Health & Fitness

5 Steps to Getting Healthy

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Getting in shape is tough. Christine Scales, of Superior Health Club, in Crystal Lake, offers a few simple pointers for getting started.

Christine Scales (left), a trainer and CrossFit Coach at Superior Health Club, demonstrates a weight training program with fellow trainer Michelle Baumann. (Christin Dunmire photo)

Christine Scales (left), a trainer and CrossFit Coach at Superior Health Club, demonstrates a weight training program with fellow trainer Michelle Baumann. (Christin Dunmire photo)

It’s a struggle to stick with a workout program. We start with good intentions, but eventually slack off, making excuses. When personal goals – or more often, health concerns – force us to act, it’s best to turn to an expert.

For the past 10 years, many in the northwest suburbs have turned to Christine Scales, general manager and certified trainer/CrossFit Coach at Superior Health Club, 6119 Northwest Hwy., Crystal Lake. Whether you plan to shed a few pounds or dramatically change your lifestyle, Scales can help you to get started.

1. Make Wise Food Choices

Avoid processed food and instead, stock up on natural foods. Stick with lean proteins (lean meats, fish, eggs), healthy fats (olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados), leafy green vegetables (lettuce, spinach, kale) and low-glycemic fruits (apples, grapefruit, berries, oranges).

“Try to reduce the refined sugar and starches, and soda pop,” says Scales. “And incorporate much more water and healthy teas, like green tea.”

2. Start Exercising

Staying active can improve stamina and focus, while reducing stress, injury, weight gain and illness.
“The body needs to stay in motion, meaning doing above what is our normal routine,” Scales says. “Working and taking care of your children do not count as exercise.”

Instead of driving to the store, walk or ride your bike. At work, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park farther away from the entrance. When exercising, start with a simple routine, which may include lifting weights, running in your neighborhood or doing basic calisthenics.

3. Join a Fitness Club

If at-home workouts don’t cut it, then step it up a notch and join a fitness club. The best clubs have a variety of equipment, flexible hours and additional methods for getting in shape.

“Classes are a great way to be advised while you are exercising,” says Scales. “Classes also help you in your workout by making sure you’re doing proper movements, avoiding injuries and keeping a consistent routine.”

Maintain consistent levels of exercise. Work out at least three or four days a week, and be sure to adjust your routine. Incorporating new exercises as you progress helps to ensure consistent results in weight loss, muscle tone and definition.

4. Find a Workout Partner

Exercising with someone keeps both people accountable. It’s harder to slack off when another person is expecting you to be there, and there’s the added benefit of encouragement from a friend.
“It’s proven that you’re 60 percent more successful when working out with a friend, spouse or family member,” says Scales. “By having a workout partner, you create a great support system outside of the gym.”

5. Hire a Personal Trainer

Personal trainers are the ultimate workout partners. They can help to structure workouts and develop positive lifestyle changes, as well as offer nutritional advice.

“Having that one-on-one time with a coach or instructor can help you to reach your health and fitness goals,” says Scales. “Good nutrition and a consistent exercise program are the keys to a healthier you.”

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