Project GetFit – Q&A with Personal Trainer, Natalie Marie

1 Nov

At the beginning of October, I invited you to submit questions to be answered by Team RITA members – and boy, did you have some great questions!   As many of you know, I’ve recently started another “project” for my blog – “Project GetFit.”  This project will illustrate what happens when you do one thing for 35 days in a row.  In this case, what results from working out 35 days in a row.

I’m fortunate to have a great gym (Fitness First) and a fabulous trainer, Natalie Marie, guiding and coaching me through this project!  Since announcing Project GetFit, you have e-mailed me more questions – focused on fitness, personal training and health.  These are fabulous questions and I feel that the answers could be beneficial for everyone, so I’ve asked Natalie to provide the answers.  After all, she is the certified expert in these areas!



Natalie Marie, Personal Trainer at Fitness First

Natalie Marie
Personal Trainer

Natalie is a NASM Certified Trainer for
Fitness First Clubs.  By day, she is a
government contractor.  At all other times,
she thrives on training her clients!




Before I pass the blog to Natalie, I wanted to take a minute to update you on Project GetFit, as I’m on day 35.




Update #1 –  Apparently 35-5 = 34!

That’s right.  I’m 5 days into the project, only today was truly day 1!  The first 4 days were spent finding my “benchmarks.”  That is, getting back on the treadmill and seeing how far I could run.  Going through a series of grueling tests with Natalie to see how many push-ups, sit-ups, squats and lunges I could do.  Seeing how much weight I could lift.  How long I could hold certain positions.  All to find where I am right at this moment so that we have something to measure my progress against.  It FELT like working out.  I remember sweating.  Maybe even cursing.  But no, those days were just “for fun.”  Tonight, was the first “real workout.”  So, therefore, the 35th day of Project GetFit will be Sunday, December 4th!

Update #2 –  I’ll take that Diet-to-Go, Please

I realize that getting fit is more than just “working out.”  It’s an overall state of being, related to physical fitness, nutrition and mental fitness.  Those will all be addressed throughout this project.  One question I am getting asked frequently though is regarding my “diet.”

I’m doing “Diet to Go.”  Diet to Go offers perfectly portioned, nutritionally balanced, complete meals in a variety of plans.  (No, they are not a sponsor, nor am I getting my Diet to Go for free.)  I have selected the 1,200 calorie plan; 3 meals a day; 5 days a week.  I pick up my meals fresh every Tuesday and Friday.  Low in sodium, no preservatives and delightfully tasty (and even more surprisingly – affordable)!  I chose this plan because I wanted fresh food – but I needed it in a way that was easy for me to “heat and go.”  Diet to Go is just that.  So, M-F, I’ve got my 3 meals prepared and figured out for me – no effort on my part.  The weekends, I am sure that will prove to be slightly more difficult to navigate.  Hopefully together we can uncover some of the best, healthy, dishes to enjoy when we are out and about in and around the city!

Update #3 – The Real Day 1

For my updates, I’ll share the types of exercise that I did for the day and any other information I feel may be interesting to you readers.  I’ll provide updates on my stats (i.e., weight loss/gain, sizes lost, etc.) on a weekly basis.  Project GetFit won’t be the main focus of the blog – it’s a project that will simultaneously be occurring while other projects are as well.

I’m also hoping that you will all comment – ask questions – provide tips – support – advice.  To me and to each other!  Share where you work out.  What you do for activity!  I won’t be working out in the gym 7 days a week.  I definitely won’t be doing weight training 7 days a week!  I’d love to learn (as I’m sure others would to) about interesting activities and ways to stay fit and have fun!

TONIGHT’S WORKOUT  (Exercise, Weight, Reps, Sets):

1.  High-heeled squats, standing on 10 lb. weights.  20 reps; 3 sets

2.  One legged step-ups.  No weight.  15 on each leg.  3 sets.

3.  Band side-to-side steps.  Utilizing green resistance band.  3 laps.  3 sets.

4.  Gallop side-to-side steps.  No weight.  3 laps.  3 sets.

5.  Mountain climbers.  No weight.  40 per leg.

Mood coming in:  cranky.   Mood leaving:  energized!

Now, on to YOUR questions – answered by Natalie herself!

Question 1:  How do you pick a personal trainer?

Answer:  There are many important factors in choosing a trainer.  The very first thing you should do is check their credentials-ask what their certifications are! You wouldn’t go to a doctor if you didn’t know for a fact that he or she had a medical degree, and the same should go for a trainer. Common certifications are ACE, NASM, NSPA, and there are many more.  The next step I recommend is speak with the personal training director at your gym about your specific fitness goals and what you are comfortable doing in a gym. Most personal training directors (including my wonderful one!) are very familiar with all their trainers’ uniques styles and strengths, and the director can make the recommendation about the best fit for you.  Finally, snag a free workout from different trainers.  Believe me when I say we are more than happy to hook interested people up with a free session so you can sample the different types of training out there. Finally, be honest with what you really are interested in doing in a gym.  If you’re training with an MMA fighter but would never do the hard-core workouts on your own, you probably want to work with a trainer who will offer you something more low-key.

Question 2: I’m a girl and don’t want to build up manly muscles.  Should I just stick to cardio?

Answer:  First: if you’re a woman you won’t build manly muscles because guess what? You’re not a man! But I will say I can empathize with your concerns because as a former gymnast I am very conscious of getting “bulky”.  However just doing cardio is not going to cut it in the fitness department.  Moderate weight training three times a week will actually help you slim down because it will increase muscle, which metabolizes much faster than fat.  A combination of cardio and weights is the best recipe for a slim and toned body.  Remember: your body is a whole working machine; if you’re going to take care of the muscles of your cardio system, you’ve got to keep up with the upper body, core, and lower body. Like many things, a holistic approach to fitness is the most rewarding results-wise.

Question 3:  I can’t afford a gym.  I hate running.  What are smaller steps that I can take to work my way up to a healthy routine?  If I overwhelm myself, I know that I will give up.  How can I start small but still have it be effective?

Answer:  You’re in luck because the possibilities are endless! In your case small changes are definitely key.  The first thing is to take a hard look at your diet: if the gym isn’t in your budget and running is out of the question, you have to examine how many calories you are putting into your body.  A really great way to start educating yourself on what exactly to put into your body can be found by visiting the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website  Take some time to explore this site and see how you can tweak your diet in order to eat healthier for weight loss. To keep yourself on a specific plan, you can create a profile on the USDA’s dietary guidance site:  Diet alone can absolutely help you shed a lot of weight (in the event you need to) and of course maximizing your nutrient intake is vital to numerous aspects of your health and well-being. The great thing about these resources is they are up-to-date on dietary research and they are FREE!

Ok, now for the exercise part: make it harder on yourself. Heading to the grocery store? Park as far away as possible each and every time you get out of your car. Check out free exercise websites such as to pick up some core exercises that you can do in front of the T.V. Do you work at a desk? Stand up to workout or sit on an exercise ball; you can find exercise balls for as little as $10 at places like T.J. Maxx. Don’t even think about taking the escalator or elevator if stairs are available (if you don’t know where they are….FIND THEM). Since you want to start small just consider every extra fidget, step, or extra foot you have to walk will count. Start there and stick to it!

Question 4:  What do you suggest that Rita do for her exercises?  How long do you think it will, realistically, take her to reach the goal she’s set.  We all want her to! 

Answer:  Rita’s ability to reach her goals depends entirely upon her perseverance. I am a huge fan of Rita and I know for a fact she is going to get to where she wants to be if she toughs it out. Rita has already taken the crucial first steps to her “outer” transformation by meeting up with me and continuing communication through her 35 dates project even though there was little time for us to actually meet and work out.

I wouldn’t be able to offer a definite time but I can say that I truly believe if she is strict on her diet and stays consistent in her workouts with me, she will be at her goal in 6-12 months.  A key thing to remember is that 6-12 months for a lifetime of fitness is an incredible trade-off.  I am definitely going to push her and challenge her in ways she has already accomplished with her inner transformation!


I’m looking for a non-gym, non-running activity tomorrow.  If anyone knows of anything fun, please share it!  Let’s all GetFit!


One Response to “Project GetFit – Q&A with Personal Trainer, Natalie Marie”

  1. Danielle November 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    What is your goal, Rita?

    Also, suggestion for today, yoga? There are many sorts but I would recommend bikram!

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