January is a time for fresh beginnings and setting new goals. We all have different challenges we set ourselves at the start of each year and for many, those goals have to do with health and fitness.

We spoke with Jacob Richter, trainer at Vancouver’s Movement 108 studio about how he started his career in fitness, how he likes to work out, and advice he has for anyone who may have overindulged during the holiday season.

When did your interest in fitness first start? 
As a kid I played football, and took karate lessons, but I didn’t become passionate about fitness until my twenties when I discovered strength training, and teaching others to become stronger and fitter.  I had a friend, when I lived in New York who first introduced me consistent training, and I always admired his ability to coach me.  I met another friend in Toronto who helped me take my training to a more professional level, and I discovered a real joy in training others.  

What advice do you have for people getting back into the gym for 2016? 

Fitness is a long term journey. Start with smaller, manageable short term goals, and allow success with those goals to inspire further accomplishments. It has to be thought of as a new addition to your life.  Ask yourself your most honest reason for wanting to get back into the groove, and use it to stay consistent.  

What advice do you have for anyone who may have overindulged over the holiday period?  

It’s really not that big of a deal, so there’s no benefit to beating yourself up. Just get back to your favourite routines, and start chipping away!

What's the one thing you tell people who are trying to get in shape or get back on the wagon? 
Find healthy, honest reasons to act as your motivation:  do you want a longer life?  Do you want to be stronger?  Do you want to look differently?  Or want to be better at some sport or activity?  You can’t stay fit just because you think it’s what you’re supposed to do, or because you assume there’s some inherent happiness in being fit.  You need a reason that speaks honestly to your specific desires.  This might keep changing on your fitness journey!

What is one mistake you see people who are trying to get fit making over and over again? 

People often start a fitness regimen after reaching a breaking point within themselves, and then come out flying with an unsustainable, unguided course of action.  Slow, steady, specific and focused is the best course of action.

What is your daily fitness routine like for this time of year?
Currently, I’m training for my Strong First Kettlebell certification.  Some of the standards are quite challenging, and having a specific event to train for is certainly motivating.


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What is one thing you do to stay motivated and stay on the grind?

I remind myself that Future Jake will be really satisfied and feel accomplished if I stay the course.  A sense of accomplishment each day makes for a much more peaceful mind.  

How did you manage to keep fit and healthy over the holidays?

Fitness is such a part of my life that the holidays don’t end up differing too much from normal days.  A few days of eating foods you normally wouldn’t, and resting longer than usual is no big deal if it’s the exception to your daily life.

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What is your essential winter workout gear?
In Vancouver,  I need a quality hoodie, and some footwear that keep my feet dry!

What are your tips for working out in the winter?

Things don’t need to be that different.  Sure it’s hard to get motivated when it’s darker, colder and rainier,  but if fitness just becomes part of your life, then you’ll find the time.  There are so many options for indoor training, you just need to find something you really enjoy.

Any advice for people who are too intimidated to enter the weights room? 

Hire someone that you feel comfortable with (hopefully me!), or recruit a knowledgeable friend, and learn how to do a few things really well at a time.  It really is worth the investment. You don’t need to get caught up in fads, or complicated online training programs.  The fear comes from the unknown.  Learn to use things properly, allow that you’ll be an imperfect work in progress, and master a few things at a time.  Then, you can slowly add more things to your inventory.  So many people give up because they aren’t sure how to properly use equipment and therefore aren’t seeing results from their efforts. Regardless of experience level, everyone can always learn more about, or better program fundamental basics.

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