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How to get fit

Jeanene Liscomb Ebert ’90 is a professional fitness trainer in San Diego. She has been World Instructors Training School certified since 2013, and is also a certified Buti Yoga and yoga trainer. We asked her about her favorite workout routines, nutrition tips, and how to get kids in on the fitness fun.

What are some key things I should look for when choosing a personal fitness trainer?

I think the first thing you should look for in a personal trainer is how well they motivate you. Do you connect with their positive energy? Do you like how fit they are? Is what they do, fitness-wise, of interest to you? Focus on what you want and need!

What’s the difference between a fitness trainer, a fitness instructor, and a fitness coach?

A fitness trainer helps educate you about your body and trains you toward your personal fitness goals. A fitness instructor works with you and a group of people, such as a Zumba instructor. A fitness coach guides you and a group of people not just in fitness, but in supporting you in life and weight loss with all its challenges and successes.

What should my warm-up routine look like?

I usually give a warm-up that best suits my client. If you like to jump rope, that’s an excellent warm-up. My favorite is doing a series of exercises from the plank position: Start with a mountain climb for one minute, where you bring your knees up toward the center line of your stomach; switch to a minute of bringing your knees up to your opposite elbows; and then do frog jumps for 30 seconds, jumping your legs in so your knees are just outside of your elbows.

There is also an excellent all-over-your-body way to get in shape: 15 burpees in a row! Begin in a standing position, move into a squat with your hands on the ground, kick your feet back into a plank, bring your legs forward into a squat again, then stand and repeat.

To avoid injuries and maximize my workout, what should my post-workout routine include?

Your post-workout routine should always include stretching! You should also consider regular massages, weekly or monthly, and be sure to get lots of sleep, at least eight hours for body recovery.

Do you have any nutrition tips that will support my workouts? For instance, what should I eat before and/or after my workout?

Before you work out, you should always eat something that will fuel you. Any nutrition tips should be personalized to you and your liking, as well as need.

Depending on how hard I’m going to work out, I tend to eat fruits, a banana with granola, sometimes peanut butter on toast, or if I’m lucky, avocado on toast (my oldest’s favortite!). My kids like the fruit bowls we make together, adding granola and yogurt with a dab of agave.

After workouts, you could drink a protein shake, if you are trying to help build muscle. Otherwise, keep it healthy and lean with a hearty, earthy salad with grilled chicken or fish—my favorite! More proteins keep you feeling strong. My philosophy is to eat in moderation and keep moving. If you want to look healthy, you have to eat healthy!

With summer in full swing, do you have any suggestions for including my kids in my workouts? What are some fun family exercises we can do together?

You can do tons of exercises in the plank position! Kids know how to plank, and it works out the entire body.

You can partner in plank: Face each other and high-five, alternating hands and counting how many you can do together. My kids do Spiderman crawls in jiujitsu, and they are a fun and challenging workout! Get into a plank position, bring your right knee up to your right elbow while extending your left arm forward and keeping your left leg straight, then alternate to crawl forward like Spiderman does on the walls of tall buildings.

Frog jumps are great, too, and good for the glutes … just be careful with the knees! Even just going to a jungle gym at a park and swinging around with your kids, having a beach adventure, or hiking around your neighborhood are fun ways to wake up the senses.

Do you have any resources (websites, books, magazines, etc.) to recommend for fitness tips?

  • “The Three-Minute Perfect Plank Workout,” a YouTube video by Bowflex. It’s super fun and easy, and I’ve even got my husband doing it!
  • Professional personal fitness trainers I look up to are Jillian Michaels of The Biggest Loser and Bizzie Gold, the mind behind Buti Yoga. Buti is a Marathi Indian term meaning “the cure to something hidden beneath.” It’s a yoga practice that uses tribal dance, yoga, and plyometrics.
  • Give yoga a try—you can use it anywhere at anytime!
  • Golden Ratio is a good go-to for protein products.
  • Trainer Finder is a site that helps you find personal trainers in your area who will work with what you need and want.
  • Whether you have a dance background or not, if you want more flexibility in your body or need to strengthen your core, try pilates.