Local trainers dish on how to get fit


Dropping a few pounds on a fad diet is one thing, having the willpower to stay fit is very different animal. City Pulse chatted with two local trainers and asked them how to stay on course with a fitness plan, while juggling work and other daily obstacles. Here’s what they had to say.

Jason McCammon, 39, of Grand Ledge, is the president of IQ Fit: Fitness and Wellness Center, 2510 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing. McCammon, a body-building trainer, has operated IQ, along with his wife, vice president Kristin McCammon, for the past 13 years. He’s also a former national-level track athlete with a professional background in bio-mechanics.

Jen Hilker, 38, is an 11-year employee at Sparrow Health System’s Michigan Athletic Club, 2900 Hannah Blvd, East Lansing. Prior to that, she played club volleyball at Michigan State University. She’s also been a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer since 2001 and has a master’s in exercise physiology from MSU. Additionally, she also teaches fitness courses at Lansing Community College.




What are some healthy dietary habits? 
 McCammon: Nutrition is more psychology than physiology. No matter how smart the practitioner, you have to create a way to help the person make their own breakthrough and help them become self-motivated to change. Even the most personalized plan in the world will fail without permanent behavior change … We assess their current habits and support them with positive encouragement and simple steps to help to make some changes. It must be a work in progress and requires tons of patience. And we never recommend any strict diet.



Hilker: I encourage people to eat real foods as often as possible. Avoid processed foods and fad diets. If you do eat prepared products, reading labels is a must. Drinking water needs to be a priority, too. I think the biggest issue for people these days is finding the time to prepare meals and snacks … Most trainers will recommend a balance, something like 80/20 – where 80 percent of the time you eat as healthy as you can and 20 percent can be reserved for indulgences.

Is there a good way to work craft beer into a healthy diet?
 McCammon: We don’t believe in any bad foods, just poor behavioral choices, in relation to the member’s goals. There is nothing inherently wrong with beer – or any food – but there is a time and place for foods that are considered non-essential or just for comfort. The key is being reasonable. If someone is eating clean 80-percent of the time, then a couple beers a week is not going to stop them from getting in better shape.



Hilker: That’s why 80/20 is so great.

Make good nutritional choices and have that beer! The key to getting fit and remaining that way is consistency.


For those aiming to losing weight, is cardio or weight training more effective? 
 McCammon: It depends on how much time someone can invest in their training. For just a couple days a week, weight training provides the very best return on investment. Studies show as much as nine-times more fat loss from those that weight train than those who do traditional cardio like jogging … Weight training not only burns more total fat, but with a properly designed program, will prepare the person for functional activities like running.



Hilker: They are equally important.

In past decades, recommendations were mostly for cardiovascular exercise. More recent studies show how important and beneficial strength training can be, too. Pretty much after the age of 30, our strength begins to decline. This decline can be slowed and even reversed by doing strength exercises as little as twice a week. People who participate in weight-loss programs are more likely to remain successful long term if they incorporate strength training into their plan.

How should people stay active when they’re not with their trainer?
 McCammon: Taking bike rides, walking or running with a pet or playing some pick-up basketball. Folks have to find activities they actually like. For example, running just to lose weight will not only injure most people, but will not be sustainable unless you like to run and have good form.

What’s one last piece of advice?
 McCammon: You can go it alone, pay nothing, but risk getting hurt— maybe seriously. And ultimately, not have enough knowledge or skill to be successful. This is very defeating and a big waste of your precious time. Or, you can invest in a quality program and not only get results, but keep the results, while learning proper habits for life. Doing it the right way can also save tens of thousands of dollars on medical expenses and extend your quality of life.

 Hilker: Don’t wait until tomorrow and definitely don’t skip the strength training. 



Note: Both McCammon and Hilker recommend consulting a professional before starting any fitness routine. Visit them online at iqfit.com and sparrow.org/mac.

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