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Advice from local fitness expert
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Keeping in tune with the New Year and being that, for most, the number one resolution is to stay start a diet or work out program, we asked Richard Sommerville from the Liberty County Armed Services Family YMCA a few questions about weight loss and weight training.

Q: Why do most people quit a weight loss/fitness program within weeks of starting one?
A: I feel we live in a society of instant gratification with too much reliance on the scale as a success measure, and when people don’t see the scale drop they quit. Also people stop because of a lack of information. I suggest everyone who starts a workout routine to speak with a trainer or other fitness professional before getting starting to at the very least get the basics of how your body works in regard to weight loss. Here at the YMCA we offer the Activate Coastal Georgia program free to our members. It introduces them to the cardio and fitness rooms with initial assessments and workout plans, while answering all questions one might have and giving tips on how to reach your goals

Q: What are some of the simple things folks with tight schedules and little free time can do to move in the right direction as far as losing  weight and becoming fit?
A: Thirty minutes a day is all you need to get started. You can even break that up into three 10-minute sessions if you can’t work set aside that much time for one workout. You need to start eating a lot healthier. I suggest that you don’t rush your workouts. You have to take time for yourself to ultimately reach your goals. If you only have 30 minutes, then I suggest you try circuit training, which is combining cardio and weight training to get that heart rate revved up.

Q: What is the benefit of having or hiring a personal trainer versus working out on your own?
A: Having a personal trainer is all about accountability and having someone right there with the knowledge to keep you on the right track to lose weight. A trainer should be able to look at what you’re doing and what you’re not and put it together to get you farther than you could get on your own.

Q: What should people look for when hiring a trainer?
A: Your trainer should have a nationally recognized certification in personal training and be certified in CPR and first aid. They should have at least a year of practical experience in group exercise or fitness exercise leadership. They should also have prior experience in assisting others with exercise, exercise coaching and or instructing group fitness. They must show a proven ability to develop exercise programs that are for individuals with varying degrees of ability. And must be able to demonstrate an ability to develop and implement exercise programs for special needs clients, and be compatible with you and your personality.

Q: What activities promote the best overall weight loss cardio alone, weight lifting alone or a combination of both?
A: For overall weight loss you need a combination of cardio and weight training. For weight lost, two-three days a week of weight training and for cardio three-five days a week. You can combine cardio and weights together for a high calorie burning circuit training workout for the faster results.

Q: What advise can you give to someone who is severely overweight to get going in the right direction?
A: For anyone wishing to start a workout program should consult with a doctor first, especially if you’re severely overweight. Afterward I can’t stress enough the importance of a healthy diet and just to get moving. Just start out doing a little at a time and before you know it you’ll begin to drop that weight. It’s harder for severely overweight individuals to workout because of all the extra weight they are carrying and the stress on their heart so take it slow and steady and you’ll win the race. Walking alone is an excellent starting point, water aerobics and pool activities.

Sommerville is the senior fitness director at the Liberty County YMCA and is a certified fitness expert.
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