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By Stacy Vanzant

Published in Davidson County Focus Magazine

Fall Edition 2018

Fitness 101

Since becoming a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, I’ve found over the years that so many people are just looking for a place to start. As fitness professionals, we can often take our knowledge and experience for granted. It’s been years, or maybe decades, since I didn’t know my way around a gym, but this is not the case for the majority of Americans. Lately, I’ve been reminded by some amazing people that the world really needs just a little guidance to get started. With a little direction, everyone has the ability to start a fitness program and find their healthy lifestyle.

Deciding to start some form of exercise is the first step. Looking at pictures on social media or television can be a far cry from reality when it comes to dreaming of the perfect body, but everyone has to start somewhere, regardless of their physical ability.

Here’s the skinny (pardon the pun), but you can do this! You can do it during the fall and winter. You can start any time of the year. All you need to do is make a plan, establish a routine, and drop the excuses.

The Basics

According to the Department of Health and Human Services and the American Heart Association, healthy adults should get a least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. Physical activity is anything that makes you move your body and burn calories. This can include climbing stairs, walking in your neighborhood, swimming in the pool, and even doing work around the home.

Yes, this means you have to commit to a schedule of a few days a week to exercise, but once you make that appointment with yourself and commit to the calendar, you will find many positive benefits. The best part is that you choose what works best for you! You can commit to three days of 50 minutes each, five days of 20 minutes each, four days of 40 minutes each, or two days of an hour and half each performing some form of exercise or aerobic activity. You are the director of your health and you have the choice!

The Benefits

Exercise reduces stress and benefits overall health. It can improve sleep, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, and help prevent diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Exercising improves your metabolism so you can burn more calories while resting, sleeping, working on the computer, and more!

One major health benefit of exercise that is often overlooked is the opportunity to meet new people, develop new friendships, and even grow in accountability in relationships with others. Who knew a little exercise could lead you to a new best friend?

Avoid the Face Plant

We’ve all been here. We toss all the junk food out of the house and buy only the perfect foods for the perfect diet. You’ve decided on 50 recipes to prepare over the next month and want to meal prep them all at one time. Maybe you’ve even decided to track your food, and on top of all that you’re starting a new fitness regimen. STOP! Yes, I said it. I’m all for going in head first, but I also understand life, family, and work demands, and most importantly, I’m a realist. One way to fail before you’ve even started is by rearranging your entire life and creating a massive overhaul that sends you and your family into shock.

Let’s be real. Start small and avoid the face plant. If you need to start by setting up a fitness calendar that shows you’re going to walk every day during your lunch break, then wonderful! But, if you know your family likes to go out to dinner 2-3 nights a week and now you want to cook multiple meals for each and every member of your family, you need to realize that in the end it’s going to leave you exhausted and burned out. So don’t commit to more than you can handle. Seriously, take baby steps if you need to. You can make subtle changes, create a stronger health routine for you and your family, and find more success by implementing small changer than by diving headfirst into the shallow end.

Time to Hit Go!

What encourages and drives you? Do you like upbeat music while you walk? Maybe an audio book allows you to drift away and find a few minutes of solitude. Do you need some time to relax, disconnect, and put the world on hold? If music is your jam, then work on a playlist that you enjoy. Joining a music app like Yes!Go Music, Fit Radio, or Rock My Run might be an easy solution to get the perfect tunes for your exercise routine. Not all of these options are free, but for only a few dollars a month you can listen to any genre you choose to get you pumped!

Be prepared! Pack your exercise gear the night before. Make a quick checklist: shoes, bottoms, tops, socks, water bottle, etc. Tomorrow morning when your bag is in the car, it will be a lot easier to say yes, than no.

The World Doesn’t Care, So You Shouldn’t!

No one is watching! Yep, that’s right. No one! Gym lunks, neighbors, friends, colleagues -- no one is watching and worrying about your starting your fitness program. I’m not saying no one will be supportive. I’m just suggesting that the world does not care that you haven’t been to the gym or even walked to the mailbox in 10 years. That’s inside your head and only your head. Who cares! Let them stare (which they’re not doing) and rock it! Don’t let the world of non-lookers stop you from taking care of yourself!

The Top 10 and You Win!

Here are my top 10 exercises with illustrations to help you get started. If this is your first attempt at raising your heart rate, start easy. Try doing each of these exercises for 30 seconds each and then move to the next. Rest for a minute at the end of the list and do it again. Try rotating through this list 4-5 times for a beginner’s workout. Over time, increase the length of the exercise or the number of times through the list. As always, consult with your doctor or fitness professional before starting any fitness routine.

Jumping Jacks – Step Taps

Push-Ups – Wall Push-Ups

High Knees

Walking Lunges

High Plank/Low Plank

Tricep Dips

Hip Bridge

Basic Squat


Reverse Plank

Stacy Vanzant is an AAFA Certified Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, and Titleist Performance Institute Instructor. For more exercise and health tips visit or join my Facebook group: Change Your Fit by Stacy Vanzant.Type your paragraph here.