Following real paths to obtaining fitness goals

Published 6:45pm Thursday, January 23, 2014

First, I’d like to thank all those who turned out for our fitness/nutrition seminar, earlier in the week at Ken’s Fine Meats and Seafood.

The response and demand for an additional seminar has been so great, not only from those who attended, but so many more who could not be there, that we will conduct a second seminar soon. I’ll announce the date shortly.
This week I’d like to talk with you about real ways to be successful from the beginning of a new fitness effort.

Being in better physical condition helps reduce your risk for heart disease, improves sleep patterns, helps improve coordination and balance, and of course, improves your lean-to-fat ratio (adding more muscle) while helping you lose body fat.

Before beginning a fitness venture, I recommend everyone check with his or her physician, regardless of age. It’s possible to have health conditions you may not even be aware exist. Remember, safety in training is even more important than progress.

Next, comes the setting of your fitness goals. I recommend putting these goals in writing, so you get clear in your mind, the reason you want to get in better shape. Remember, as I’ve stated in past articles, why you want to get in shape is even more important than how you’ll get in shape.

After setting goals, it’s time to piece your program together. This is where personal trainers can be of real benefit. Even if you can’t train with one on a continuous basis, it’s still a great idea to have a consultation with one.

Be careful how you choose your trainer, though. I recommend either getting a referral from a friend, or just calling a trainer, and ask if you can watch them work. Make note of how well trainers interact with those whom they work. Notice if they implement the same exercise routine with each client. Of all those I train, no two are on the same program.

The reason is every individual is distinct, and we each have different needs, goals and challenges. Also, clients deserve their own personalized program. The personal trainer you choose should be well accomplished, experienced and educated. He or she should listen to your goals, fears and concerns. If you don’t want to work with a personal trainer, there are exercise books, tapes and DVDs out there, but take care, and do considerable research. This will save you much time and grief in the long run.

Once you’re ready to begin, start slowly. I tell clients that beginning an exercise program is like getting a haircut. If you do too much, too soon, it will take you too long to get over it.

Start with a combination of both weight training and aerobic exercises. No matter what you read, or hear, there is no rule as to which type (weight training or aerobic training) you should perform first in your exercise regimen. The order in which these exercises are done doesn’t matter, however, when implementing weight-training exercises. Try to move from larger muscle groups to smaller ones.

The order should be something like legs, back, chest, shoulders, triceps and biceps.

Regardless of the order you work your muscles, abdominal muscles should always be exercised last in any routine.

I recommend you incorporate activities you really enjoy with your exercise program as a type of cross training. These could be enterprises like swimming, rowing, walking, running, team sports and even dancing. Also, don’t workout too intensely in the beginning.

Remember, slow and steady wins this race. In addition, always allow for rest and recovery between workout sessions. I tell my clients to consider rest, an active part of their exercise regimen. Rest is the time when you lose fat and tighten muscles, from the exercise you just did. Using these steps will help you get, and stay in shape, while minimizing your chance for injury.

Diet or exercise question? Email me at or visit

David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 27 years. He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the USC-Spartanburg baseball team, S. C. state champion girls gymnastic team, and the Converse college equestrian team. 

He served as a water safety consultant to the United States Marine Corps, lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency, and taught four semesters at USC-Union. 

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