Out with the old, in with the new.
For Allison Reinhardt, it’s out with the old shape, in with the new one. As a personal trainer at the YMCA branch in Glenville, Reinhardt is currently on the run helping people keep New Year’s resolutions to slim down and muscle up. Glenville resident Reinhardt, 35, who has worked at the Glenville Y for the past five years, has advice for conditioning as people leave behind deviled eggs, meatballs, shrimp cocktails and all those holiday cookies for another year.
Q: Is January a busy month for personal trainers?
A: It’s a busy month for us at the YMCA in general. Personal training definitely does pick up in the month of January, and we get some great clients. Some of them stick with us for the whole year.
Q: Why January? Is it all about New Year’s resolutions?
A: I think a portion of it is New Year’s resolutions. And a portion is that people tend to fall off the wagon in the fall season with the holidays, with school starting up again, sports starting up. Lifestyles get busy, so come January 1st we have people coming in and saying, “OK, show me how to get back on track.”
Q: How do you get them back on track?
A: There are a number of different ways. One of the great things specifically about the YMCA is we like to put people on a path, taking them to a healthier lifestyle. We try to connect them to that ... as well as connecting them to people who have similar goals. So it becomes much more than just coming in to lose that 5 pounds. It’s coming in to check on Mary, who I met in Body Flex last week, we said, “Hey, we’re going to do this together.” Definitely connecting people and giving them a little bit more than just, “Well, if you ate 300 calories less per day, you’d be fine.” That’s one of the main ways that we like to connect people and get them back on track.
We also like to meet people where they’re at. For example, if you’re currently not exercising and I was to tell you, “OK, you need to come in five days a week for an hour each day,” that is such a drastic lifestyle change you’re going to find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to keep that up. So we sit down with people and we talk to people and we find out, “What are you doing right now?” and “What do you enjoy doing?” If you don’t enjoy dancing, I’m not going to send you to a Zumba class. If you don’t enjoy being in the water, we’re not going to have you do water aerobics. If you love being outside, maybe one of our running groups is a good place for you. It’s really all about finding the right place for the individual.
Q: Do some people start strong in January, fade in February and maybe return to the couch in March? Any way to keep workouts fun?
A: Absolutely. Trying different things is the key to keeping yourself interested. You might be someone who starts out with a three-day walking plan in the month of January. What about adding a strength-training routine into your regimen for the month of February? I think changing things up once in a while — and I say every once in a while is anywhere between about a four- to eight-week time span, when a program begins to feel maybe a little stale. But if you love what you’re doing, keep doing what you’re doing. The important thing is getting your body moving, getting out there and getting the activity.
Q: Do you prefer walking on surfaces or on the treadmill?
A: Personally, I prefer being outside. I like the cushioning I can get by alternating between an asphalt road and the grass. There’s also some great trails that surround our YMCA. Here in Glenville, we’re connected with the Indian Meadows Park, so you can do some trail walking in the wintertime. They maintain them relatively well. But the treadmill has a place, it’s an excellent place for a beginner to start. You have rails on the side, if you have a little bit of an instability or balance issue. You can start at an extremely slow speed. Our treadmills start at a half-mile an hour. There’s shock absorption in the deck, that’s the portion you walk on, that can help someone who perhaps has a joint issue.
Q: What’s the biggest mistake people make when they’re trying to increase exercise routines?
A: Doing too much too soon, going from doing nothing to five days a week, two hours each day. We have to think of exercise as a lifestyle habit versus a way to get to a goal and then I get to stop. When we add it in gradually, it’s much easier for our lifestyle to accept that change.
Q: Is it better to exercise during the early morning or after work?
A: The best time to exercise is what works for your life. If your life is so busy [that] the only time you can fit it in is at 5 in the morning or 8:30 at night, then that’s the best time. There are people who feel that very intense cardio-vascular exercise will get them kind of fired up and they have a difficult time sleeping, those are the individuals I would say, “Be a weekend warrior, do your high-intensity exercise on Saturday or Sunday and do some lower intensity cardio-vascular exercise, perhaps some strength-training or some yoga, during those weeknight, later workouts.
Q: How about working out with friends?
A: Support is huge in someone who is de-conditioned and coming back into exercise. It’s actually one of the first things I’ve written down: support, support, support. If you’re not someone who is regularly exercising, it also gives you accountability. You’re not going to blow off your best friend at 5:45 in the morning for your five-mile walk, where you might blow off your alarm clock at 5:45.
Q: Any diet tips, as long as we’re talking about exercise?
A: Portion control is absolutely huge, making sure you’re reading labels and you’re eating a balanced diet. We should “eat the rainbow” every single day, making sure we have a variety of color in our diet. “Eating the rainbow” would be making sure you’re getting your blues or purples, greens, reds, oranges. For example, if you’re going to a salad bar, not just taking iceberg lettuce with ranch dressing on top. Add some colorful things, try the red cabbage or beets. Beets are fantastic, very very high nutritionally dense items. Try some cherry tomatoes, try some broccoli, put some color into your life.
Q: Another food question — some people skip breakfast. Bad move?
A: It’s a huge mistake, because breakfast actually helps you fuel your metabolism for the day. If you think of your body and your metabolism as a fire, you need to keep that fire going by adding portions to it through the day. A fire you would keep going by adding wood, you wouldn’t put a ton of wood in all at once because you’d smother it. But you also wouldn’t starve that fire if you wanted to keep it going, by giving it absolutely nothing. The first meal of the day stokes that metabolism, stokes that fire inside you and gets that calorie burning going.
Q: You must get a lot of satisfaction from your success stories. Right?
A: Absolutely. Some of the people we see that come into the YMCA are coming in here for some serious health issues, extreme obesity or extremely high cholesterol, some cardiac issues. When we see those individuals come in and make changes in their lifestyles, the change is so much more than just on the outside. You can see an internal change happen in these people. They become more confident, they become those individuals that will connect with others in the community and who will connect with others in the YMCA and become the picture of success for our community here.