The Personal Trainer: Fitness advice from the front lines
by Ann Angell
Special to The Star
May 19, 2013 | 3757 views |  0 comments | 156 156 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Do you ever wonder how the instructors and trainers at your gym make fitness look so easy? Not only are they in great shape, they somehow keep a tight work-out schedule without wandering too far off the fitness path. How do they stay inspired and not lose interest or motivation?

Well, having been an instructor for 30 years and a trainer for 10, I’ll tell you, it can be hard. When you work up a good sweat, you feel so much better mentally and physically. It’s a cleansing feeling that keeps me motivated.

The key is to remember that feeling.

I took a poll of a few trainers and instructors from the YMCA. Since they live this lifestyle daily, their advice is important.

Two instructors had the same advice: Abs are not made in the gym, they’re made in the kitchen. In other words, if you give it your all in the gym then go home and fill up on unhealthy, empty calories, all your hard work is in vain. The two work hand in hand. Put as much willpower into your diet as you do in the gym and you will succeed in all your health and fitness goals.

That is great advice. You might have very strong abs, but they’ll be covered up by layers of fat if your diet is not clean.

A number of trainers advised eating every two hours, even if it’s just a piece of fruit. This helps keep metabolism up as well as your energy, and should keep you from overeating when it’s time to sit down to a meal.

Another tip to curb overeating is to drink 16 ounces of water before every meal, which also serves to keep you hydrated. Sometimes we mistake hunger for thirst.

In regard to fitness routine, one instructor advised mixing up your workout. Don’t do the same workout every day — change it up. If you do the same thing over and over and expect different results you will be disappointed. Try new exercises, add speed or incline to your treadmill workout. Set new goals every month and don’t be afraid to try new things.

And use your time wisely. Remember that exercise is cumulative. Try doing a minute-long plank when you have some down time. It will lead not only to a stronger core, but also get you in the habit of squeezing in a little fitness when you can.

Another trainer said it’s important to just to be consistent in your effort because there are no quick fixes in fitness. Lean toward exercises that are challenging but manageable. You need to make your weaknesses your strengths. By doing this you will eventually see the results you desire.

Try a few of these tips from the frontlines of fitness, and see if any of them work for you. But above all, be consistent and keep fighting the fight. It will pay off in quality of life and a feeling of accomplishment.

Ann Angell is the program manager for the Oxford YMCA.
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