ten minutes per day. If you do that for a week or two you’ll build confidence. From there you’re creating successful patterns and habits.

Is counting calories a practical method to weight loss?
It depends on the individual and what their goals are. Be aware of what you’re putting in your body. Start a food journal with pen to paper or an app to help you log what you’re eating.

What are your favorite jogging spots?
I love to run and started a program called Rapid Runners with the Down syndrome Association of West Michigan.  I train a group of young adults to compete in 5K races. We train around Reed’s Lake and I also enjoy the walking trails through Lowell.

How can someone sneak pizza into their diet?
The more you deprive yourself of what you truly want that’s all you can focus on. Work the junk food into your daily and weekly plans. If you want to have pizza Friday night, have it. Just plan for that and get your workout in and eat mindfully to make sure you’re balancing the calories.

What’s more important: Weight training and cardio?
Both are vital, but I’m a strong believer in strength training. The bulk of my clients are women and we don’t make enough time for strength training.

Tom Traynor, 56, specializes in 30-minute workouts at Traynor World Class Workout in Ada. The newly expanded gym is 4,000 square feet of supervised personal training.

What is the most common mistake newbies make?
Not designing a balanced workout. People tend to gravitate to what they’re good at and not working on areas they need to strengthen. You want to build a balanced body that will take you to the second half of your life.

What’s the best kind of snacks?
Cheats can be from good sources: A bunch of cashews rather than Oreos. The processed food thing is rat poison. Have a small piece of something you want to enjoy just don’t eat the whole burrito. Have two cheats a week that usually revolve around social calendars.

How important is staying hydrated?
The root of a bad workout comes from lack of sleep, lack of hydration and lack of food fuel. Hydration is a big issue. Try a little organic lemon juice in bottled water.

What would you tell someone who doubts hiring a trainer?
Without that base you’re out there floundering and doing “Monkey See, Monkey Do” workouts. The pros hire coaches. I guarantee you that Lindsey Vonn has a coach.

What’s the easiest thing to get active and stay healthy?
Going for a walk is good. You can do that right out of your door and at lunch. Walking is good but walking is not the workout. From there we can springboard into other activities.

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