By Helen Grebe

The new year’s hottest trend is lean and green. No, we don’t mean the economy, although that certainly has given us inspiration to trim everything in our lives.

Enter the New York Times touted personal trainer Dan McGrath, a nine-year veteran of the fitness industry and owner of Body Solutions Personal Training and Fitness studio in Buckhead, and renowned Urban Body Fitness & Urban Body Studios Midtown owner Rad Slough to talk New Year’s resolutions.

Here, the trainers talk about why folks should get in better shape, how to pick the right personal trainer, learning to eat more green, and ensuring 2011 is healthier and happier.

What are the top resolutions you see each year?

Dan: Weight loss is the big one. Everyone wants to lose a little weight, which is natural since we accumulate weight as we age. It can be as little as five pounds to an overall goal to be healthier and lose substantial weight. And then there is a distinct group that comes in with a goal such as running a marathon or fixing an enduring back problem.

Rad: While weight loss is by far the number one resolution we see, folks resolve to be healthier in general, whether it is doctor-mandated or a personal goal, they vow to have a healthier lifestyle.

Regarding resolutions, where do people go wrong?

Rad: People lose their dedication when life gets in the way. You have to set realistic expectations. If you set your expectations too high you’re going to be disappointed or discouraged. For instance, if you’re just starting to workout don’t vow to be in the gym five days a week. Start with two and work your way up. Take it slow when you start out. And remember, you’re going to be sore.

Dan: It’s easy to set a resolution and throw it out there, but you have to set up a plan.  A plan is what makes a resolution a goal you can stick by. Write your plan down, make it real. By planning steps in between like adding cardio in, changing diet, taking fitness classes or utilizing weight training, you can chart a path to help you actually realize your goal. Be accountable: Have a workout buddy, trainer or partner that will hold you to your goals. That way a bad day doesn’t turn into a bad week and eventually a failed resolution.

So weight loss is the big benefit to adding more exercise to your life, but what are other benefits?

Dan: You named the big one, but most people overlook the fact that the healthier you are the more able you are to enjoy life. Quality of life is huge; if we enjoy life, everything runs smoother. Plus healthier individuals use less medication and we’re choosing patterns and examples our children will follow. When kids see you exercise, they realize it is a way of life. Your lifestyle affects the whole family.

Rad: Confidence is a key benefit. When you like the way you look and the way your clothes fit that’s a win.I tell individuals don’t let the scale be your gauge, let the way you look in the mirror and the way your clothes fit show you how good being fit feels.

What’s hot in fitness trends this year?

Rad: TRX (suspension training) is huge for 2011. Military personnel are using TRX in Iraq because there are no gyms readily available. You can strap on the system anywhere and get a workout. Urban Body is adding TRX to our workout this year.

Dan: Classes are big for 2011. You’re going to see more small classes because small fitness classes focus on the individual versus what’s good for 50 people. This is a win for those people who choose to exercise because it means quicker results and less chance of injury. Another trend you’ll see is functional training, which just means exercises that are more like everyday life. You could call it a back to basics approach, however tailored to the individual.

You mention weight training – how should someone go about choosing a personal trainer?

Dan: The place most people go wrong is not asking enough questions.  Before you commit to any trainer, have a list of questions already written down. When people walk into Body Solutions I welcome questions, I want them to ask me about my philosophy, how long I’ve trained people and what types of people I train. A trainer should be able to demonstrate that they are trained and capable. It’s only when your goals align with a trainer’s skill-set that you’ll be able to achieve results.  Be sure to ask for a free session to try the individual out and get references you can call so you’re talking to real people who have been or are clients.

Rad: Start with personality. If you don’t enjoy your trainer’s personality, you won’t enjoy working out with them. Don’t pick a trainer based on their body and wanting yours to look the same. Each person’s physique is different. Trainers come in a range of budgets so be sure to ask their price and suit your budget to their price range which is anywhere from $65 to $85 an hour.  It is an investment but it is an investment in your health.

On the subject of lean, it’s a tough economy. What are your suggestions for getting fit while watching the wallet?

Rad: You don’t have to work out in a gym. Only 13 percent of the population owns a gym membership. You can get fit by walking in a park or on the street or pick up an athletic hobby like tennis.

Dan: Classes are a great way to defer cost but get the benefits of personal training and cardio and in the Atlanta market classes cost as little as $15 per class. Having a room full of folks to cheer each other on means you will finish the workout versus going it alone on the treadmill. There are great free groups out there such as running groups. Body Solutions offers group classes and also has a cardio club that meets once a week which is a good way to exercise while meeting like-minded individuals.

What about going green? How can we be responsible and add that into our workout?

Dan: Cut down on plastic by using recyclable water bottles or reusable drink holders. At Body Solutions, we utilize all natural cleaning supplies for the studio. Nature is a great exercise partner so getting outdoors and running is good for you and the environment. And, like weight loss, it’s the little things that add up over time …turn out lights and manage your thermostat. Finally, you can always eat more responsibly. Green is the best color that can go into your body food wise. Eat those fruits and veggies!

Rad: Urban Body uses washcloths and towels versus paper towels to reduce waste. We also use stainless steel water bottles and recycle. These are simple steps you can utilize in your fitness routine too.

All of this sounds great, but what’s your advice for time-starved individuals like me, a mom of two young children?

Rad: Remember, if you’re not healthy, you can’t help anyone else. You have to take care of yourself. It can be as little as 30 minutes a day, but add in exercise. If you’re a TV person get a bike and watch that show or movie while you spin or pedal.

Dan: Time is something we’re all grappling with today. A new year is a new chance to make the time for those things that are most important for you and your family. I keep talking about classes because they’re great. In an hour you can burn 700 to 900 calories and feel energized. Another thing to think about is mixing stuff up.  When you mix things up – whether in your life or your fitness routine – it becomes exciting and you’re more apt to fit it in.

Visit www.urbanbodyfitness.com or www.bodysolutionsatlanta.com for more information.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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