If you are looking to become healthier, fitness needs to be one of your main focuses. The American Heart Association currently recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity for adults and 60 minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity for kids.

Contestants with the United Way of Florence County’s Florence’s Biggest Loser program are provided with a weekly group training session with a certified personal trainer from the McLeod Health and Fitness Center who helps them learn how to incorporate regular exercise into their lives. Now that the contestants have pushed and sweated through six weeks of training sessions and other workouts, we asked them to share some of the best fitness information they have learned and what advice they would give to others looking to start working out.

Melinda Fuller >>> My tip for someone looking to start fitness is to just start somewhere! I think a lot of people tend to procrastinate and wait for the ‘right time’ to start working out like when they have more time to go to the gym. But you can find little ways to be more active in your day starting today! Park a little further away from the store and grab a loose grocery cart to push on the way in the next time you go shopping. Instead of hitting the fast forward button to skip commercials, use the opportunity to move, walk a lap or two around your house or do a few sit-ups, push-ups or jumping jacks. You don’t have to start going to the gym an hour or 2 five times a week to start getting into shape. You just have to start being more active everyday so, starting today, what can you do to add a couple of minutes of activity into your day? Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk a bit on your lunch break. Practice some yoga poses while you are cooking dinner or helping kids with homework. You might be surprised how easy it can be to add a few minutes of exercise here or there throughout your day. You just have to start somewhere. Turn that “someday” into today!”

Ryan Nance >>> “The best tips I could give to someone starting to work out is focus on your diet rather than your training. If your body does not have the nutrition that will benefit you, the performance in the gym or where you train will not be effective. If you put the right nutrition in your body, and manage your eating, you can drop weight with little to no working out involved. Everyone has different goals, mine personally is to drop the fatty weight, and then switch to building muscle. So my workout routine will be specific to dropping the fatty weight, which means a lot of cardio, and a lot of training to burn fat and to break heavy sweats. When you pair diet and working out together, the results are even better and not only are the results better, your overall daily feeling, and health will improve and you will see the little milestones that you reach.” 

Nikki Haffner >>> “I've learned that eating healthy and working out is the real secret in losing weight and getting healthy. While working out during Florence’s Biggest Loser, I have come across times that I have gotten stuck with losing weight, even when I ate healthy and worked out. I've now realized that I need to trick my body by doing different workouts so my body will not get use to the same routine.”

Scott Baldwin >>> “The workout tips for starting out that helped me was to find a partner. You have someone else to push you and who is also trying to get fit with you; which is a good way to get used to eating healthier and going to the gym.  Another thing that has worked for me is following the routines of high intensity workouts and quickly moving from one exercise to the next during my weekly workouts.”

Rome Spencer >>> "1. It starts with a made up mind. If you mind is in the game your body will follow. 2. Work out faithfully thirty minutes to an hour per day. If you're aggressive, then work out 1.5 to 2 hours per day. 3. It's okay to have one day of relaxation in-between. 4. Pray/meditate to clear your mind.