By Ameera Steward
The Birmingham Times
(First of three parts)
Every year, we hear and make the same New Year’s resolutions, and invariably health and wellness make the list. Most people make losing weight or getting back to the gym a priority—until around February, when people at the gym start dropping like flies and the only ones left are those who were there the year before.
To help you stick to your resolution and excel in health and wellness, the Birmingham Times turned to Kevin Brown, founder of downtown Birmingham’s Xtreme Fitness and Performance, and one of his fellow trainers, Valie Slater.
BT: Why is fitness important?
Brown: Fitness is important from the standpoint of … having a healthy … lifestyle. You can go so many different ways with it. Fitness, in general, keeps injuries down, gives you energy, prevents a lot of chronic diseases, … such as high blood pressure and diabetes. … Overall health … [is something] you want to make a part of your lifestyle and carry on throughout your life. We kind of like to tell people, it’s something you want to make a part of [your daily routine], like getting up in the morning, brushing your teeth, combing your hair, things of that nature.” … Make it a lifestyle.
You want to have consistency with it, as well. A lot of fads go around, especially now, … into the new year. [Some] people say, ‘Well, this year I want to lose x amount of weight’ or whatever that goal may be. I always like to tell people find goals they can [maintain consistently]. Don’t make a goal like, “Hey, I want to lose 100 pounds in six months.” The chances of that happening may be slim. A lot of times, even from a mental standpoint, if you don’t reach that goal, your confidence or consistency with whatever you’re doing [will] probably fall off. That’s why I like to tell people [to set small goals], even if it’s a weekly goal. Say, this week, “I want to lose a pound” or “I want to lose two pounds,” then you can build off of that. That’s where your consistency comes in, when you have short-term goals you can actually reach to get to the overall picture.
BT: What’s the maximum amount of weight a person should strive to lose in a week?
Brown: There’s a lot of stuff out here [that can help] you lose weight the wrong way. That’s why you see people that may lose a lot of weight in a short period of time, but when you see them three weeks later, they’ve gained it back. Healthy weight loss is between maybe a pound or two a week, if you’re doing it the right way: getting the right nutrition, following the diet, exercising. I tell people, “Basically, you can’t outwork a bad diet.” Probably one of the most important things, probably 80 percent of the task, is making sure you put the right nutrition into your body.
BT: How does being fit affect other areas of our lives?
Slater: It builds confidence. It keeps you happy. When a person feels like they’re in shape and they’re happy about their physical appearance, most of the time that’s going to give them the confidence they need to go out and do whatever else. Even if they’re working a regular nine-to-five, they’re going to feel better about doing that … when they feel better. If they look better, they get more confidence, giving them a little bit more drive daily.
BT: What does being fit mean for our relationships and our family?
Slater: It all goes hand and hand. Nine times out of 10, when a person is happy with themselves, it’s easier for them to get along with the next person, whether it’s a significant other, kids, family members, coworkers.
Brown: One thing about this business is it’s a very personal business. I feel like if I can actually dig into your personal life, I can help you a little bit more. I had a client who wanted to lose weight and she actually told me, “I don’t feel like my husband is attracted to me anymore just because of the weight I’ve gained. I feel like it’s causing issues in our household.” She did what she had to do to lose the weight, and she came back to me and said, ‘Hey, I don’t think you understand what impact this had on my marriage. Just me getting in shape.’ Now, [she and her family have] incorporated [fitness] and proper nutrition into their household, even down to the kids. … Eventually, [her husband] started training, too. If you feel better about yourself, it can help with every other aspect of your life, as well, whether that’s work, a significant other, kids. A lot of people just look at it as, “I just want to fit in a dress” or something along those lines, which is a good goal. If you make it a lifestyle, [though], you’ll be amazed at what it does for everything surrounding your life.
Some of our adult clients … are business owners, CEOs, and this is probably the point of their day where it’s like a [release]. Fitness and exercise are [therapeutic]. As far as relieving stress, … it’s probably one of the best things you can have.
Check out Part 2: Important Workout Tips in the Birmingham Times on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 and also online.
Xtreme Fitness and Performance can be reached at 1509 3rd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233, (205) 687-0090.