Ask A Local Trainer: The Top Ways To Get Fit In Philadelphia

January 12, 2013 7:00 AM

Holiday parties, huge meals, sweet treats, overindulging in food and alcohol, more stress and less physical activity all contribute to straying from a personal health and fitness plan. Creating a plan involves a number of techniques: You need to set realistic goals, keep a fitness journal or blog, exercise at home or join a gym, eat the right foods, get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, establish a routine and stick with it, pay attention to how your body reacts to the exercise program, and make it fun rather than a chore or obligation. Nicole Cunningham, a personal trainer with Philly Personal Training, shared these five fitness training tips and answered other questions about what to consider before committing to a fitness regimen.
Philly Personal Trainer
787 N. Pennock St.
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(702) 322-2689

Cunningham is an in-home personal trainer and holds a BA in sociology from University of Wisconsin at Madison. She asked that athletes first consider the health risks of an exercise program.

“Make it fun,” she said. “Other factors are past injuries and time commitment. Past injuries can hinder some activities a person can do, and as far as the commitment, they need to be prepared to know how much time they must set aside for exercise or certain times they must set aside to dedicate to exercise.”

Cunningham also graduated from the National Personal Training Institute and holds a nutrition consultant certification.

“I think the trainer’s qualification is very important for both the safety of the client and the ability to accomplish their fitness goals,” she explained. “But I feel that more important than their qualifications is trust and commitment to the client’s personal goals. The facility is not important at all. You can get an amazing workout and become very fit in the comfort of your home with no or little equipment. Any fitness level can get an amazing workout in the space in their home.”

Philadelphia Sport and Social Club
3800 Manayunk Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19128
(215) 483-9340

Tip 1: Find an activity you like to do, like play soccer or hang out with friends. Then sign up for a soccer league or spin class with some friends. The largest area sponsor of recreational sports leagues, the Philadelphia Sport and Social Club, provides social events and local social-networking connections. Boasting more than 15,000 participants yearly, the organization has established a reputation as the top place for active sport enthusiasts to meet and connect. It exists to sponsor quality sports leagues, tournaments and social gatherings. Whether it is soccer, football, dodgeball, handball, volleyball or softball, individuals may sign up with the club, which will then place them with a team. All levels of abilities are welcome, and classes are also available.

Related: Top Indoor Tracks For Running And Cycling

Farm to City
1315 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 733-9599

Tip 2: Calories matter. Be aware of what you are eating. Farm to City, as its name suggests, connects area farmers with Philadelphia consumers by providing information on buying clubs, farmers’ markets and community supported agriculture programs. Consumers may join a CSA or a buying club and pay a fixed amount for one or more shares prior to the beginning of each growing season. Each share entitles members to a box of produce from participating farms. In 2012, Farm to City operated 16 farmers’ markets in the city.

HIT Fitness Training
111 Buck Road
Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006
(267) 784-3626

Tip 3: Strength training is key. For the females out there, it will not blow you up to be Arnold Schwarzenegger. Dan Bowen, founder and CEO of HIT Fitness Training and a Philadelphia native, holds certification as a personal trainer and nutritional consultant from the National Personal Training Institute. Bowen also boasts an associate’s degree in exercise science from Montgomery County Community College. A certified NPTI instructor, he holds current CPR, AED and First Aid certifications. He offers in-home personal training throughout the metropolitan area and operates a private fitness studio in Huntingdon Valley. Every Saturday at 10 a.m., a full-body fitness boot camp is offered for $10 per session at the studio. The exercises are designed with a focus on firming the thighs and butt, flattening the stomach and reducing body fat. All fitness levels are welcome.

Related: Top CrossFit Studios in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Chiropractic & Natural Alternatives
1520 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19012
(215) 564-4700

Tip 4. Depending on your current physical condition, find a safe way to start exercising to avoid unnecessary injuries. Injuries related to exercise or athletics require quick diagnosis and treatment. Fractures and ligament tears need immediate treatment by medical specialists. For other aches and pains, chiropractic and natural alternative treatments may be appropriate. Michael E. Petroski, D.C., a licensed chiropractor, offers massage therapy, chiropractic alignments, exercise and nutritional advice.

Eric B. Spiegel, Ph.D.
14 S. Bryn Mawr Ave.
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
(215) 222-4825

Tip 5. Don’t stress, and don’t get overwhelmed. Take baby steps to reach fitness goals. Psychologist Eric B. Spiegel integrates several theoretical perspectives in a holistic approach that combines counseling, self psychology, interpersonal process theory and clinical hypnosis. In addition to psychological services, Spiegel offers wellness services. Stress coaching sessions involve the assessment of each individual’s situational stressors to determine the client’s coping strategies and help develop healthy adaptive responses. Breathing training, progressive muscle relaxation techniques and guided imagery are also used to help clients manage stress.

Jeffrey B. Roth, has won numerous state and national news and feature-writing awards during his career. A well-known crime writer, investigative reporter and a feature writer, Roth writes for a number of magazines and newspapers. Listed in the Locus Index of SciFi and Fantasy authors, Roth is the author of a number of published short stories and poetry. His work can be found on

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