Ask the Coach


I would like to lose 50-60 pounds but want to set realistic short-term goals for myself. Any advice?

Long term goal: lose 50-60 pounds, while remaining healthy. One year is a reasonable amount of time to accomplish this goal. Here’s the math:

• Steady weight loss at one pound every 7-10 days is realistic and what’s recommended.
• Three-five pounds a month multiplied by 12 months is 36-60 pounds.
• You will lose 5-7 pounds of water by starting a healthy eating plan.
• It is important to understand how many calories you need to burn. To burn calories, you need to move more, eat less or do a combination of both.

Choose a goal weight in the healthy range for BMI or choose your best adult weight. Your initial weight loss should be limited to 10% of your weight, maintain the new normal for six months, and then proceed to lose more. To lose one pound a week, you need to burn 500 extra calories a day. The average 140-pound person burns 330 calories walking 4.0 miles per hour for 60 minutes. A quick pace is 4.0. Short term SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) goal example: I will walk 60 minutes every other day, or three times a week, for the first two weeks. Slower speeds require you to walk longer. Increase fruits and veggies, fiber, water, healthy fats and lean proteins. Reduce sugars and overall calories to help burn 500 calories a day. Short term SMART goal: I will pack my lunch and snacks three times a week for the first two weeks.

This will be challenging, but set short term SMART goals (weekly or monthly), track your progress and reward yourself for each small win. Use apps, smart watches or other tracking devices to help. Share your goals with friends and family. As you achieve your goals, set new goals that lead to lasting behavior change! Write down your goals, positive affirmations and post them where you can see them. Visualize and feel yourself reaching your goal. Decide to change negative thoughts. Think positive! You got this!

I’ve recently started jogging and can’t seem to stay free of injuries. How can I perfect my running form?

Research shows 19-79% of runners are sidelined every year due to injuries and some never run again. Injury and injury prevention are multi-faceted. A combination of things can add up to injury. An anatomical problem, training error and the wrong shoes can produce injury. Every runner is unique with a different anatomy, fitness level and injury history.

Having a strong body, good form and the right shoes are essential. Strong muscles, ligaments and tendons guard against impact, improve form and lead to a consistent gait. If one stabilizer isn’t strong enough or isn’t recruited, other muscles get overworked, and the entire chain of movement is disrupted. Some recommended exercises you can look up:

• Donkey kicks with a bar
• Wall press
• Single leg balance on forefoot
• Eccentric heel drop
• Clam shells
• Stability ball bridge
• Stability ball walkout
• Single leg balance
• Squat

After performing these for eight weeks, add some plyometrics like the long or lateral jump. Mobility exercises designed to target runner’s problem areas:

• Kneeling hip flexor stretch
• Foot massage
• Calf smash with foam roller

Strength training can improve your form, but it can’t eliminate faulty biomechanics. Experts do agree that running with good posture and proper stride prevents injuries. Bad posture habits carry over into your run. Your upper back should be straight, lower back not arched, and your head should be directly over your shoulders. Swing your arms efficiently, which affects trunk stability. Consciously land softly and do drills to do so. Count your steps, your stride rate should be less than 160. Faster cadence minimizes over-striding and reduces forces on joints. Shoot a video and check your foot and knee positions.

Good shoes can reduce injury. Rotate your shoes, use the right shoe for the right activity and wear wicking socks. Go for comfort. Use the wear patterns on your old shoes to guide you on a new purchase.

Lastly, be careful to slowly increase your distance. Run on a soft surface, when possible, until your body adjusts to the impact of running. Have fun!


Carla Gray, BSES, HFS, CPT is a persoal trainer and can be reached at or (504) 885-7855.

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