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Want to get fit in 2016? Fitness professional, mom shares tips

It's that time of year - after a month of indulging on treats and heavy meals, many are looking forward to a more healthful 2016.

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Carolina Camaro competes in event
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

It's that time of year - after a month of indulging on treats and heavy meals, many are looking forward to a more healthful 2016.

To get some tips, I checked in with Carolina Camaro, a tenured fitness professional, who lives in Chapel Hill with son Avi, 3, and husband Travis. She founded Inspire Fitness to change people's lives through fitness.

Here's our email conversation:

Go Ask Mom: Tell us about yourself. How did you get involved in fitness and nutrition? Was this something you were always interested in?
Carolina Camaro: I've always been interested in health and fitness. I first started really working out in college. I would lift weights and run like most people. It was definitely something I enjoyed. However, it wasn't until my first vinyasa yoga class that I realized how passionate I was about fitness. After about six months of taking yoga classes almost every day, I decided to pursue my yoga teacher training certification. I bartended nights and worked a 9 to 5 day job to pay for my certification. I studied anatomy on the weekends and pursued my certification course with a passion. I loved everything about human movement science and nutrition. After the six-month teacher training, I began teaching yoga classes in Washington, DC, and realized I wanted to learn more. I applied to George Washington University's master's program in exercise science and nutrition and enrolled in 2006.

For two years, I studied everything exercise and nutrition while teaching pursuing other fitness certifications. I became certified in personal training, yoga, cycling, Pilates, TRX and CrossFit. When I graduated, I applied for the fitness director position at the Chapel Hill YMCA and we found ourselves in Chapel Hill in 2009. After a couple years as fitness director, I realized that my passion was in providing people with the tools they needed to transform their lives. I started a small personal training business in about 2011 and saw a few personal clients. It stayed small and then I took two years off to be a full-time stay at home mom. As Avi grew up, I felt even more propelled towards my dream and with a new found purpose. As a busy mom, I understood the struggles of parenthood and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I also saw, however, the value of being a role model for your family.

GAM: What's Inspire Fitness all about? What do you offer?
CC: Inspire Fitness is a 360 degree approach to exercise and nutrition. Most places will offer fitness classes or nutrition services. I offer both. My services include nutrition coaching, nutrition programming, bootcamps, personal training and yoga classes.

My bootcamps and personal training programs are based on the principles of high intensity training, weight lifting, conditioning yoga and core stabilization. Since I have such a comprehensive fitness background, I am able to pull together a lot of fun and effective workouts that get you results, fast! In one hour, my clients get everything from mobility and core stabilization to cardio and strength training.

But the real progress is seen through my nutrition programs and coaching. My program is individually tailored to suit your needs and based on sensible nutrition and eating REAL foods. I don't endorse or recommend shakes or powders in order to live a healthy lifestyle and my programs cater to vegetarians and vegans. The focus is on macronutrient balance, caloric intake and nutrient timing.

When clients work with me on both fronts, nutrition and exercise, they see the best results. It's a two-pronged approach, and you do need to address both.

GAM: What are the most common reasons that your clients/customers give for getting out of shape? Is there a common theme?
CC: Life transitions are the most common theme in getting out of shape. Having kids, switching jobs, moving, having more kids, etc. These are the things that will send your routines into upheaval and the first thing that falls to the side is exercise. Once exercise is out of the picture two things happen:
  • 1. Your cortisol (stress hormone) levels rise because you don't have any stress management strategies in place.
  • 2. You eat more sugary foods due to elevated cortisol levels and stress. These changes and the fact that you're simply not burning as many calories per day and spending more time at rest results in weight gain.
GAM: Did your fitness routine change after you had a child? Do you fit your son into your own workouts, activities now?
CC: My routine definitely changed! At first, I did a lot of my workouts with my jogging stroller. I would go out for a run and pack a kettle bell and a couple dumbbells in the bottom of my stroller. I'd run a 400m sprint then stop and do 15 to 20 kettle bell swings, pushups, squats, etc and then continue for another 400m sprint and repeat. I'd workout until Avi woke up which was 30 to 45 minutes when he was a baby. As he got older, we started to have more fun. Now I let him do his own version of my workout in our garage gym. He has his small set of 3lb db and he copies me as I do Power Cleans, jump roping, squats, etc. We do fun stuff like bear crawls and crab walks which have been incredible for his coordination. He learns how to move his body and coordinate movements that he otherwise would not without watching me.
GAM: Share your pep talk to somebody who might be making a resolution to get in shape in 2016. Is it possible? Why is it so important?
CC: The biggest barrier to change is time. Getting in shape is a lifestyle change and something you HAVE to make time for. It will improve your quality of life tremendously. The biggest thing is to just start with baby steps. Workout for 10 to 20 minutes per day. At first, that will be more than enough. Then increase frequency or duration slowly. Once you've established a habit there, focus on eating healthier. I urge people to avoid processed sugars and white flour while trying to lose weight. That doesn't mean no carbs. You can eat all kinds of amazing carby/starchy foods that are more nutrient dense such as quinoa, sweet potatoes, etc. Making these small changes will add up over time. Be patient, stick with it. Consistency is your friend.
Inspire Fitness' Facebook page has more information.
Go Ask Mom features local moms every Monday.

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