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Fitness tips from a personal trainer and a dietitian

Jamie Brook
Posted at 1:28 PM, Jan 20, 2023

GREAT FALLS — As the calendar turns to January, local gyms tend to see influxes in newcomers and returners looking to kickstart the year in achieving an active lifestyle. However, that motivation can deteriorate as time goes on, leading to some potential doubt, and a plan that gets thrown away.

We checked in with a couple health specialists on some basic tips to keep in mind if you are, or soon-to-be on your fitness journey

Jamie Brook is a personal trainer and health coach at The Peak in Great Falls. She recommends a total of 150 minutes per week of moderate -intensity workouts for the average person.

"That 150 minutes doesn’t have to be every day," she said. "You can break that up into 30-minutes-5 days a week, or an hour. Sure, you can do it all at once, but it’s best to get it throughout the week.”

While there are various forms of exercises, ranging from weight training to cardio, Brook said it's important to keep a balance.

“Movement is the most important thing," she said. "You don’t have to be going to the gym every day. Just get yourself up, get yourself going, think about the clichés. Take the stairs instead of the elevators, park far away in the parking lot. Just get yourself up and moving, that’s most important.”

Brook added that in order to achieve results, the most important factor to keep in mind, is rest.

"Rest is so important," she noted. "We have to let our muscles rebuild. When we're working out, we're breaking down our muscles. There are little tissue fibers that we are breaking down. When we're resting, is when we are rebuilding those muscles. That's actually when you are gaining all that muscle."

She added, "we don't want to come to the gym every single day for five months, and you are totally burned out, and never want to come again. It's important to take a day or two to rest in between your workouts. If you're feeling super sore, get your stretch in. Just get movement. You don't have to go hard 24/7."

As essential as exercising itself is, you've likely heard the phrase, 'You can't out-train a bad diet.'

Cascade City-County Health Department Dietitian, Mattie Paddock stated, "if you are eating a lot of processed, fat foods, your body can't keep up with that, so you are going to put weight on. That's where putting in fruits and vegetables really helps ... You are going to feel fuller with fresh fruits and vegetables. Your body takes longer to process them, so you feel fuller longer. Then, you aren't going to be out searching for other foods."

Paddock also noted the importance of reading food labels, particularly when it comes to sugar. She said it is important to observe the total amount of sugars, versus the 'added sugars.'

Paddock said, "a lot of diced tomatoes add sugar to help hold the shape when they process it. You are better off buying whole tomatoes in the can and cutting them up yourself."

When asked how many meals someone should eat in a day, Paddock said it's dependent on the person. However, she noted that eating less and less can potentially have its risks.

"Yes, you are going to lose weight, but you have to look at what you’re doing for your health, and can you maintain that," she explained.

According to the USDA's latest “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” report for 2020-2025, "Adult estimated calorie needs range from 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day for females and 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day for males. As shown, males generally require more calories than females."