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Exercise your motivation with a trainer

I used to think personal trainers were for other people.

Not me. I’m motivated to work out on my own, thank you. I don’t need some guy with six-pack abs watching my every bicep curl.

Well, last year that all changed when I realized I needed help. Following multiple surgeries, I had developed aches, pains and muscle weaknesses that only seemed to get worse the harder I pushed on my own at the gym. Even swimming left me with a stiff neck and a knot in my back.

Frustrated, I asked for advice from one of my fit friends. His recommendation? You guessed it—a personal fitness trainer. Desperate, I took his advice and called Bret Smith, a credentialed instructor and owner of the “Move Strong Studio” in San Diego.

Bret quickly assessed my situation and gave me simple, corrective exercises I could do at home. After several sessions with “my” personal trainer, I began to feel better, stronger and happier as my aches and pains subsided. Because of Bret’s personal attention and expertise, I’m grateful to be back hiking, biking and swimming strong.

As I’ve gotten to know Bret, it’s clear he’s more than a fitness trainer. Not only is he knowledgeable on most aspects of health and fitness, he’s also a wonderful (but gentle!) motivator!

So, as we begin a new and (hopefully!) healthier New Year, I’ve asked Bret to share some of the tips he gives his clients to help them start and stick with a fitness program.

Bret’s Top 10 Tips for looking good and feeling great in 2015:

1. Just get moving! Starting a new fitness program can be daunting with all the “have to’s,” and all that information can lead to overload. The simple and best way to start is to just get moving and increase your general activity level throughout the day. Taking a walk after lunch or dinner; taking the stairs instead of an elevator; standing while on the phone or when someone walks into your office; parking a little farther from your destination. Little things that can add up and make a big difference in helping you move and feel better.

2. Have an accountability buddy.
This will help you stick with a plan. You and your workout buddy both promise to not let the other skip a workout. This buddy may be a friend with similar goals to yours, a family member, co-worker or even a fitness professional who will motivate you to stay on track.

3. Choose activities you enjoy.
And do them! Again and again! Nothing will short- circuit your workout plan faster than a boring, non-eventful activity. Even if it’s completely new, give it a try if it sounds interesting. You’re more likely to stick with something you enjoy. Don’t be afraid of trying a bunch of things to see what connects with you.

4. Pick the pro.
This is especially helpful if you’re just getting started, you’re unsure, or just unaccustomed to having regular activity in your life. Investing in a Certified Fitness Professional can get you off on the right foot … helping you to build a solid foundation, focus on your goals and prevent injury. Word-of-mouth and referrals from trusted family and friends is the best way to find the best pro for you.

5. Set your goals!
Write these ideas down and be specific. How many pounds? Dress size? Body fat percentage? Whatever it is, get it down on paper. Then post the goals, completion date and workouts completed to date in places you see regularly. Consistent reinforcement is key to your success.

6. Be relentless.
Unrelenting dedication is the key to succeeding. Set your schedule. Stick with it. No excuses. Make your workouts as important as showing up for work, being with your family or having fun.

7. No four-letter words!
Banish the CAN’Ts, DON’Ts and WON’Ts from your vocabulary. It may take some self talk and gentle reminders—but focus on what you CAN, WILL and WANT to do. Take it one step at a time.

8. Prepare for the journey.
Consider your new undertaking as the journey of a lifetime. As you and your journey grow, you’ll explore new and exciting ways to stay happy, healthy and fit along the way.

9. Make it social.
We are social creatures and one of the highest rates of success in sticking with a fitness and wellness plan comes by sharing it with a group, partner, friend or spouse. Make them part of your team and see how everyone benefits.

10. Ignore the hype.
If you are easily influenced by the media buzz of a fad diet or latest fitness gadget, stop and ask two simple questions: For whom? For what? Promos for programs and equipment promise you success with little time or effort. The truth is, it takes time, work, dedication and determination. No diet or trendy gadget will change that. There are no shortcuts to success…only detours and U-turns if you fall prey to the hype.

Carol LeBeau

— by Carol LeBeau

Carol is a former 10News anchor, Staying Healthy reporter and current Health Champion for Palomar Health, avid runner, bicyclist and ranked, rough water swimmer.

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