Jennifer Stanton shares tips for beginners and experienced fitness enthusiasts
As a personal trainer with previous military experience, JENNIFER STANTON is passionate about helping others.
Stanton is a retired 20-year U.S. Coast Guard chief petty officer. In addition to specializing in shipboard navigation traveling through 20 countries, she taught leadership skills, fitness and nutrition for senior-level positions, and fitness and nutrition to new recruits.
When her husband, still on active U.S. Coast Guard duty, was transferred to Wilmington in 2016, the family of four, including two daughters, happily relocated. Stanton started teaching classes at fitness clubs around town.
“The Coast Guard is about service. The fitness industry is also about helping and serving others, and a personal challenge for mind and body,” she says.
Stanton, certified in Zumba, Spin, and TRX while in the Coast Guard, added SilverSneakers certification to her credentials as she became more involved in the Wilmington fitness community. In 2017, she became a certified personal trainer so she could coach one-on-one in addition to teaching classes at O2 Fitness in Wilmington.
Stanton shares a countdown of fitness tips for beginners and seniors, serious fitness enthusiasts, and anyone wanting to lose weight or just live a healthy lifestyle.
1. Define goals. “The first thing I do with clients is talk about goals. Where they are and where they want to be. A good workout program is composed of strength training, mobility, flexibility, and cardio.”
2. Safety takes priority. “Don’t go into a gym and try to lift more than you should,” she advises. Ask for guidance. Trainers are always willing to help out when not working with another client.
3. Form is key. “Brace the core, nice, and strong. Belly button to spine. Chest out. Good posture. Shoulders back.”
4. Knowledge is power. Understand how to use the equipment. Know the number of sets and repetitions to perform. “Understanding what strength training can do for you is super important.” Stanton recommends two to three days of strength training and two to three days of cardio each week.
5. You can’t outrun your fork. “When you reel in your diet, you start seeing results quicker.” Stanton suggests changing eating habits rather than giving up favorites. “Try desserts on weekends only. Or make a healthier dessert.” She says getting the right fruits, veggies, lean protein, healthy grains, and fats is important.
6. Need to lose weight? Any exercise is better than no exercise. Stanton recommends choosing something you like to do. “If you hate walking the treadmill, don’t walk the treadmill. Choosing something you love will help you stick with your routine.”
7. Mix it up! Try free weights, resistance bands, or take a class. “Mix things up so you don’t get bored.” Stanton especially likes the TRX suspension exercise system that can be used in a door jam, on playground equipment and even on trees. “All you have to do is change the vector of your body for a different workout. The big plus? TRX works your core.”
8. Nothing to wear? Not an excuse! Stanton says, “All you need are good shoes like cross-trainers or running shoes and clothing that you can move in. Yoga pants, shorts, tank top, sports bra.”
9. Can’t afford the gym or fancy home equipment? Look around your house and get creative. Make your own weights using cans of beans and corn and water bottles. Work out with a YouTube video. A good run in-place requires no equipment. Most important, Stanton says, “If you are working out on your own, make an appointment for yourself and don’t skip it!”
10. Advice for moms. Keep yourself healthy for your kids. “Take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Make yourself a priority, even if it’s just for 20 minutes.”
11. Nervous about your first time in a gym? The hardest part is that first step into the gym. “You got this!” It’s the Stanton mantra.
12. Find your motivation. There is nothing like being in a gym, helping each other reach goals, and making new friends. Stanton concludes, “Working out together is truly motivating.”
To view more of photographer Michael Cline Spencer’s work, go to michaelclinephoto.com.
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