Spring Into Fitness

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By Lisa Leath Turpin, Health & Wellness Coach

It’s spring and not too late to get into fitness. With spring comes more sunshine, warmer weather and the urge to wear less…like tank tops, shorts, sleeveless dresses and swimsuits. So, if you messed up on New Year’s resolutions, don’t let that hold you back or feel like you have to wait another year to “start.” There IS no better time than the present. And the “present” is any day that has a beginning and an end. Knowing what to do makes that hurdle less intimidating. First: Figure out your goals.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, fitness is “the condition of being physically strong and healthy…usually through exercise and nutrition.” Exercise can achieve several outcomes such as, strength, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, strength endurance, and power/speed. Everyday life calls for a combination of these. If you begin exercising you will be more “fit” to live LIFE. It’s actually essential and those that don’t exercise choose to create unnecessary obstacles for themselves due to fatigue, tightness, illness and weakness.

A basic fitness lifestyle will focus on being healthy through a consistent routine of cross-training to achieve a mixture of the above outcomes. An example of cross-training can be rotating through two days of strength training, two days of yoga or Pilates, and two days of sports, swimming, cycling or jogging. The different modalities of exercise will give you different outcomes and the consistency will offer you the improvement overall. Any consistent activity, along with a nutritious and reasonable diet, will help you lose weight if that is your goal. But having strong muscles through strength training will raise your metabolism, thus helping your body burn more calories, even at rest. So, strength training is an important key component to being fit.

All weight bearing exercises, whether it be bodyweight (i.e. yoga/Pilates) or training with free-weights or machines, help build strong bones. This is so very important and the benefits are accumulative. The earlier you start the stronger your bones will be; so, don’t wait until a doctor tells you that you have to. Please don’t worry about getting bulky from weight training. Most likely, if you feel you are bulky while weight training, you probably have excess fat covering your muscles. It’s so extremely difficult to grow big muscles, just ask any bodybuilder. They are extremely dedicated to THE GOAL of building as big of muscles as possible and it does not happen overnight. Your muscles draw in tighter to your skeletal system when you tone and strengthen them. They will begin to take on their shape due to their functional purpose.

For instance, the biceps are small at the insertion at the shoulder and small at the attachment of the inside of the elbow, yet larger in the middle. Once fat is removed, you will see that definition and the arm, on most individuals, will look lean and slender. Understand, most fat is “subcutaneous,” meaning it is just under the skin. So, your body should have this order: bone, muscle, fat, then skin. You can imagine that while you begin strength training, any layer of fat will look more prominent, because it’s closer to the skin. That’s why a moderate diet helps in your efforts if you give your efforts the deserved time your body needs. In other words, don’t give up! Like I have said before, “be active.” Just get moving! All movement plays a role in your fitness level.

Lisa Leath Turpin is a degreed and certified health and fitness lifestyle coach and consultant who has devoted her life to motivating and strengthening the body and mind of others. With over 20 years’ experience, Lisa has a B.S. degree in Sports & Fitness Management from the University of Alabama, developed and managed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Health & Wellness Facility and programs in Huntsville, Ala., is board certified by the National Board of Fitness Examiners and possesses certifications from AFAA, Polestar/Balanced Body, Reebok U, SCW Fitness and American Heart Association. She is currently a group exercise leader at Destin Health & Fitness and an independent personal trainer in the Destin area, diversely and extensively trained in classical and modern Pilates, lifestyle management, personal training, group exercise and post-rehabilitation. Have a fitness question for Lisa? Email BeActive850@gmail.com.