Certified personal trainer offers tips for getting fit

  • 5k Freaks team member Demetria Dejesus keeps focused by listening to music during her workouts. (Photo by David B. Hardt)

This is part five of writer David B. Hardt's report on his and his team's, The 5k Freaks, involvement in the Pierce County Match-Up weight loss challenge.

When the sun is out in Washington, the key is to get out in it before it disappears, and the 5k Freaks have been doing just that. With the Pierce County Match-Up in week five, the team is working diligently on their workouts and eating healthier.

In the past weeks the team has dealt with some injuries that have prevented running and sent the members to the gym for recovery exercise. While on a 10-mile run that had some big hills, I found myself straining my calf. At first I was a tad beside myself, but after I thought it through I figured getting on the indoor bike would be a good thing, and it was. Over a period of two weeks I dropped roughly five pounds and in doing so I came off the bike stronger and ready to get back on the road. After spending time in the gym I realized the importance of it, so I wanted to get a personal trainer’s take on the importance of cross training. I sat down with Lakewood YMCA’s certified personal trainer Brie Eubanks.

Eubanks, a native of Washington raise in the Hood Canal area, is not your run-of-the-mill trainer. She competes in professional bodybuilding/figure competitions, and when she shakes your hand it is very apparent that she is one strong woman. Eubanks knows what it takes in the gym to succeed and to get fit for life. She has been training for 11 years and everything about her exudes health and fitness.

“Personal training is my passion; I just love to help people reach their goals through exercise and healthy lifestyles,” said Eubanks. “It is really important to do cross-training when you want to lose weight. High intensity interval training is good for that (which, for example, is running stairs 30 seconds really fast for a couple intervals). Doing that really makes you work, in effect getting your heart rate up.”

Eubanks knows that the 5k Freaks are all about running, but in her experience with working with runners, toning up with light weights high in repetitions can help build a stronger core. When it comes down to eating right and staying fit, Eubanks takes the sharp approach to healthy eating.

“Some of the things that can ruin your nutrition plans come from keeping things in the house that you shouldn’t be eating. Just discipline yourself not to buy them when you are shopping.”

Eubanks believes that discipline is a huge part of losing weight, but adds that there should be days where you treat yourself.

“Make sure you give yourself a cheat meal once a week. If it’s a burger or fries or a bowl of ice cream, this will make you have something to look forward to. Doing this, you may be less likely to cheat on your diet,” she said.

On any diet and exercise regimen there will be days when you just do not have the will or motivation to get the job done.

“I highly recommend having your supporting people behind you. Having those people that care about you and want you to be healthy pushing you on during the down days is really important for success,” said Eubanks.

Eubanks makes sure when working with her clients that they all understand that everything takes time, but in the bigger picture the lifestyle change cannot just be in gym – it needs to be in everyday living.

“This is a lifestyle. To get fit and stay fit, just remember portion control when you’re eating. Stay away from pre-packaged food. Try hard to find organic and natural foods. Also, remember timing is everything. Eating one time a day is not okay. Try to nibble on something as the day goes. When you’re working out a lot, you are burning a lot of calories. Overall, work hard and have patience and the weight will melt off if you work at it,” said Eubanks.


As for the 5k Freaks and their involvement in the Pierce County Match-Up weight loss challenge, everyone on the team is dealing with different issues ranging from motivation to being an emotional eater.

“I have lost a few pounds, but I have been struggling to stay on track. I am making sure that I stick to my exercise plan of running four times a week and cross training two times a week,” said Justeen Allen. “I am also keeping my calorie count around 1,500. I am totally motivated enough to get exercise; my problem is the lack of motivation to not overeat or to eat the wrong foods.”

“I have to admit I am doing terribly. I am an emotional eater and have been in a depression. I lost five pounds but gained it back,” said Cheryl Hasson. “I just haven’t been eating as healthy as I should. As for motivation, it does help when you have motivation and encouragement. I am well aware that I am the one accountable for what I put in my mouth. I should know better than to be eating what I have been, especially after a 100-plus pound weight loss a while back. Time to get back on track and look at my before pictures. I never want to be that person again.”

While others struggle with eating, some have come to the realization that with working out, not only do you lose weight but you gain it as well.

"It's a little bit slow for me because I am not seeing too much weight loss. I am seeing more muscle tone in my legs from all the good variety of runs we have been putting in with the 5K Freaks team,” Demetria Dejesus said. “I am trying to get in a step aerobics class at least twice a week in the mornings and once a week free weights in addition to the runs. Keeping motivated is hard since everyone has a different work schedule. Is it hard to keep motivated through the process? I try to stay motivated with my iPod in the gym and I have good music routines in my step class, but running with the 5K Freaks seems to be the motivator!”

In the past weeks I have found that I am becoming more focused on eating through day and drinking more water. I have cut down on Diet Coke, but still need to work on controlling my hunger when I am not running on my days off. Just like in any game, there will be a moment that everything comes together. We all have time to get back on track; I am going to make sure I do my best to help encourage my 5k Freaks along the way.

Previous parts to this report


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