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Commit to getting FIT in 2019

2019 is here — and it is time to set those new health and fitness goals!

By Rebeca Gonzalez Barker

With the new year comes a fresh opportunity to become the best you possible. You have to make it work for you — and here’s where to start:


  • Start by choosing your “WHY.” Why do you want to lose weight, get fit or get healthy?
  • Set realistic and attainable goals, including 30-, 60-, and 90-day goals.
  • Make the commitment. Focus on making the necessary changes to your diet, setting a workout schedule and making your health goals a priority.
  • Find an accountability partner, fitness class or gym that will help you stay on track.


Adjust exercise days and times as needed. We all know that life can be hectic, so proper preparation is key.


  • It’s not about eating less; it’s about eating more of the right kinds of foods.
  • Here is an easy roadmap for understanding nutrition.
  • Calories — Food that is high in nutrients but not high in calories is your best choice.
  • Fat — There are three kinds of fat:
    • Unsaturated fat: Good for the heart.
    • Saturated fat: Moderate levels are recommended, but high levels may cause heart disease. These kinds of fats are found in meats and dairy.
    • Trans fat: Should be avoided, as it is linked to diabetes, heart and cardiovascular disease.
  • Cholesterol: Too much cholesterol is bad for the heart.
  • Sodium: Regulates blood pressure and blood volume. Limit high-sodium foods.
  • Carbohydrates: These are the No. 1 source of energy. Processed carbs burn quickly and can spike blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Whole-grain carbs are high in fiber and help maintain your appetite and help keep your blood sugar stable.
  • Fiber: Helps your digestive system stay healthy and keeps you feeling full longer.
  • Sugar: Limit foods high in processed sugar.
  • Protein: Contains essential nutrients for the human body. Helps build lean muscle, serves as a fuel source and much more.

Now, that we have reviewed the importance of food, here are my top 10 workout tips for you to kick off your fitness journey:

  • Start slow: Three to five days per week.
  • Stretch: Always stretch before you begin your warm-up. Stretching helps with blood flow, loosens tight muscles, improves strength, increases relaxation and helps prevent injuries.
  • Mix it up: Don’t stick to the same regimen every day. Move between various types of exercises, including cardio, strength training, flexibility and balance.
  • Proper weight training: You want to ensure you select the proper size weights. Start at a comfortable weight size and gradually increase when you’re ready.
  • Stay hydrated: Proper water intake helps lubricate the muscles and joints. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your workout.
  • Know your limits: If you feel any type of discomfort, stop immediately.
  • Know when to take a break: Rest days help your body recover naturally.
  • Surround yourself with people on the same journey: Group classes are a great way to stay connected to accountability and help to build new fitness friendships.
  • Be patient and consistent: Remember, results don’t happen overnight. This is a lifestyle change.
  • Have fun: Create memories with your fitness buddies, start a medal collection, get out of your comfort zone and enjoy the journey.

Having a structured exercise regimen is important. Here is an example of a simple workout plan:


Upper body exercises


Lower body exercises


Abs workout


Total body exercises




Walking, yoga, and/or stretching



Through my own weight loss of 60 pounds and my knowledge as a registered nurse, living a healthy lifestyle, being physically active and having better eating habits are important for enjoying a better quality of life. I know the road isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Take it one day at a time, one meal at a time and one workout at a time. As we say at Fitlife Studio, “Let thy fit be thy medicine, and medicine be thy fit.”

For more tips and information, or if you’re looking for a gym home to help you achieve your goals, visit Fitlife Studio online at

Rebeca Gonzalez Barker is a certified personal trainer at Fitlife Studio and a registered nurse at Memorial Hospital in Gulfport.

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