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Gina Cousineau

By Gina Cousineau

Today, we focus on “exercise,” but I will first encourage you to reread Parts 1 and 2, as they are part of the trifecta of information that I believe is paramount to your success in improving your health across the board.

I’ve seen firsthand how clients believed that they could outtrain their bad diet. If you have utilized devices that track your calories for exercise completed, you quickly realize that this is far from the possibility of reality.

One coffee made into a milkshake, consisting of 400-1,000 calories or more, consumed in a few minutes or over your morning, would take one to four hours to “burn off.” Not sure about you, but prospective clients regularly tell me that they don’t have time to exercise, let alone to consider cooking/eating a wholesome diet, so I am not sure where you will find this time.

That being said, I have to go back to the experts and share their recommendations. Every major health authority, including the World Health Organization, the American Cancer Society, and the American Heart Association, which is where I pulled this information, makes the following recommendations:

1. Fit in 150+: Getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, spread out through your week, will help to improve your cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness, as well as burn calories. This translates to a walking program for most, including 30-minute walks, five days a week, split up any way you want. The old “use it or lose it” adage applies here. Just move.

2. Move More, Sit Less: Get up and move throughout your day. If you need to, set an alarm(s), as a reminder. Any activity is better than none, and while I know starting is hard, I have never met an individual who, once they chose to move, didn’t feel better. Being sedentary poses severe health risks, which we can counter by walking.

3. Add Intensity: As you move more, your fitness level will improve. As you increase your pace, your heart will beat faster and you will breather harder. There are benefits to moving between moderate and vigorous activity levels. I do suggest once a month to walk a timed distance and prove how your fitness is improving with this dedication to your health.

4. Add Muscle: As you get into your walking routine and find more time, consider adding a moderate- to high-intensity muscle strengthening program (like resistance or weight training) at least twice a week. Between virtual technology, and other forums provided in the midst of the pandemic, body weight exercises or using inexpensive bands at home can hit the mark.

5. Feel Better: Your physical activity is linked to better sleep, memory, balance, and cognitive ability—all huge reasons to start partaking in this routine. Individuals who exercise are able to control their weight better, and have less chronic disease, dementia and depression.

In closing, eating more real, wholesome food and adding a walking program to your life are two of the most important things you can do for your health and well-being. The question is, are you worth it?

Gina Cousineau sees clients virtually and in person out of her San Clemente office. Her extensive education—a BS in dietetics and MS in integrative and functional nutrition—chef training, and 30-plus years as a fitness professional allow her to help clients lose weight and improve their health. You can reach her at, 949.842.9975, and on Instagram and Facebook @mamagslifestyle. Register for her complimentary weekly newsletter at

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