The Salonpas® “Wellness Warriors” series connects with people on the forefront of health and wellness. In this installment, we speak to Dani Singer, a nationally certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Earlier in his career, Dani trained NCAA athletes, police officers, and models. Today, he specializes in helping busy working professionals incorporate health and fitness into their lives in an enjoyable and realistic way.
In addition to his role as Director of Fit2Go Personal Training, Dani has been featured in national publications including the Readers’s Digest, Muscle & Fitness and Shape magazine, and serves as an advisor to the Personal Trainer Development Center — the world’s largest independent organization for educating fitness professionals and improving the state of the industry.
What made you become a fitness trainer? “Nutrition and exercise opened me up to the growth mindset — the idea that we’re not completely confined by our genetics, but rather our futures are defined by our choices,” says Dani Singer. “So fitness had become a strong passion in my life. Still, my original plan was to go into software development. I started personal training during my freshman year in college, but I had no plans to build it into a career.
John, my first client, changed everything for me. John was a high school principal who wanted to become a chaplain in the Navy. Being the Navy, they required John to lose 50 pounds before he could even apply. John’s only motivation for nutrition and exercise was to land that job — at least, that was the case when he started.
By the time John and I finished working together, he had lost 70 pounds, gotten off his blood pressure meds, lowered his cholesterol, cured his sleep apnea, and achieved a slew of other health benefits. John didn’t even take that job with the Navy, but to this day he sticks with his fitness routine. That’s what fitness is all about to me: “enhancing quality of life.” What are the top 5 mistakes that people make when they are trying to become fit through exercise? Singer’s top 5 mistakes people make regarding working-out are:
- They exercise to lose weight. The little-known truth is that exercise alone is a terrible method of weight loss. Exercise has a myriad of health benefits, but weight loss isn’t one of them. It can help when paired with a sound nutrition plan, but exercise rarely leads to significant weight loss on its own.
- They don’t strength train, so they lose lean tissue instead of fat.
- They shy away from heavier weights, fearing they will make them ‘bulk up.’
- They don’t plan realistically, so the routine doesn’t stick.
- They view exercise as a chore, rather than an amazing means of enhancing their quality of life.
What are the top 5 mistakes that people make with their nutrition when they’re trying to lose body weight? Singer says:
- They don’t understand the first law of thermodynamics. If you want to lose weight, there is only one way to do it: consume fewer calories than you burn.
- They think that ‘eating healthy’ is the same thing as ‘eating for weight loss’ — again, not understanding calories.
- They add the calories burned through exercise as an extra ‘allowance’ for that day.
- They rely on willpower instead of smart planning. For example, they’ll try to muster up motivation to cook every night, instead of spending 60 minutes on Sunday meal prepping for the week.
- They follow gurus instead of science.
Is it harder for 50+ people to get into great physical shape? “The reason it’s hard for 50+ people to get into shape is that they don’t know where to start,” says Singer. “Everywhere they look, some guru will be telling them to do something different. This can be pretty overwhelming, especially if the person has little or no experience with exercise.”
“It’s important to reverse engineer your fitness plan, regardless of who you are,” says Singer. “In other words, define what ‘being fit’ means to you before you start developing a plan. A 50+ year old’s goals will likely be different than those of a millennial.
For most seniors, fitness is all about enhancing quality of life. With that in mind, you want to look for exercises that have the best carry over to movements they’ll need to perform day-to-day. That’s why the squat is so important. As morbid as it sounds, every day we don’t squat, we get a little bit closer to losing the capability. Once a person is unable to squat on his/her own, he usually needs to move to an old age home, because he is no longer to get up out of a chair without help.”
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