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Gina Cousineau and Samantha Blankenburg

By Gina Cousineau and Samantha Blankenburg

It’s that time of year again, when lots of people are not only reinventing themselves but taking on lofty fitness and weight-loss goals, believing it’s their only option to finding true health and happiness. 

It’s all with the best of intentions to conquer their inconsistent, unplanned fitness and nutrition strategies, of course. People share all kinds of New Year’s resolutions to find health, self-love and prosperity by setting goals such as losing 25 pounds, no longer eating meat or becoming a vegan, going to the gym every single day, or eating only between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., to name a few.

This approach is what we like to call “No Pain, No Gain” and is marketed, supported and applauded by the masses in the multibillion-dollar fitness and nutrition industries. Its quick, yet temporary, effects are usually what draw clients in and reinforce the idea that it’s the only way to get results.

What if I told you it didn’t have to be that way, and that, honestly, it shouldn’t?

What I have learned over the past decade in fitness is that more is not better, and pain does not equal a gain—unless your gain is an injury or a temporary outcome with an unsustainable approach.

I fell victim to the New Year’s resolution time and time again. I wanted to be thinner or fitter or do something grander than the year before, which still stands true in 2020, to some extent. But what I ask myself now is, “How will I get there, and what am I willing to sacrifice?”

For starters, I accept my body as it is, look to be stronger (not thinner) and live with no chronic pain. I also maintain a healthy relationship with nutritious and delicious food for myself, my kids, family, friends and clients. If I live honestly by these values through fitness and nutrition, there is no place for the “No Pain, No Gain” lifestyle.

Now don’t get me wrong; if you have not been exercising regularly, adding fitness back into your life is going to come with some discomfort. Most of you are thinking, “Yeah, my body is going to be wrecked.” This is not what I am thinking.

The discomfort I’m referring to is learning from what you have done in the past. With this new thought process, you should choose to include and how to create a “lifestyle” that will provide you with the outcomes that you are looking for, though this time for the long haul.

It was with that mentality that I created the concept of “Fitness Macros” a few years ago—a pie-chart distribution including three categories of fitness: a cardiovascular component, strength training, and mobility/core training. The pie-chart percentages are completely dependent on what your current fitness goals are, but all three macros need to be present and accounted for, no matter what the goal.

All major health care groups advocate for 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week (150 minutes total). Keep this in mind while taking on the New Year and the new you:

  • Create a fitness goal. Keep in mind where your current fitness abilities lie and start with something that you could complete in three months’ time.
  • Create a specific schedule that includes all three “Fitness Macros” (cardiovascular exercise, strength training, mobility/core).
  • Take your progress pictures.
  • Ask for help. Work with fitness professionals who understand your current fitness level and limitations, your boundaries to create a sustainable approach and allow them to help create a program for improved health through 2020 and beyond.

Samantha Blankenburg owns and operates Everyday Athlete in San Clemente. She also co-owns and operates an online lifestyle company with Gina Cousineau, aimed to offer in-person and virtual nutrition, fitness and lifestyle consulting.  You can reach out to Samantha B at

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