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How to ease into fitness, nutrition

How to ease into fitness, nutrition

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BLOOMINGTON — Some women go for weight loss quick fixes after the holidays, fitness professionals said.

"We take care of the household, we do the cooking and cleaning," said personal trainer Nicolette Isaacs of Fitness Connexion, Bloomington. That's why busy women are more likely than men to try an exercise or diet that promises quick results, she said.

"Anytime you're taking action to work on your fitness goals, that's positive," said Mike Trotter, regional fitness director for Gold's Gym.

"But 20-minute abs, 15-minute this, 10-minute that — those don't build a habit," he said. "You can't reach your goals in 10 minutes and you won't look like the guy on the box in 10 minutes."

Some people achieve short-term success and then go back to their bad habits because they haven't learned anything about fitness and nutrition. Others lose weight but aren't healthy, said Dafne Greene, Fitness Connexion owner.

Still others don't achieve weight loss quickly enough so they become frustrated and stop.

"The best thing that someone can do is to recognize that it's not going to be a quick fix," said Carianna Gibb, gym manager and personal trainer at The Workout Company, Normal. "It takes time to ease into healthy habits."

Here's advice from fitness pros on how to ease into exercise and healthier eating:

  • Get support. Whether it's your spouse joining you for a daily walk, a workout buddy at the gym or a personal trainer who calls you when you miss a workout, people are more likely to start and maintain an exercise routine when they do it with others.
  • Start slowly. Start with walking and gradually add to your exercise. Make it a part of your routine. "If you push too hard at the beginning, the first couple of weeks are really going to suck and then you'll feel crappy about yourself," Gibb said.
  • Do what you enjoy. If you enjoyed swimming when you were younger, do that. If you belong to a gym, try different program offerings, such as exercise classes, small-group training and personal training. "If you enjoy it, you'll keep doing it," Gibb said.
  • Consider hiring a personal trainer. They have the education to help people to achieve fitness goals safety and efficiently. Charges vary depending on how often you meet with a trainer.
  • Eat healthfully. Gradually improve your diet to focus on lean protein (such as chicken and fish), good carbs (such as sweet potatoes and whole grains) and green vegetables. Drink water.
  • Enjoy the process. "Within the first few days (of beginning an exercise program), people feel more energized in their daily activities," Gibb said. Other benefits — weight loss, improved strength and health — will happen over time.
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