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Ask the experts: Tips to improving health and losing weight

The new year is typically a time when people make a resolution to lose weight or improve their health. The McDuffie Mirror interviewed several local experts to help our readers.

Demarco McNair, Tyler Knox, and Corie Johnson

personal trainers/class instructors at the Family Y in Thomson

What would you say is the most difficult part of beginning a weight loss/exercise program?

"The hardest part is just walking through the front door," Mrs. Johnson said. "If people would just come in, they'd see that we're really helpful. For some reason, they're intimidated."

What are they scared of and what can they expect?

"We try to personalize a routine to each individual. We don't throw them into something they don't want to do or don't know anything about," Mr. McNair said. "Some people have weaknesses, like bad backs or bad knees, that we have to deal with. And there's health issues they have, as well. We take all that into consideration and help the person meet their goals."

What mistake do you see people make most often?

You don't want to come in the first day and over-do it. You have to start out at a moderate pace," Mr. McNair said. "A lot of people come in the first day and spend three hours working out and then we never see them again because they did too much and are in pain and don't want to do it again. You have to start out at a moderate pace, and then wake up the next day and stretch those muscles you worked the day before."

Is it 'no pain, no gain'?

"Expect some pain, but you shouldn't be so sore that you can't get out of bed," Mrs. Johnson said. "You just want to feel like you've been engaged in activity -- not like somebody beat you up."

What's your No. 1 piece of advice to help people stick to it for the long haul?

"Be patient. Don't rush it. You're not going to lose 30 pounds in one day. Set long- and short-term goals. Thirty pounds in a week just is not possible unless you are doing something you've got no business doing," said Mr. McNair.

"Join classes where people hold you accountable to come, and notice if you don't. Also, being with a personal trainer helps set you in a routine, so you don't go jumping around from station to station without seeing results," said Ms. Knox.

"To stick to it, change the workout up. Set small goals, meet them, then re-set more small goals," Mrs. Johnson said.

Web posted on Thursday, January 07, 2010

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