Pro Tips for Healthy Living
Have you ever wondered what the fitness professionals tell their clients? One of the best parts of my job is getting to work with and around so many amazing fitness professionals. I reached out to some of the best trainers I know and asked them to share some simple tips for healthy living and, wow, did they deliver! Below you will hear from nine amazing trainers & and learn what advice they give their own clients about getting & staying healthy.
#1 Erin Fergus: Starting off with a bang, this incredible lady is a vegan bodybuilder. Yep, you heard that right! She fights for animal rights as hard as she kicks butt in the gym. She is also the Program Director for the Personal Trainer program at Greenville Technical College. If you want to follow her as she trains for her next contest (and see that you don't need meat to get buff) follower her on Facebook or Instagram. Here are her tips for healthy eating:
- I think one of the most important things to help anyone who is trying to reduce calories or limit portions is maximizing the enjoyment of food. This includes using nice plate ware that is small enough that the meal appears larger, cooking food in the oven or stove top instead of the microwave, using your favorite seasonings, setting the table (and vowing to not eat standing at the counter!), cutting the food into small bites, chewing thoroughly while paying attention to the flavors. The most effort put into the preparation, the more you want to enjoy it. The longer you can linger and savor the food, the more likely you will feel fully satisfied with one healthful portion of that meal.
- My goal in the morning is to spend no more time getting myself ready for the gym than it takes to feed and let the dogs out. My favorite ways to speed up the process and make sure I’m motivated is by taking five minutes on the weekend to set out all my workout clothes for the week and a couple minutes each night to pack my gym bag and set it by the door. Another time saver is to make “overnight oats” – mix in your milk of choice the night before and refrigerate. When heated, the oatmeal will be creamier and more enjoyable.
- Watch the patterns of your grocery store or ask the staff for when produce is marked down. Every Monday, I’m able to get all sorts of fruits, vegetables and tofu for slashed prices and just need to be eaten within the week. It feels good to save money AND keep food from going to waste!
- If you dread grocery shopping, make the experience quick and organized. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a list and to not arrive hungry; those steps greatly reduce temptations. You can also set a budget for each trip. Think about the store layout as you park and walk in so you can purposefully move from one item to the next. If you want to really make it a game, you can time yourself from walking in to checking out. Or you could do what I do – listen to an audio book to escape a little during a chore that can be monotonous.
- Challenge yourself to the “time-intensity trade off” mindset with exercise. If you would prefer to have an hour to workout but can only devote 30 minutes on a certain day, commit to doubling the intensity that you would have gone with twice the time. If you are resistance training, move from one exercise to the next with little to no rest, and if you are doing cardio go for intense bursts for 20-30 seconds with 1-2 minute recovery periods.
- Keep a gratitude journal. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to allow you to write at least one, but ideally three, things that you are thankful for that day. This can help keep things in perspective, because no matter how “bad” the day, you can always find things that make you realize how good you actually have it.
#2 Caroline Corbin: I had the privilege to be trained by this amazing ballerina turned certified trainer and soon to be fitness competitor! Don't let her cute looks fool you, she will kick your booty! If you are looking for a fantastic trainer in the Spartanburg area you can find her at the downtown YMCA. You can also follow her journey on Facebook as she trains for the Carolina Supernatural figure/bikini competition this year. Here are her tips:
- Always keep a water bottle with you (hydrate, hydrate, hydrate)!
- Never skip a meal & MEAL PREP!!! Plan out a menu, have the food ready to go.
- The more fruits & veggies the better, especially green veggies (broccoli, spinach, asparagus, etc).
- Pack your lunch and take to work to avoid going out or to avoid the snack machines.
- ·Avoid eating right before bedtime.
- Rest is important! Many of my clients have hectic jobs or crazy work shifts so I advise them to do their best to find time to relax when they can. It's okay, and even important to take time to just sit down and read or do something that's fun, but also allows some rest.
- We all fall off track occasionally but I simply tell my clients "get back on track"! It's all about building better habits and that takes time!
#3 Candi Moore: This beautiful lady, mother of two & ACSM certified trainer is an inspiration to me! Last year she entered her first figure competition, the NPC Upstate Classic at the age of 38 and WON 1st place in Women's Figure Class A & 1st place in Master's Figure. That is no small feat! You can follow her journey as she trains for her next fitness competition on Instagram. Here are here her tips:
- Have a cute water bottle! My water bottle is like an accessory, I never leave home without it.
- Have a piece of dark chocolate when you are craving something sweet. It has a lot of health benefits & really does satisfy a sweet tooth without having a sugar binge.
- Make healthy versions of your favorite restaurant dishes at home.
#4: Stevie Blickle: One of the coolest and funniest trainers I know, this ex-collegiate athlete & ACSM certified trainer makes working out fun & challenging (I should know, she trained me!). When she's not about to give birth to her first baby (yay!) you can find her at MADabolic in Greenville, SC. Here are her tips:
- CONSISTENCY. Find what you love and stick with it. For some people that's yoga, some it's Crossfit, some it's marathons, and for some it's just a home workout. Whatever you can fit into your day is worth it in the long run.
- GOOD ENOUGH. If you are working hard at exercise and diet and you look in the mirror at a plateau and think "this is good enough" then it is. I strongly feel that we plateau when we are fit for a reason. Anything past that point is NOT going to be maintainable, whether it's you cutting out that piece of chocolate you have every night and look forward to all day or you begin over-exercising. Good enough can truly be good enough. Give yourself a break.
#5 Tatiana DeAngulo: Tatiana is another amazing ex-collegiate athlete & ACSM certified trainer that will give you a run for your money on the golf course! She is a truly passionate trainer with years of experience helping her clients get healthy & fit. These days you can find her training at Fitness With a View in Greenville, SC. Here are her tips:
- Add a tablespoon of Ground Premium Flaxseed by Spectrum to either a morning yogurt mix (plain goat yogurt, berries, walnuts) or to a protein smoothie every day. Why? Flaxseed is:
- Rich in Omega 3 (ALA) Fatty Acids
- A great for source of dietary fiber (3 g per serving) (this really aids in digestion and regularity)
- And has a great nutty taste
- Keep a bag of nuts everywhere! Purse, car, work bag or desk. When feeling low on energy grab a handful. Vary the type…walnuts, pistachios, cashews, pecans, almonds.
- Drink 24 oz of water first thing after waking up in the morning. This helps get your body going and hydrated.
- Daily dose of greens! Add a handful of spinach or kale to a protein smoothie every day.
- When going out to a party or have drinks with friends alternate between drinks and water.
#6 Jamie Blaire: One of the most experienced and qualified trainers I know, Jamie is the founder & owner of Fitness With A View in Greenville, SC. When it comes to nutrition Jamie offers his clients this short but poignant piece of advice:
- I have a phrase that I share with clients who are overwhelmed by nutrition when they are making a food choice: "If it grows and doesn’t move have as much as you would like; if it grows and moves have a moderate amount; and if it doesn't grow don't do it!"
#7 Chad Delaney: Another Rockstar graduate from the GTC program & now the co-founder, owner & operator of Tri-Fit Barbell, Chad is a dedicated trainer who is passionate about teaching his clients how to move better, exercise more efficiently & reach their specific goals. If you are in the Mauldin area please check them out, you won’t be disappointed! Here are the tips Chad gives to his clients who are starting out:
- When getting started, get a workout journal & on the first page write down your starting goals, measurements (body weight, current strength, circumference measurements, etc.). Everyone needs a clear starting point!
- Find a coach or trainer. I don't care how much you know or used to do physically. Everyone needs a coach to get on the right path.
- Do NOT go for the cheapest easiest option. Paying more keeps you more accountable and convenience like workout DVDs are often pushed off until "tomorrow".
- Give it time and be patient. Realize nothing worth having comes easy.
- Get involved in a recreational sport of some sort. I find that sports help keep people motivated. If you have an event or sport you are active in then your gym routine will be that much more rewarding.
#8 Jen Raby: Talk about walking the walk…or in Jen’s case, running the run. This ultra distance runner, mom & all-around awesome lady is based in Atlanta, GA. You can follower her on Facebook, Instagram or just reach out to her through email if you have any training related questions.
- Make sure goals are reasonable and attainable. If there's a rather lofty goal you are hoping to achieve, it's best to set small goals along the way. For example, I have a client looking to lose 50 lbs by May and we started working together in September. It's far easier to break that number down to losing just 6-7 pounds a month!
- For diet and nutrition, I have always emphasized that clients focus on what they can ADD to enhance their diet and better fuel their workouts rather than only focusing on what they have to take away. Obviously, in more extreme cases when someone needs to make a drastic change due to a health crisis, we must be very vigilant about making immediate changes. That's when I tell my clients that at the very least they have to STOP eating out as much as possible, and get serious about meal prep. But for most general weight loss cases, the best thing to do is focus on swapping out one healthy item for a less healthy one, one meal and one week at a time.
- Lastly, I encourage my clients to always think about the big picture when it comes to their health and wellness. They can work our hard and try to eat better, but it's going to be all too easy to slide backwards if they don't rest and recover. So if they are struggling to sleep or destress, I offer my personal tips and tricks to help them relax and get into a more restful mindset. It's very tempting to go gung-ho with a new workout but inadequate rest will lead to overtraining and burnout, which I do NOT want to happen.
#9 Holly Di Giovine: Last but definitely NOT least is one of the best trainers I know. I could probably do an entire blog dedicated to all she has accomplished both personally and as a trainer but for now let’s just say she could have invented the word “inspirational”. When not serving our country in the National Guard she is putting together amazing events like the Stoix annual run or Suckapalooza. Here are her tips:
- Furniture is for guests (and pets) only! For the last almost five years now I've only sat on the floor at the house. There are two basic benefits that work hand in hand with each other. The first is that we tend to sit at work and sit in the car and then sit, or curl up in a fetal position in furniture at home. So we are training our bodies to exist in these permanently bent positions which lends neither to healthy backs or basic function, let alone feeling good to go for a run or workout. Sitting on the floor gives us an opportunity to sit cross legged, or stretch out on our backs! Second, when I sit on the floor I always spontaneously start stretching--sometimes it's passive hip flexor stretches or simple spinal twists. Other times I reach for one of the various stretching tools left there strategically for my use: the foam roller, a lacrosse ball, a stretch strap etc. I also sit on a yoga block in virasana while folding laundry or working on the computer. Every little bit helps!
- Liquids only day. While I've completed up to a week long juice fast, I find they are difficult to do while trying to conduct every day business of life. One of the benefits of a juice fast is to give your digestive system a mechanical break from having to break down fiber and macronutrients. So one day a week, particularly after a holiday, party or any other period of being "off" my clean diet, for 24-36 hours I will only consume liquids. This usually includes herbal teas, fresh pressed veggie juices, bone broth, soups, coconut water and water mixed w apple cider vinegar, or lemon/lime and salt. In addition to giving your system a break, this is also a great way to divert your attention away from cravings that may be lingering longer than usual.
So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed these and learned as much as I did. Please feel free to reach out to any of these trainers if you have additional questions or would like to work with one of them to help you reach your health & fitness goals.
Health & happiness!
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