According to statistics, exercising more and eating more healthily are tied as the number one New Year’s resolution, with 37 percent of people making those goals.
As January begins, people are purchasing new exercise clothing, buying treadmills and stationary bikes, and signing up for a gym membership. However, for most of those people, by February, that resolution to exercise more falls by the wayside and treadmills become catchalls for laundry and gym memberships go unused.
“Exercise is hard,” said Willie Bradberry, a Winona-based personal trainer. “Motivation is key.”
Bradberry, who received his bachelor’s degree from Delta State in exercise science with a specialist in fitness and dialectics, said these days so many people get caught up in what others are doing on social media or in health magazines and commit to a time-consuming, strenuous exercise protocol is not easy to maintain long term for the average person.
“Most people are just trying to do something for health and wellness,” Bradberry said. “You aren’t training for a marathon to get overall health and wellness.”
Bradberry urged beginners to “take baby steps.”
“I see people backing down their driveways [in their cars] to get the mail,” Bradberry said. “Walk to the mailbox. Try not to get the front park [ing space] at Dollar General or Fred’s. Park as far away from the door as possible. Use the stairs when there are stairs. Take a breather from work and go outside for a few minutes and walk around. These are all baby steps. Then build up.”
Bradberry said he recommends 10 minutes a day of increased exercise for a beginner.
“There are 24 hours in a day, you can do 10 minutes,” Bradberry said. “Do whatever you have to do to get moving. Aerobics does not always mean boot camp or step classes, it can be sweeping the floors and cleaning house.”
Bradberry warned that everyone who begins a new exercise regime should start with a physical assessment by a physician or professional trainer. Each person needs to establish a heartrate baseline to exercise safely and effectively. He said it is not safe for someone to jump into a difficult workout routine without knowing certain baselines.
“Exercise can be dangerous,” Bradberry said. “We are talking about increasing your heart rate. The rule is 220 minus your age, and that is your maximum heart rate, and you never want to be at that. A target heartrate is 65 to 70 percent of that maximum heart rate to start out, and 80 percent max.”
Bradberry has experience working with those who have limitations starting out – pregnant ladies, extremely overweight people, and athletes recovering from injury -- those recovering from a medical condition. He said because he works with so many different types of clients, he tries to do different types of exercises that do not normally revolve around traditional gym equipment.
“We always start with the fundamentals,” Bradberry said, to prevent injury.
As for those kicking off the new year with big goals, Bradberry urged them not be too lofty when setting goals.
“The Great Wall of China was not built in a day,” he said. “You didn’t gain weight in one day.”
Bradberry said with society’s norm of packing a day full of obligations, fitness and health are the first casualties. However, a few simple tips can help boost the metabolism and lose unwanted pounds.
“Water intake is one of the most important things,” Bradberry said. “You need a minimum of six [eight ounce] glasses of water a day. If you just cut out soda –regular and diet – you can lose two to three pounds of week.”
He said fast food is often the downfall of a busy life, and that families need to take the time to prepare balanced meals at home.
He recommended using the “My Plate” plan, a balanced diet plan formulated by the USDA, which includes a diet of lean meats, fruits and vegetables, dairy, healthy fats, and smart carbohydrates.
“Instead of eating to get full, eat to stay full,” Bradberry said. “Eat every two to three hours – breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with snacks between breakfast and lunch and lunch and dinner.”
He recommended yogurt or fruit as a snack, nothing sugary.
“The fitness journey is 90 percent nutrition and 10 percent exercise,” he said.
A native of Greenville, Bradberry started his own fitness journey as a student at Delta State. He took a position at North Sunflower Medical Center to manage its Beacon Wellness Center. He moved on to the corporate setting, working at Snap Fitness in Indianola. He came to Winona when he became wellness director at Reconnect Therapy. Currently, he is a personal trainer at Grip-N-Rip Sports in Winona.