THUNDER BAY – LIVING – With winter coming to and end, some people are wrapping up their first weeks of a New Year’s resolution to start eating healthier and working out more. Two personal trainers discussed with NNL the importance of a healthy diet and physical fitness, especially for those living in remote communities.
Amanda Woods, a Thunder Bay native who is currently teaching classes at a GoodLife Fitness Centre in Winnipeg, said that she feels it is important to eat healthy and keep physically fit because doing so can help prevent a lot of illnesses.
“I do believe it’s important. Preventing sickness is very important, and you can do so much preventative health care through keeping your body healthy with physical fitness and also the foods you eat,” Woods said.
Woods explained that she has been interested in fitness from a young age.
“When I was young, I would watch fitness classes before I was even old enough to attend,” Woods said. “Once I was old enough to start going to a gym, I got my membership and started to work out at age fifteen. “
Woods said that she enjoyed going to different classes at the gym, and really loved working out.
“I grew up as a dancer and a cheerleader as part of my fitness routine,” Woods added. When she was 29, a trainer introduced Woods to the world of fitness competitions. From 2009 to 2013, Woods has competed in 10 competitions, placing second in four of them. Her last competition was in August 2013, after which she took a step back from the bodybuilding and fitness competition world.
Woods now teaches classes at GoodLife. She said that group fitness classes are a great tool for people to use.
“When walking into a gym, it can be very intimidating. There’s equipment you don’t know how to use, and people who look like they know what they are doing, lineups for treadmills – I always suggest go to a group fitness class. Look at schedules and see what classes you might want to take,” Woods said. She explained that in a class there is an instructor who tells you what to do and how long to do it, and guides you through your work out.
“And an hour goes by and you don’t even realize it,” Woods said.
Woods said that it is important to stay active and also pay attention to what you put into your body.
“The body and the systems in it, they’re so small and so special – it’s a miracle that things work, that our hearts continue to pump every day, and all these systems work together,” Woods said. “It’s important, what we put into our bodies and what we do to stay healthy. Things can break so quickly, but we have control over keeping it better. I am about prevention.”
Thunder Bay local Corey Wesley is also a personal trainer who works at Thrive Strength and Wellness. Along with his job at Thrive, he also runs his own business called Corey Wesley Personal Training.
“I help people get stronger and fitter through movement, and being stronger through movement rather than body building where you work out for superficial reasons,” Wesley said.
Wesley has a masters degree in kinesiology, and he did his masters thesis on kettlebell training.
“People know me as the kettlebell guy,” Wesley said. Wesley was first introduced to kettlebells in 2008 when he was a sprinter at the North American Indigenous Games.
Setting Fitness Goals a Priority
Wesley trains athletes including those in the Ontario Hockey League, as well as general clients.
“I don’t just do kettlebells, I do functional movements,” Wesley said. He explained that he builds his clients from the ground up. “I start from their weakness, it’s a holistic approach; start from the foundation with the ultimate goal of being the strongest and most explosive person they can be for an athlete. A general client, the goal is being strong and able to move right.”
Wesley feels it is important to pay attention to your health, especially those in First Nations communities that have a high rate of obesity, type two diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular diseases, which he said are preventable, or can be managed or reversed, if more attention is paid to diet and exercise.
“Combine that with a lack of physical activity and poor eating habits, it’s a recipe for disaster,” Wesley said. “The direction that society is going, that’s where someone like me comes in and helps people who want to get physically active. ‘I want to get in shape, I want to get healthy,’ but most people don’t know how. That’s where someone like me helps get people to start living healthy, start moving, start building strength.”
Wesley likes to refer to the three pillars of healthy living when training clients. The first pillar is to “just start moving. Low intensity continuous exercise very day.”
The second pillar is cleaning up your diet. Wesley said that there are many different diets out there, but to also start by making one habit change in terms of your diet.
“And master that change before you move on to the next one,” he said. “If you start doing everything at once, you’re bound to fail. So if you drink pop, stop drinking pop. Once you stop that, start focusing on something else.”
The third pillar is resistance training, said Wesley.
“Resistance training at least once a week. Not to be the strongest, yet, but mainly to be able to do things your body is meant to do,” said Wesley. “Like just picking up groceries, picking up your four-year old.”
Wesley said that women especially should start to resistance train now because of osteoporosis.
“When you get older, your bones, your spine, start demineralizing, just getting brittle. When resistance training, calcium deposits in your spine and bones and makes it thicker and stronger. That’s why resistance training is the third pillar,” Wesley explained.
Woods said that walking is a good way to start off a physical routine for those who do not have access to a gym or exercise equipment,
“Walking is always a great thing to do for getting cardio done,” she said. “It’s a nice way to start and build progression from comfortable walking a little bit at a time, and then faster walking and running.”
Woods also suggests looking up workouts online that use just bodyweight for those without gym or equipment access.
“There are a lot of workouts that are based on using your own body,” Woods said. “Workout wherever you’re comfortable.”
Wesley said that to be able to keep up a positive change in diet and exercise, that you really have to enjoy it and make it something that you want to do and internalize it.
“Just do something that you enjoy. Walk if you like going for walks. If you hate walking, you might like to take something else up like snowboarding or cross country skiing, as long as you’re moving,” Wesley said. “Internalize it. You can’t be doing it for your significant other because they want you to, or to win a weight loss contest. That’s an external award. You have to do it for you and only you.”
Woods explained that fitness doesn’t have to be expensive or about wearing the trendiest exercise clothing.
“It’s something that can be slow; it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. To at least do something and when you’re doing it do it because you need to do it, because you think about how previous that workout is to your body, how previous the food you eat is. You need to do everything you can to keep your body healthy.”
Woods added that if communities had no fitness instructor or personal trainer, that getting certified is always an option as well for people.
“There are options out there, they can also become a fitness instructor,” Woods said.
More information on Corey Wesley Training can be found on Facebook and an upcoming website Coreywesley.ca
Please consult a physician before starting any new diet or exercise program.