Aging and the Gastrointestinal Tract

Are you feeling sluggish, bloated or are experiencing constipation? This may be an effect of aging! Continue reading to discover what changes occur with our digestive system, as we age, and what we can do to improve or eliminate any problems!

The Digestive System, within our bodies, is a highly important one and consists of the teeth, mouth, tongue, stomach, larynx, esophagus, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, large intestine, small intestine, pharynx and salivary glands. The body relies on the harmonious collaboration of the above list to ensure the adequate absorption of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and water!

How your digestive system functions, may not be something you regularly think about, when you’re younger but as we age, we may become more aware of it due to its changes and the effect it has on us. The changes that occur affect everyone differently and at different times

What Changes Occur?

Along with the rest of the body, there is the expected slowing of cell regeneration making us increasingly prone to tissue damage. As we age our muscle tone decreases and the gastrointestinal tract doesn’t escape this process. Slowed digestion is the result of this, as food travels at a slower pace through the digestive system. The can cardiac sphincter, which controls food between the stomach and esophagus, can also becomes less effective. The level of salivary secretion decreases, along with digestive enzymes, which impacts on the absorption of vitamins, minerals and overall digestion.

The Effects

Increased Constipation
Reflux (Heartburn)
More Prone to Liver Problems
Hemorrhoids
Risk of Malnutrition

Supporting a Healthy Gastrointestinal Tract

During the aging process, many changes occur so it’s a good idea to adapt in order to continue feeling healthy and full of vitality! Medication is not always necessary for complaints of the gastrointestinal tract or digestive system. Many symptoms can be improved or eliminated with the adjustment of your lifestyle or diet

Pay close attention to what you put on your plate! Stick to a diet that is abundant in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Eat more vegetables that are high in protein. Animal products become increasingly difficult to digest as we get older.

Opt for high fiber food for smoother digestion and to reduce constipation.

Reduce fat intake. This move is not only good for the heart but is very beneficial in diminishing the presence of heartburn, constipation, diabetes and colon cancer!

Drink plenty of fluids. If you start drinking 8 – 10 glasses of water per day you are sure to notice a positive effect!

Consider adding vitamin and mineral supplements to your diet. Vitamin D3 is a fantastic addition as this aids in the optimum absorption of calcium and to ensure optimum bone strength. Vitamin B12 is another wonderful supplement that can reduce the risk of anemia and nerve damage.

Regular exercise. Any exercise, that involves increased breathing and heart rate, assists in the effective functioning of the digestive system.

Be aware of your body and how you feel. If you sense that something is not right or notice a sudden change, make an appointment with your local doctor to find out the best ways to maintain a healthy digestive system!

Skin, Hair, Teeth and Aging

The process of aging is one that brings with it: wisdom and knowledge. A significant product of this process is also one that many aren’t overly enthusiastic about. It is the effect on the body’s skin, hair and teeth. Noticed a few extra wrinkles or changes in your hair and teeth lately? Well continue reading to discover the best actions to deal with and possibly slow this progression.

As we age the skin, teeth and hair are among the first parts of our body to display changes. The time when this occurs will differ between individuals according to genetics, exposure to the elements and your current health.

As we age you may already be noticing or can expect to experience the following:

Skin

As the years pass the skin becomes more delicate and fragile which leaves it more prone to bruising. Age spots may make an appearance and skin tone and elasticity is reduced. Increased dryness is often experienced as a result of less natural oils being produced to hydrate the skin. This is a major factor in the creation of those dreaded wrinkles.

Hair

The most dramatic effects on the hair, is that it may change to a shade of grey. The body’s hair color is affected by the pigment, melanin. As time passes, the hair follicles produce less of this pigment resulting in loss of color. Hair loss and thinning can also occur amongst both men and women as we age.

Teeth

How your teeth stand the test of time, is largely reflected in how you have looked after them in the past. Even with perfect dental care, the mouth becomes noticeably drier as less saliva is produced than before. This can sometimes lead to an increased risk of tooth decay. The teeth may also darken, change shape, become thinner and more brittle.

What can be done?

In today’s society, we are often bombarded with idealistic views of perfection, anti-aging and products that must purchased in order to achieve it. However, this can often be misleading and commonly only leads to disappointment. Purchasing so-called anti-aging products are not necessary if you simply follow some basic steps. These will assist in maintaining a healthy hair, teeth and skin to ensure that the aging process is a smooth and slow one.

For Healthy Skin:

Avoid direct exposure to the sun for long periods
Wear a hat, sunscreen and cover the skin as much as possible when outdoors
Drink plenty of water to ensure optimum hydration. This will not only keep you feeling great but does wonders for the skin!
Eliminate smoking
Steer away from oily or fatty foods
Opt for gentle skin products such as soap or moisturizers that are suitable for sensitive skin.
Increase intake of Vitamin C. Did you know that Vitamin C makes a natural collagen? This assists in improving elasticity and is wonderful for boosting the immunity!
Introduce Omega 3 oil into your diet. This oil is highly beneficial to the skin and leaves it feeling supple and smooth. Fish oil, avocados, walnuts, seeds other nuts are abundant in Omega 3.

For Healthy Teeth:

Maintain excellent dental hygiene. Brush and floss after every main meal.
Include an antiseptic mouth wash into your dental care routine to fight bacteria and mouth infections.
Schedule regular visits with your dentist for checkups and cleanings.
To reduce teeth stains; reduce red wine, coffee, black tea and smoking.

For Healthy Hair:

Choose gentle shampoos and conditioners to reduce hair damage
Massage the scalp to stimulate blood circulation and encourage increased hair growth.
Exercise, meditate or participate in a relaxing activity as stress can initiate increased hair loss.
If you experience a dramatic increase or sudden hair loss, check with your doctor.

Aging and Body Pains

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Do you wake up in the morning expecting to feel refreshed only to discover you’ve found yourself with a stiff and sore back or knee or hip? We’ll you’re not alone!

You may have found that in earlier years, such pain would be the direct result of a strenuous sports game or other vigorous activity but now seem to receive the same result from a short errand or light gardening.

As we age we are more prone to feeling aches and pains throughout the body. Sometimes these require medical attention. Severe inflammation of the joints, known as arthritis, is a very common condition that is experienced amongst the older population. This can cause tremendous pain but luckily there are many avenues for treatment and relief available, with the help of a doctor.

Most times, general aches and pains can be dealt with at home with fantastic results!

Prevention

Before I continue, it must be said, that prevention is better than cure! Sure, aging and aches are inevitable, however, these pains and stiffness can be greatly reduced if your body continues to stay physically active! I’m not talking about running a marathon but am referring to gentle walking or other non strenuous activities to keep your body flexible and therefore less prone to injury and pain!

Pain Relief

Stretching

Activities such as Pilates and Yoga are a wonderful and gentle exercise program that increases strength, tone and flexibility. With increased flexibility, comes reduced risk of injury! These exercises are also renowned for their stress relieving effects!

Massage Therapy

A good massage not only relaxes and relieves muscle pain but is also a highly effective stress reliever! Massage is ideal for dealing with chronic pain.

Products

A trip to your local chemist will provide you with a range of products that are readily available to ease the discomfort of body pain. Topical analgesic creams and muscle relaxants provide tremendous relief for cramps and aching joints. Many doctors recommend the use of anti-inflammatory medication to relieve severe muscle pain. However, this should be used with caution and with the guidance of a doctor due to its slight blood thinning effect.

Holistic Medication

With the increased awareness of chemical and medicinal side effects, more and more people are turning towards holistic alternatives and have found great results! Many people swear by nutritional supplements, TENS therapy and seek relief through Acupuncture and Chiropractors.

If you are concerned about unusual aches and pains, seek advice from your doctor.

Create your OWN Healthy Habits

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In my last article, I referred to how obesity can run in families.  Maybe you know of somebody who battles with their weight, and they will discount it and say, “Oh, I just have

fat genes. My parents and siblings are like that – everybody in my family is.”

It’s so easy to just write obesity or weight problems off like that, but really, it’s not doing you or anybody saying it any favors at all.  In fact, it’s like writing yourself off and resigning yourself to a lifetime of obesity and the lifestyle-related problems that come with it.

At the end of the day, nobody wants to be sentenced to a lifetime of obesity.  And the only way you can spare yourself of it is to take full and 100% responsibility for YOU!

It is entirely up to you to make the changes

Nobody is going to wake up one morning and make it their life mission to help you lose weight.  Only you can do it.

You can watch as many healthy lifestyle programs relating to fitness and healthy diet…but at the end of the day, you need to implement what you learn to reap the benefits.

You have to stop talking about it, and start doing it.

The weight will not just fall off on its own.  You have to take action to lose the weight and get back to health.

Now, I know you may have struggled with this before.  You may have tried diets.  You may have tried doing a very strict fitness regime.

And even so – even with the best of intentions – you found yourself giving up because it was too hard.

But today is a NEW day!

Just because you may have failed in the past, doesn’t mean you will fail this time.  The past is the past.  And the future is whatever you want it to be – whatever you create it to be.

And when it comes to losing weight and getting yourself back to health, it’s all about creating new habits.

Now, new habits doesn’t mean pain and suffering.  It doesn’t mean you’re going to have a hard time and miss out on good things.  In fact, new, healthy habits means you are gaining so much.  You are getting on track to getting the healthy body you want and the healthy mind you want.

When you have a healthy body, you have a healthy mind.

And it all boils down to habits.

Here are some things to know about creating healthy habits:

It only takes 30 days to create a new habit: replace an old habit that isn’t healthy, with a healthy habit.  Do it for 30 days and it becomes second nature.  It’s no longer such a struggle to do it, because you naturally DO it!

By adopting healthy habits, you will relieve yourself of stress: it’s amazing how a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise can relieve you of stress.  You can manage stress a whole lot easier when you are living a healthy lifestyle.

And here are a few habits you can adopt TODAY

It’s really not that hard.  See these are surefire steps to your optimum health and wellbeing:

Start walking: You always feel better after a walk.  Try making time each day – or at least 3 days a week – to walk at least 30 minutes.  Try shaking up the pace of your walking with bursts of fast walking, then normal walking.  Also, you can try jogging for say one minute every 5 minutes.  Shake your body up and your metabolism is turbocharged…so it will burn fat for a lot longer – for hours after you stop exercising.

When hungry, snack on nuts: It doesn’t take long for you to fill up when you snack on nuts.  The hunger will go away pretty fast…and nuts are an essential food you should eat every day for optimum health.  Nuts are good for you!

Don’t make excuses: Remember it is up to YOU to take 100% responsibility for your health.  Don’t skip health checks and don’t skip your exercise or healthy eating.  You can add variety so you keep on the right path.

Plan to eat well: Create a meal plan and buy food you can store in your freezer.  It spares you the temptation of eating unhealthy take away foods.

Remember to relax: People give up because they push themselves too hard.  Afford yourself relaxation from your fitness routine – a couple of days per week of rest is fine.  And if you want to treat yourself to the occasional chocolate, you can.  Just stick to healthy basics every other time.

Thirty days and you’re there!  Start today!

Parents ARE the biggest Influencers!

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In the United States, obesity in children is definitely on the rise!  It is now estimated that 1 in 3 American kids are considered either overweight or obese.

It’s shocking isn’t it?  I remember back when I was at school, and it was rare to see a child who was overweight.  All the kids seemed to be really skinny back then, and little wonder.  We ate healthy and instead of sitting in front of a computer playing games, or sitting down playing on the Xbox, we were outside playing cowboys and Indians and running around.

The way kids live has changed and it is reflected in their growing size.

And sadly, if the trend continues, for the first time ever, we will see a younger generation die before their parents – as a normal thing.

So, the question is:

Who is INFLUENCING these kids and making them fat?

The biggest influencers of children are their parents.  And that shouldn’t come as any surprise.  Take a look at American adults and you’ll find that – according to Wikipedia – 64% of adults are overweight or obese, and 26% are obese.  Wikipedia cites the source of those statistics to be “Obesity Statistics: U.S. Obesity Trends” published in 2006.  So the statistics are probably worse now, given the rising rate of obesity.

Parents often, are working fulltime, and it results in them taking shortcuts when it comes to diet.  Instead of cooking healthy foods at home, many parents turn to drive-thru alternatives and poor quality “heat and eat” options from supermarkets. 

And the prevalence of computers, the internet and gaming consoles means kids aren’t playing outside so much anymore.  They are sitting in front of a computer – and often eating junk foods while they’re playing games.  And working parents, who are often time poor – allow their kids to do this.

It makes for a dangerous mix.  A bad diet and sedentary lifestyle.  Put simply: kids are getting old before their time.  And they are getting lifestyle diseases as well – Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, joint problems, breathing problems, some cancers – even strokes and heart disease.

Parents are working hard.  Don’t get me wrong.  But they – and their children – are paying for it with their health.

 

How to change things

To change things, parents have to take ownership of the problem.  They need to see themselves as the major influencers of their children, and then take action to change it. 

These things can help:

  • Set aside family time each day to do something active – it only has to be half an hour – and make it fun!
  • Take the time to prepare healthy meals – if you are time poor, try cooking healthy things that you can store in your freezer, and simply heat and eat on busy nights!
  • Keep computer game time to a minimum – set a ceiling limit and encourage your kids to play in the backyard or sign up for a sport.
  • Actively encourage your kids to participate in sports and other active interests – save money on takeaway food and use that money to enlist your kids in a sport that will help them get active.
  • Be active yourself and eat healthy – you are to be an example to your kids.
  • Don’t give your kids unhealthy foods for lunches and snacks – you have to set the rules.

Remember, it may seem like hard work in the beginning, but it only takes 30 days for a new action to become a habit.  So work hard at creating these healthy habits.

Your kids will thank you for it in the future!

How 60 is the New 50 and 50 is the New 40!

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If you think today’s 60 year olds are looking more 50 than 60, and you think today’s 50 year olds look more 40 than 50, you’d be right!

The baby boomer generation – those people born between the years 1946 and 1964 – are a lot younger than those of generations before them.  And it’s because they are very conscious of living well.  The baby boomers want to enjoy life to the max, and that’s why they embrace things that make them look good and feel good.

And the same goes for doing things that make them appear more youthful.

Let’s focus our attention on…

…Celebrity Boomers!

In recent years, we saw former US Presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton turn 60.  Actress Demi Moore also turned 47 late last year.  But you simply wouldn’t know it!  Demi looks ever youthful, and the former presidents are hard to keep up with, when it comes to how active they are.

Bush is an active lover of fitness – running on average about three miles, four times each week.  It’s also been noted that he is a routine cross-trainer with an elliptical trainer, free weights and swimming.  In 2001, according to website Doctor Zebra, he could run a mile in about 7-8 minutes.  His own physicians put him in the top 2 per cent of men his own age, when it comes to cardio fitness.  He’s in great shape.

And take a look at Madonna!  She is into her 52nd year and has an incredible fitness and nutrition regime.  She consumes a macrobiotic diet (vegetables and protein-rich foods) and works out not just once a day – but all throughout the day.  Exercise for her may include cycling, swimming or martial arts.  In addition, she practices Ashtanga Yoga and will do Pilates daily as well. 

It’s really hard to believe these celebrities are in fact the ages they are, because they certainly do not look it!

And you don’t have to be a celebrity to make yourself younger!

According to Dr. Robert Butler of the International Longevity Center, there are things we can do today to be more youthful.  He recommends stopping smoking completely, cutting down on alcohol, paying attention to portion control and exercise.

And he knows a thing or two about this, given that he is a doctor, but also because he is now into his 80’s, yet works 60+ hours a week, exercises daily, has a very active family life and still sees patients who insist on seeing him.

“I love what I’m doing and I just can’t imagine being retired,” he was quoted as saying on Agingresearch.org.  “There’s too much to do.”

So if becoming younger is something you’re keen on doing, be sure to read the articles I have coming up.  We’re focusing on ageing and how you can reverse the trend to live your life to the full – no matter what year you were born!

My Top Tips for Weight Loss Eating

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Often in my work as a personal trainer, I hear about the diet frustrations that many of my weight loss clients contend with.  Up there with the best of them is the frustration surrounding the foods they really love, but feel they cannot enjoy because those food are ‘naughty’ or ‘bad’.

One of the things I am always happy to share with these clients is that there are so many substitutes out there that will keep you from going crazy from “yum deprivation”. 

Dieting doesn’t have to mean living on lettuce and cardboard at all.  This is what too many people believe, and it’s why too many people crash diet.  They cannot keep up with the strictness of the nutritional plan they are following.

Healthy eating is something we need to make a lifestyle thing and here are my healthy and delicious alternatives to those foods we find yummy:

  • Drink diet soft drinks instead of regular sugar ones:  Soft drinks and sodas are to blame for so much weight gain, and it’s not looking like slowing down any time soon.  Just because you’re trying to lose weight though doesn’t mean you have to cut soft drink out of your life altogether.  There are plenty of diet soft drinks out there that are sugar free, and you can enjoy them without feeling any guilt, anytime you wish to reach for a soda.
  • Wholegrain bread instead of white bread:  It’s a lie that you need to cut bread out of your diet altogether if you’re looking to lose weight.  Instead of eating white bread which is full of unnecessary calories, opt for wholegrain bread.  It has fewer calories, less fat and it’s rich with the nutrients that your body really craves.  This wholegrain recommendation also applies to bagels and bread rolls.  You don’t have to cut them out altogether!
  • Low fat cookies and cakes instead of the calorie-rich ones:  Many people get that 3pm lull towards the end of the day when the afternoon is winding down.  During this time you may be used to enjoying a cake or cookie, and the good news is you can still do this.  Just go for the low fat bakery options.  They do exist – you just need to spot them in your cake and cookie aisle at the grocery store.
  • Vegetable burgers instead of hamburgers:  Sometimes you just feel the need to wolf down a hamburger, and thanks to low-fat veggie burger alternatives, you can – guilt-free!  They take a little getting used to, I must admit, but it’s well worth trying them out.  Be sure to add a nice serve of salad to your burger for an enjoyable, healthier hamburger alternative.
  • “Fake butter” instead of real butter:  Sure it tastes a little different, but it’s worth switching from the fatty version to the fake.  The big companies producing butter are now creating fat-free versions, so you don’t have to forgo butter after all if you get the urge to enjoy it!

Take these handy tips into consideration within the context of a healthy, balanced diet, and you’re on your way to making a healthy lifestyle, your lifestyle!

To get advanced strategies go see you local 24 hour fitness trainer.

This site is dedicated to you and your continued success.  Feel free to leave you thoughts and questions so we can get you answers to your burining questions.

Top Tips for Eating Out

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Think you need to stay at home and make your own meals in order to stay on track with your weight loss goals?  Think again!  You’re on a weight loss journey, not a “no fun EVER” journey!

This said though, you’d definitely be forgiven for thinking that a night out at a restaurant would break every diet rule.  After all, check out those cooking shows with the star chefs.  They never hold back when it comes to including butters, oils and other fatty, flavor-enhancing ingredients in their menus.

As daunting as eating out whilst dieting may seem, all hope is not lost.  You can enjoy a restaurant meal without blowing your calorie intake, if you follow these tips for eating out the healthy way:

  • Plan the event in advance if you can:  Accept that by eating out, you’ll probably be consuming more calories than you would if you cooked yourself and ate at home.  Keep this in mind and cut down a little – when it comes to calories – in the days leading up to the event.
  • Avoid eating all the extras:  Restaurants are famous for their flavored oils and bread rolls with butter.  As tempting as these and the marinated olives or side order of fries may be, avoid all of these extras.  It’s well worth it because you really can save a lot of calories by doing this.
  • Avoid pastries, rich sauces, deep-fried meals, creams and cheese:  This stuff is full of fat and calories.  You don’t need them!
  • Ask for the dish to be adapted:  When ordering, it’s okay for you to ask for the chef to adapt the dish to suit you!  Don’t be afraid to ask.  I recommend you request things like extra vegetables, no potatoes, grilling your meat instead of pan-frying it, asking for salad dressing or sauce to be served in a pot so you can add as little as you want to your meal or requesting no dressing on your salad.
  • Don’t feel pressured into eating three courses:  A main meal is enough, or alternatively, two serves of the starter.
  • Avoid fatty desserts:  A great option for dessert if you’re on the quest to lose weight is fresh fruit salad or sorbets.  Avoid pastries, cheeses and creams when it comes time to order dessert.
  • Avoid sugary soft drinks:  Instead opt for water, mineral water or diet drinks that have zero sugar.

If you don’t have time to prepare (by eating less) for your dining out experience, don’t stress out about it!  Simply cut down on calories a day or two following, or do a little more exercise.  It’s really that easy and it certainly doesn’t mean the world’s going to end.

Eating out whilst dieting doesn’t have to mean punishing yourself at all.  There almost always is a healthy alternative to substitute an ingredient, so don’t be afraid to ask for it.

Bon appetite!

Meet with your local 24hr fitness trainer to put together an action plan on how you can eat when your out!!

The Winning Mindset for Weight Loss

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During my career as a personal trainer, there’s something that really stands out to me when it comes to my weight loss clients.  There are two types of people who come to me for help with weight loss:

  1. Those who see weight loss – the diet and exercise habits required for weight loss – as easy and enjoyable; and
  2. Those who see the weight loss process as one that is difficult and painful.

Guess which group gets the results?

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out.  The way we think and the way we feel determines the actions we take and the outcomes we’re going to get.

When you are positive about the weight loss journey and you believe in the great outcomes that will result in you eating right and exercising, you’ll do it!

On the other hand, if you have a negative view about it all, you will end up hating the weight loss journey altogether and drop the ball before you see any results. You’ll feel overwhelmed.

The key to succeeding when it comes to achieving your weight loss goals is to make a conscious decision to lose weight and feel happy and excited about all of it:

  • The process of losing weight – the healthy diet you will come to love and the regular exercise you’ll feel energized by!
  • The results of reaching your goals – the great way you will look, the great way you will feel!
  • The prospect of a long, healthy and happy future – a future where you will continue to look and feel great – and exude health and wellbeing!

Forget the false promises the dieting industry makes about instant or near instant, overnight results.  The only way to lose weight is to change your lifestyle, so make the decision to change your lifestyle and love it!

Healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean regimenting your life and making it difficult.  There are so many ways you can start eating well and exercising regularly with results – and you can fit these in to suit your likes, your lifestyle and your goals.

See the weight loss journey as a positive one.  Know that your body, your mind and your spirit crave health and wellbeing.  Understand that when you give your body the healthy food it wants and exercise regularly the way your body wants, you will become a person who enjoys success, happiness and fulfillment on every level.

Go meet with your local 24 hour fitness.  Find a trainer that can help you develop a winning midset!!

This site is dedicated to you and your continued success.  Feel free to leave you thoughts and questions so we can get you answers to your burining questions.

Top Reasons Why a Personal Trainer is a Good Idea!

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With the world’s population getting fatter and fatter, it comes as no surprise that the demand for personal trainers is on the rise.  People have had enough of carrying excess weight and the downsides that come with it.

Even though the demand for personal trainers is high, people still often ask the question, “Why would I even need a personal trainer?”  So in an attempt to help explain why it’s a great idea to work with a personal trainer, here are my top reasons why it’s worth hiring a personal trainer for weight loss:

  • They keep you on track and motivated:  What’s the reason why people often give up on their weight loss journey? It’s because they run out of motivation and just throw in the towel.  A personal trainer will keep you working towards your weight loss goals.
  • They develop a tailored fitness plan just for you:  A good personal trainer will take YOU into consideration – your health and weight loss goals, your lifestyle, your strengths, your weaknesses, your likes and your dislikes.  Any medical conditions are also taken into consideration by your personal trainer.  Your personal trainer will then develop a fitness plan to suit all of these things – increasing the likelihood of you sticking to the plan.
  • They show you the most efficient ways to exercise:  The personal trainer develops a plan for you, taking into consideration your goals.  They will then recommend for you the most efficient exercises to help you achieve your goals. You won’t waste time or energy doing the things that don’t help you reach your goals.
  • They will introduce you to exercise if you’re new to it:  Your personal trainer will introduce you to exercise – even if you’ve never really done any form of fitness before.  A soft introduction to exercise will help you to get fit and stay active.
  • They show you how to exercise on your own:  Even when you’re not training with your personal trainer, the techniques your trainer will show you will allow you to go it alone between sessions. 
  • They show you how to exercise safely:  Too often people injure themselves when exercising – even if they have the best intentions.  A personal trainer will teach you how to exercise safely.

The rewards you will get by working with a personal trainer will far outweigh any costs associated with hiring a personal trainer.  I always encourage people to view the cost of personal training as an investment, rather than an expense.

After all, you cannot put a high enough price on health and wellbeing.  When you reach your goals by working with a personal trainer, you’ll be enjoying life and living it to the max!