Kansas City-area fitness trainer offers 3 tips to help beginners train like an Olympian

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Kansas City, Missouri, is nowhere near the Olympic podium when it comes to ranking high in the latest fitness index from the American College of Sports Medicine. In fact, Kansas City ranked 76 out of 100 cities in June’s list.

“Getting started now is better than tomorrow,” Thomas Nay, an assistant personal training manager at Life Time in Lenexa, Kansas, said.

Nay says whether you’re feeling inspired after watching athletes compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, or simply want to create a healthier lifestyle, there are three simple tips to follow.

First, Nay suggests starting slow. Find a physical activity you enjoy like pickle ball, walking, swimming, or simply stretching and doing it on a regular basis.

“A lot of those hip and glute muscles, they just become fatigued and kind of turn off,” Nay explained the downside of sitting at a desk all day while demonstrating a stretch. “Getting those glutes to fire up and be used more can take a lot of pressure off the low back.”

Second, create a routine. That will look different for everyone. Some people will want to work out at the same time every day, some people will want to eat meals at the same time every day. Nay suggests making a daily and a weekly routine.

“Routine is huge,” Nay said. “The saying we like to say is ‘consistency creates change.’”

He said grocery shopping should be part of your routine. More specifically shopping for fruits, vegetables, meats, and other items with few preservatives and big nutritional impact. He suggested staying away from sugars.

And consider including other people in your routine. A group fitness class might help keep you motivated. A support system will hold you accountable.

Lastly, understand change takes time. Be realistic. The Olympians in Tokyo didn’t get 6-pack abs overnight and neither will you.

“The journey is fun, the process is the fun part,” Nay said enthusiastically. “Once you get there, we’re always setting new goals to reach.”

Nay hopes Kansas Citians set a goal of improving their fitness index in the next ranking.

The American College of Sports Medicine said Kansas City ranked below average for the number of people who exercise the recommended daily amount, who eat the recommended daily amount of vegetables, who walk or bike to work, among other factors. Arlington, Virginia, ranked first. Oklahoma City ranked last.

Life Time is launching a 60-day fitness, nutrition and lifestyle course Saturday, August 7. Visit the fitness center’s website for more information.