Your Fresh Start

5 tips to feel better and be better in “sweet ’16.”
Your Fresh Start 4

4. Consider a coach

We can all go to the gym, take a fitness class online or buy all kinds of home fitness equipment. But more and more of us are turning to personalized training and health or wellness coaching, according to the 2015 International Fitness Industry Trend Report.

Some reasons for this are self-evident: Personal training is tailored to your needs, and it makes you accountable. “I have enough tricks in my bag, that when clients say they’re tired, or body parts are sore, or they’re crunched for time, they know I will offer them what they need,” says Cheryl Russo, a certified personal fitness trainer at Ethos Fitness and Spa for Women in Midland Park. “There is a bond between a trainer and client. Clients know you are there to help them individually.”

Other factors are less obvious. “For insurance reasons, doctors are no longer able to spend as much time with a patient,” says certified personal trainer Carol Michaels of Carol Michaels Fitness in Short Hills. “They may tell you to lose weight, but not explain how. Or they send you to a physical therapy center, where the therapist may be running from one patient to another and may not be able to take time to understand the root cause of your injury—for instance, overuse or posture issues. So it is up to the personal trainer to spend a full hour with a client and really get to know the person’s needs.”

For similar reasons, the relatively new field of health/wellness coaching is booming. Such coaching encompasses exercise, but also covers diet, behaviors and overall health management. “People say knowledge is power, but that’s not really true—it’s the application of knowledge that’s power,” says Lee Jordan, a personal trainer and health coach certified by the American Council on Exercise (ACE ). “Tons of books offer nutritional and fitness guidance, but knowing and doing are two different things. As health coaches, what we do is walk down the path side by side with people throughout the day.”

Jordan keeps in touch with clients around the country via texting and cloud-based apps that measure activity. Where a traditional nutritionist might, for example, tell a patient to keep a food diary and come back in two weeks, Jordan’s clients send photos of their meals or snacks. “This provides a moment of thoughtfulness for the patient, and allows me to capture a tremendous amount of data,” says Jordan. “It’s a very collaborative model. We become immersed in the client’s life.” (To find an ACE -certified health coach in your area, check out the “Find an ACE Pro” section at

If one-on-one work is not your cup of tea, that’s cool—the idea is simply to find what is. “Some may find individualization intimidating, and prefer a group setting,” says Anthony Wall, ACE ’s director of education. “The music, the flavor, the style of group fitness classes can be incredibly powerful too, and we see tremendous retention and engagement there. Others may find a combination of coaching and classes works best. In any case, you need to seek out the tools that can help you create sustainable lifestyle change.”

5. Own your age »

Categories: Bergen Health & Life