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2016 - the year of YOU!

2016 - the year of YOU!

It is New Year's resolution time! Are you jumping on the fitness bandwagon, vowing to be more active in 2016? If so, FANTASTIC!

The prospect of starting a workout routine can be overwhelming. If you are feeling nervous or like you don't know where on earth to begin, know that you are not alone. The gym (especially the weight room) can feel like an intimidating place, and the cold can make winter running seem extremely daunting and unappealing.

Believe me, I get it! In my teens I was so intimidated by weights and running outside that I only took aerobics classes. In fact, I took so many group exercise classes that the gym suggested I become an instructor – teaching aerobics was how I got started in the industry! That is the exciting part about life; you never know what the future holds!

When you get nervous, just remind yourself that everyone was a newbie lifter and runner once. EVEN ME! The hardest part of working out is starting. So, lace up your shoes and go for a walk or a jog, or go to the gym and try five minutes of weights. Just do something - get your fitness ball rolling!

Some helpful Guidelines

For winter running

* Layering is key. I love wearing arm warmers, leg warmers, gloves, hats and even a balaclava. I usually start wearing both a hat and the hood from my running jacket. Once I warm up, I just wear the hood.

* My biggest winter running pet peeve is when cold air causes the skin above my ankles to become cold and dry. So, I always wear tall socks or pants that are tight at the ankle (or both).

* As for your route, try running multiple small loops so you can easily get home if you want to drop layers off, pick layers up, or if you get too cold and you just want to get home ASAP. (I have become more cautious after falling on black ice last year).

For the weight room

* Don't forget to breathe.

* A rep (or repetition) is the act of going one time through the exercise. If your program calls for 15 reps of a squat, you need to squat 15 times. Once you complete all of the reps, you have done one set.

* Typically, one does multiple sets of every exercise. Each set is separated by a rest period. To complete three sets of 15 reps, you would do one set, rest, complete another set, rest, then finish your final set.

* I suggest using a repetition range, such as 12 to 15 reps, rather than a specific single-rep goal (like 15). Start by aiming to complete the lower number. As you get stronger, aim to complete the higher number.

* Don't work the same muscle group on consecutive days.

* Do complex, multi-joint exercises first. For example, do squats before bridges.

* Beginners should only do two sets. As you progress, complete a minimum of three sets.

* To elicit a particular training effect, the weight has to be appropriate for the reps completed. For example, eight to 10 is considered a hypertrophy (or mass-building) rep range. If you could do 20 reps, but stop at 10 reps, you will not build mass. Lifting a weight for eight to 10 reps will only create hypertrophy if you lift a weight that you can realistically only do for eight to 10 reps.

* Regularly change up your routine. I suggest beginners lift a moderate weight for 12 to 15 reps. As you progress, use a heavier weight or manipulate reps, sets, rest periods, exercises and even tempo. Try lowering and lifting for two counts, or lowering for four counts and powering up.