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Make fitness a priority, starting with 2015

By Federico Martínez, Special to La Prensa

Is that well-intentioned New Year’s resolution to get fit and slim already starting to feel like an impossible dream? Or, maybe that motivation to get that new gym membership is still stuck on the couch along with your butt?

Don’t despair several Toledo area health and fitness experts say; they have some tips and some words of encouragement to get you back on track.

“Find something fun that you like to do; that will increase the chance that you’ll stick with it,” said Elaina Hernández, a certified Zumba dance instructor. Zumba is a great cardio workout and utilizes many different muscles, she added.

Elaina Hernández

Zumba is a popular Latin dance/exercise class that utilizes merengue and cumbia music. Mrs. Hernández. She teaches classes that are open to all ages at 5:45 p.m., every Monday at the Dance Factory, 7820 Ponderosa Drive, in Perrysburg and 6:30 p.m., every Wednesday at UR Way, 2315 West Alexis in Toledo. Classes at the Perrysburg location cost $25 per month and $5 per class or $20 for five classes at the Toledo location. No pre-registration is necessary, just show up in comfortable clothing and get ready to exercise, have fun and make new friends, said Mrs. Hernandez.

“The best thing about it is participants can perform the dances at their own pace,” said Mrs. Hernández. “You don’t need to know anything about dancing to do Zumba, but you do need to take more than one class to get the hang of it.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10.3 percent of the overall Latino/Hispanic population in the United States are rated in fair to poor health. The leading cause of death for Latinos is cancer and heart disease.

Many of the illnesses that plague the Latino community – diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer – can be remedied by adopting a healthier lifestyle, said Latina Sierra Roach, an amateur fitness bodybuilding champion who has won multiple contests and who is an expert in adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Ms. Roach, a Toledo resident, said she was motivated to become a fitness bodybuilder by her family which has a history of succumbing at an early age to diabetes and heart disease.

Her first recommendation is to adopt healthier diets.

“Find healthy, great tasting substitutes,” said Ms. Roach. “Over the years I literally taught myself how to cook and prep healthy alternatives. I’ve found things I both love and some things I hate. The point is you won’t learn unless you try.

“For example, I love sweets. Being lactose intolerant I cannot have butter. I commonly substitute unsweetened apple sauce for any use of butter or oil.  Also, I commonly substitute the use of eggs with egg whites when baking. These substitutions dramatically increase the healthiness in baking sweets.”

When it comes to exercise, Ms. Roach suggests finding a “workout buddy” who can hold you accountable and vice-versa.  She also suggests writing out your goals or game plan.

“If you’re looking to get fit by summer, write it down,” she says. “Perhaps you would like to drop down a few dress sizes?  It’s important to have it down on paper so you can remind yourself of your goal on paper.”

Ms. Roach and other health experts also recommend that people write out and plan their meals in advance.

“I typically prep my meals the night before,” said Ms. Roach. “I cook enough meat such as chicken and turkey to last me half the week. If you prep for the entire week food tends to not taste as fresh which makes it more difficult to follow through with your meals.




Most experts recommend eating 4-5 smaller meals throughout the day compared to three big meals which is the American norm. Eating smaller meals at several intervals throughout the day helps the body digest the food better and speeds up a person’s metabolism.

Travis Fifer, general manager for Toledo’s Super Fitness, 1207 N. Reynolds Road, said the key to reaching fitness goals is “ninety-percent nutrition.” People should also change their workout routines frequently so that they don’t become bored and so that the body doesn’t adapt and begin burning fewer calories.

“The key to weight loss is strength training,” he said. “For every one pound of muscle gained, your body burns 50 extra calories while you’re sleeping.”

Mr. Fifer and Ms. Roach both recommend that people only weight scales sparingly. The information it provides can be misleading, they say.

A better method is to take photos of yourself periodically – that will give you a more accurate measure of whether your body is becoming more toned, or if your cloths are fitting looser, said Ms. Roach.

 If asked, Super Fitness staff will help new and current members reach their fitness goals, he said. In addition to providing nutritional guidance, they also offer free personal training to members.  A variety of aerobic classes and their popular Extreme Weight loss program, stresses team effort, and rewards life trophies and a chance to be featured on Channel 13 ABC News.

The gym also offers a ladies-only workout area, a full-sized swimming pool, sauna, whirlpool and a staffed children’s exercise area.

One of the most common mistakes people make when they start an exercise program is they “over-do-it,” he said.  They also allow themselves to become discouraged quickly.

“You need to pace yourself,” said Mr. Fifer, a certified personal trainer. “Don’t ever quit. Honestly, it can take only 21 days to start transforming your body; consistency is the key.

“Some people use times as an excuse. Everyone has 20 minutes to get in a hard workout. It’s a matter of intensity. You don’t need to spend all day at the gym.”

Copyright © 1989 to 2015 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 01/13/15 19:49:28 -0800.




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