Nine Steps to Fitness
Fortitude Health + Training co-owner Lisa Maria-Booth was recently interviewed by NH Magazine for their September 2017 issue’s article How to Build a Better You. Lisa was showcased among five local health gurus who shared their tips on how to start on the path to self-improvement. Below is an excerpt:
Co-owner and CEO Lisa Maria-Booth opened Fortitude five years ago with longtime collaborator Danielle Perreault. The downtown Manchester gym caught on fast, and soon, along with David Booth, she opened FortCycle and the Green Bike smoothie bar (all located in one building in the Millyard). Of course, fitness and good health are the ultimate goals, but Maria-Booth and her staff work just as hard to create a sense of community. Here, everyone from marathon runners to hesitant beginners are welcomed and supported by both the staff and members. As Booth says, “All you have to do is show up, and we’ll take care of the rest.” While no one is actually going to lift the weights for you, you will find expert advice, coaching and plenty of positive encouragement. Perhaps most importantly, what you won’t find is judgment or intimidation.
We all know, whether we want to admit it or not, that there’s no such thing as a quick fix. True fitness is not achieved with a crash diet or a miracle piece of equipment. It’s about changing habits, making good choices every single day and, yes, regular exercise. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, then Maria-Booth has a few suggestions for things you can do right now to start down a path to better health.
- Set goals. Sometimes, says Maria-Booth, people come to her with only a desire to change … something. It’s her job, she says, to be “an inspirer, a motivator, a spark.” She helps people set smart, achievable goals. Without something specific — and attainable — to work toward, it’s much easier to give up. For instance, at first train to run a 5K rather than a marathon. Habits, she adds, can take a long time to form and a long time to break. Setting goals you can “wrap your arms around” helps push you out of a rut.
- Keep at it. Fitness doesn’t happen overnight, but “If you keep repeating and repeating positive new habits, pretty soon it’s going to become a part of who you are,” she says. “But it takes patience; it takes a little time and repeating, and repeating. And then it’s like a needle on a record — it’s not going to skip any more since you’ve created a new groove.”
- Find someone to hold you accountable. Tell your goals to someone you trust and that you can share with.
- Get outside. “You might imagine I want people to be in the gym all of the time, but I don’t,” she says. One of her personal favorite ways to stay healthy is by taking advantage of the state’s many natural resources. “We have everything at our fingertips — mountains, trails, lakes, the ocean,” she says. “Being outside, getting sunshine, whether I’m in the forest hiking or swimming in the lake or snowshoeing on a really white, shiny winter day, is a huge battery recharge for me.”
- Swap out just one bad thing. For instance, every day try trading a sugary, cream-laden Dunkin’ Donuts drink for a wholegrain English muffin with almond butter.
- Sleep. “I love to get at least seven hours of sleep at night to feel my best, to keep my body strong,” she says.
- Eat real food. “I stay the heck away from manufactured food products,” she says. She also avoids supplements and medications unless absolutely necessary. “I really, really believe that everything I need is in the super-healthy, colorful, look-the-same-going-in-the-body-as-it-did-coming-out-of-the-ground food.” Fresh fruit and veggies are simply better choices than boxes with long lists of ingredients.
- Be around like-minded people. She doesn’t suggest trading in your friends, but if you can, try to be around healthy, positive people. Inspiration is important. Group classes can be a great way to find motivation.
- Make the time. Sorry, busy people: She won’t accept the “I have no time” excuse. You do. As she points out, there are 168 hours in a week — you can set aside three for exercise. Make yourself a schedule and stick to it.