Welcome to 2012! This is the year you’ll feel healthier, have more energy and achieve your fitness goals. Easier said than done, right?

We’re taking a fresh look at resolutions this year and focusing on small changes that make a big impact. Making incremental improvements helps fitness and healthy habits become a part of your lifestyle instead of just a phase you go through for a couple of months.

We reached out to some of Austin’s top fitness experts and asked them to share their secrets to success. Here’s what we asked them:

  1. Share your top tip for small change that makes a big impact.
  2. How do you motivate yourself throughout the year?
  3. What quote inspires you?


There were some recurring themes in our conversations with these experts. The most common tips involved the need for variety in terms of fitness activities, the importance of a sense of community in fitness groups, specific goal setting and how consistency is more important than intensity. We’ve included their tips here, and you can find more motivational information for the year ahead at myfitlist.com. Enjoy this valuable insight from fitness pros throughout Austin and make 2012 your fittest year yet!

1. DAVE APPEL

Director of training and development at Cycle Camp USA (cyclecampusa.com)

TOP TIP: Use training tools to boost your fitness. At Cycle Camp USA, we teach cyclists how to train with a heart-rate monitor. This simple tool can give you real results.
MOTIVATION: Change it up. Even though I’m a cycling coach, I still enjoy going for a run or hitting the pool for a swim. Rediscovering the fun in your fitness program will help motivate you for the next challenge. Set a goal to try a totally new activity like stand-up paddle boarding or jump in a game of pick-up basketball.
INSPIRATION: “I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” –Michael Jordan

2. HOLLY L’ITALIEN

MSOM, LAc, ACN. Acupuncturist and applied clinical nutritionist at Merritt Wellness Center (merrittwellness.com)

TOP TIP: Be a rebel. Don’t accept that just because you’re getting older that you’ll need to get used to prescription medicines, chronic pain and weight gain, or that just because other members of your family are in poor health that that’s the way it has to be for you too. Given the proper support and nutrition, you can achieve optimal health, regardless of your age or genetics.
MOTIVATION: I pick different goals throughout the year. For several years now, I have competed in the Danskin Triathlon in the spring. This fall, for something new, I decided to enter in a fitness competition in the bikini division—a bold move for a 48-year-old! I’ve noticed that as my diet has improved, so has my athletic performance, and how comfortable I am in a bikini.
INPSPIRATION: “Eat well. Move well. Think well.” -Unknown

3. KATE RIPLEY MALIAWCO

The Austin Bodyworker (austinbodyworker.com)

TOP TIP: Every morning, I attempt to keep my focus on how great I will feel inside and out once I have gone for my run or workout. Focusing on that helps me from fixating on why I would rather hit the snooze button.
MOTIVATION: Like a fine wine, we would like to get better with age. That comes with treating our bodies better by listening to them, eating more mindfully and striving to not look or act our ages.
INSPIRATION: “Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

4. KATIE FORREST

Co-founder, Thunderbird Energetica (thunderbirdenergetica.com)

TOP TIP: We often take for granted the amazing resources for health and wellness we have here in Austin. Living in a fit city is a privilege that I am thankful for every day. We have the ability to choose from an array of local businesses that are all here to support our healthy habits. Utilize your resources; they are an essential element to staying healthy.
MOTIVATION: I was definitely in a rut following Ironman World Championships in Kona in 2010. It was not until I went to watch one of our sponsored athletes, Cole Kirkpatrick, race motocross that my competitive spirit was revived. I think it is important to constantly surround yourself with champions—champions of all walks of life. Champions help motivate me to seek out and pursue the activities that I excel at and remind me to constantly push myself to my limits. Who knows? You might be that one person who is unintentionally motivating someone else to better themselves, so always try your hardest.
INSPIRATION: I get so hyped on Ke$ha, so I will have to say it: “This place about to blow.” –Ke$ha

5. LYDIA MICHELSON-MAVERICK

RYT, Austin Aerial Yoga (austinaerialyoga.com)

TOP TIP: Stress less! Stress produces all sorts of chemicals in the body and can cause weight gain and harm the body in ways we are only beginning to understand. Yoga and meditation are some of the best ways to reduce the impact of stress on our lives.
MOTIVATION: I love, completely love, all the fitness activities I pursue: aerial dance, dance and yoga. I couldn’t imagine trying to achieve fitness goals without an activity that I felt deeply passionate about, which will be something different for everyone.
INSPIRATION: “Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.” –Samuel Johnson

6. MEGAN PARSONS

Managing director, Relentless Training Systems (relentlessatx.com)

TOP TIP: Balance, balance, balance. I approach everything with the outlook of work hard, play hard. I view my career, social life, family and friends as my lifestyle, and it provides a completely different approach to life. Instead of compartmentalizing my health and wellness, I live it daily.
MOTIVATION: I started something new the day after Thanksgiving: twenty-one days of daily writing and exercising my dreaming muscles. This is not goal setting; it is dreaming, dreaming up new possibilities.
INSPIRATION: “Never forget that each new day is bringing you closer to your dreams.” –Flavia

7. RYAN NAIL

Founder and owner, CoreFit (corefitaustin.com)

TOP TIP: Constantly change up your routine. It will keep you from getting bored and demands a change that your body must try to adapt to , giving you dynamic results.
MOTIVATION: Being a leader in the fitness community, I believe I must lead by example. I have no right to tell anyone to do anything if I don’t push myself the same way or harder. As I do my workouts, I also learn new ways to do exercises that transfer in to my CoreFit classes. So I know that I’m not just working out for myself, but for my clients. And to change lives keeps me working out and motivated all year long.
INSPIRATION: I have a quote in CoreFit and it’s also my motto in life: “Hard work pays off!”

8. TOBIE FUNTE

Owner and certified Pilates and Barre instructor at Pilates Bodies & Barre Austin (pilatesbodiesaustin.com)

TOP TIP: Keep a food diary. It is so easy to nibble throughout the day and eat mindlessly. By writing down everything you eat and drink, you become aware of how much or little you consume and where your diet may be lacking in nutrients.
MOTIVATION: Visualize your success and focus on the positive. When you do anything repeatedly, you can actually change the pathways of the brain, so any negative self-talk becomes part of your thought process. As women, we tend to be so hard on ourselves, so we have to shift our thoughts from negative to neutral, then from gratitude to appreciation. I remind myself of this every day.
INSPIRATION: “You are only as young as your spine is flexible.” – Joseph Pilates

9. STEPHANIE FLORES

Body by Frame (bodybyframe.com)

TOP TIP: Lift hard and look hot. Lifting weights has many benefits, but it has to be challenging. WOW = women on weights. You are not going to get bulky unless you eat like a football player and neglect cardio.
MOTIVATION: I stay motivated each year by goal setting. I set a goal for each quarter and write them down on a vision board. Then I make a plan to achieve them. It can be to wear a bikini by spring break, to compete in a fitness competition by the end of summer, wear a certain costume for Halloween and look great for a Christmas party.
INSPIRATION: I always say to my clients, “Make the time, be prepared and no excuses.” If you can do these, you will achieve your goals.

10. SARA-MAI CONWAY

Owner, Flywheel Fitness (flywheelfit.com)

TOP TIP: Working out with my dog has reminded me that fitness is supposed to be fun. We all grew up playing, not working out. Try to incorporate more play in to your workouts.
MOTIVATION: I’m a planner and a list maker, so I actually do write down my resolutions each year. It makes it more real to see it on paper . I have something to look back at throughout the year and it keeps me honest. Some things I’ll get to and others I won’t, but it ’s important to put goals out there.
INSPIRATION: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” –Annie Dillard

Where do you go from here? There are hundreds of fitness businesses in Austin that can help you reach your fitness and wellness goals this year. Myfitlist is a great place to start to find the perfect fitness resources for you. Connect with us online at myfitlist.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/myfitlist. We want to make it easier for you to get and stay fit. Here’s to 2012!

***

Chrissie Jarrell and Natalie Yerkovich, the gals who created myfitlist.com, do the grunt work for you. Well, the organizational grunt work, anyway. They work hard to connect people with the fitness groups, information and resources they need so they can grunt, sweat and tone to achieve their personal goals.

Read the fun and inspirational fitness articles by the creators of MyFitList, every month in Austin Woman Magazine. This article can be found in the January 2012 issue on stands and online now!

***

MyFitList brings together the latest information on hundreds of local fitness businesses in Austin. We’re your resource for inspiration and information for getting and staying fit. Search hundreds of Austin fitness groups and services like running, triathlon, bootcamps, yoga studios, gyms and more all in one place! Check us out at www.myfitlist.com