The Secret to Staying in Shape


A strong body makes the mind strong. —Thomas Jefferson

When I was in high school, I was twenty pounds heavier than I am now. Then in college I became part of the “Freshman Fifteen Club” – that’s not a club you want to join. At a time in my life when I should have been at peak physical condition, I was overweight. If I add it all up, I’ve gained and lost over 100 pounds in my life. 

As a smart college girl, I knew many tricks to lose weight. Two of the all-time worst weight loss gimmicks were: wrapping my body in plastic wrap, donning a sweat suit, and sitting in the sauna, or simply starving myself. Neither, as you probably know, worked. Only when I started to teach group fitness classes regularly did I start to shed pounds. Another important change was that I stopped thinking about what I was going to have for lunch while eating breakfast. I kept busy.  Finding something you love to do prevents you from eating out of boredom, too. Have you ever been so involved in a project that you forgot to eat?  Compare that with inhaling a bag of chips while watching television. 

Exercise is the key to life-long health. It lowers your blood pressure; helps you sleep better; prevents inflammation, which can cause diseases like cancer, and is wonderful at reducing stress! There are days you may want to run a marathon or swim a mile, and some days you may just want to go for a walk or stretch.  Quite often, people ask me which class I like to teach or what my favorite workout is.  After having taught thousands of classes to thousands of people for decades, I can honestly say my favorite workout is Zumba®! 

Having been trained in dozens of different fitness programs, from step to Spinning to kick-boxing, I can appreciate the value of each curriculum and enjoy most of them.  Since I love to dance and don’t have hours every day to get my heart pumping and do weight-training, I know I can get a full body workout in sixty minutes and have a blast through Zumba® in the Circuit.  Am I biased? You better believe it!  When you spend hundreds of hours of training, testing and trying different fitness modalities, I know that an interval training fitness program is what works best for me.   We dance for one song, then do exercises targeted to a specific area, such as squats and lunges for legs, for one song, and repeat the process until we’ve worked every major muscle group – all under an hour!  The result is an exciting variety of movements reaching cardiovascular intensity and prime muscular conditioning.  But here’s why it works for me:  I love it!  

You’ll be more interested in exercising if you like what you’re doing.  Some people prefer weight training, running, swimming, biking or yoga.   I like to do all those and vary my workouts often.  It’s best to utilize the muscles in a different way in order to achieve a well-rounded fitness program and a balanced body.   

Today’s lesson is quite basic: do something, anything, every day!  Make sure to include these three areas when considering an exercise program:

  • strength training (using weights, tubes or your own body)
  • cardiovascular exercise (walking, running, swimming, dancing)
  • stretching  (yoga)

(Consult a physician before starting any exercise program)

Here are some simple ways you can incorporate more exercise into your life:

  • Park your car farther away from your destination.
  • Take the stairs.
  • For every four minutes of chores, do ten jumping jacks.

Make a commitment to better your health by moving or stretching at least 4 times a week for a minimum of thirty minutes.  In your calendar, write the times and days you can workout this week. That is the secret to staying in shape!

  1. Paul Lichtefeld May 8, 2015 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the info.

  2. D'Ann Lane May 8, 2015 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    I was a BodyBuilder, due to 3 Back Surgeries and both hips replaced I’ve had to modify my work outs, the challenge for me is to keep as active as I can, I was so happy reading your site.

    • Shemane Nugent May 11, 2015 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      Thank you D’Ann! I’m honored and happy that you’re happy reading these blogs! We’re all a community of people trying to figure out how to live happier, healthier, more prosperous lives. At times, we’re each thrown a curve ball or two – seems like you’ve had ’em! Consult with your doctor about the appropriate exercises for you & stay active! Thanks for commenting!!

  3. Yvonne Bright Messick May 8, 2015 at 5:17 pm - Reply

    Thank you! The thing that stuck out in my mind (that I was NOT doing…) was “write the times and days I will be working out this week”…. The light bulb went off! I should do that!!!!

  4. Frank Raeck May 8, 2015 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    And with Ted’s cardiotunes i can do it

  5. joseph hebert jr May 9, 2015 at 1:46 am - Reply

    Very good! I’m a 52 man, and have been studying Shotokan karate-do since 1986. It involves aerobic and anaerobic (if you weight train) exercise, and I hate to think of what my physical/mental condition would be right now if I’d led a sedate lifestyle.

    • Shemane Nugent May 11, 2015 at 6:55 pm - Reply

      Good for you! We all have to figure out which exercises work best for us & for our lifestyles. Keep up the good work!

  6. Austin Hartin May 12, 2015 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    Hello shemane, I don’t have time to work out everyday until hunting season. Hunting season is where I do all my cardio and strength trading from hiking miles and miles up mountains. But when I am not hiring I play my guitar. I play all uncle Teds song in one session and it drives me. I run around stage and jump and raise hell and it keeps me in wicked good shape

    • Shemane Nugent May 12, 2015 at 7:25 pm - Reply

      Good for you Austin! Find the thing that makes your heart sing & you’ll be happier & healthier!

  7. elaine stepp May 12, 2015 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    I love you n your family..spirit blackfoot n cherokee..n a little mixed

    • Shemane Nugent May 12, 2015 at 7:24 pm - Reply

      Well, thanks!! We are all a little mixed up when you think about it! ; )

  8. Michelle Reents May 12, 2015 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    Hi Sherman I’m a busy mom. I just can’t seem to stick with or start with a program. Any tips? I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life! I’m sick of being fat but can’t seem to break the lazy excuse cycle. I’m feeling hopeless…but trying very hard not to get discouraged. But find myself being extremely discouraged.

    • Shemane Nugent May 13, 2015 at 2:49 am - Reply

      Michelle, I too, know what it’s like to feel frustrated and fatigued especially as a busy mom. The good news is that there are a few quick steps to live a healthier lifestyle:
      1. Put yourself 1st. Hard to do as a mom, but you can’t help your family if you’re not healthy.
      2. Write in appointments with yourself to go to the gym or fit in a 20 minute workout (minimum) at least 3x/week.
      3. Find something you LOVE to do & you’ll want to do it more often. Swim, dance, bike, walk – it doesn’t matter. Do 1 or do all 3! Mix it up…but most importantly do something!

      Make a date with yourself!

      Hope that helps!

  9. Brent Bergsma May 12, 2015 at 11:55 pm - Reply

    Makes sense doesn’t it? I was born & raised in Michigan and grew up on a meat & potatoes diet. Throw venison & fish in there for good measure and you might think everything’s OK, right?

    Wrong. On my 50th birthday last year, I tipped the scales at 247lbs. Back problems, high blood pressure, and I was on my way to be a diabetic. Scary, because it runs in the family.

    My divorce kicked my butt. Looking at pictures, I wouldn’t be married to me either. So I changed. 80% of my diet is fruits and veggies. Living in Arizona now, I have an incredible array of choices regarding locally grown foods. Sure, I chow on venison and some fresh fish when I can……but it’s 20% of my diet. And loved ones enjoyed the slabs of ribs that I smoked on Mother’s Day.

    It’s been nine months since I changed my lifestyle. Diet was half of it. Activity was the other half. I now weigh 197 lbs. 50 lbs. of poison and sedentary lifestyle is gone. I look better, I feel better, and smiles come naturally from me. I haven’t done any handstands on a paddleboard yet but I’m willing to give it a try.

    Get up & move. And eat right. I like your message.


    • Shemane Nugent May 13, 2015 at 2:45 am - Reply

      Congrats on your healthy lifestyle changes Brent!! Best part is that you feel better & smiles come naturally!!
      Try paddle boarding….you might like it!

  10. Cathy Waters May 13, 2015 at 2:28 am - Reply

    My husband is 67. I will be 56 this month. Neither one of us are on medications for anything. We are active. We are in the scrap iron business. We also get our own firewood. We grow our food as well as joined a CSA. We love to hear from your husband Ted and his rants about the government. We agree with him on that subject. Staying in shape and staying healthy are very important to us. I will enjoy your posts very much.

    • Shemane Nugent May 13, 2015 at 2:43 am - Reply

      Thank you very much for your post! It’s great to hear about people who cut their own firewood – not an easy task! p.s. My husband will be 67 this year too!

  11. Adele May 13, 2015 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    Shemane – you are an inspiration! Love reading your blog!

  12. Terri King May 15, 2015 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    I love your blog…You are so darling and give inspiration.
    Thank you… we love you and Uncle Ted.
    My whole family 🙂

  13. Terri King May 16, 2015 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    Do you have DVD’s available to purchase? I am new to your blog.

    • Monica July 4, 2015 at 10:35 am - Reply

      I’m impressed, I must say. Really reraly do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the issue is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.

      • Shemane Nugent July 4, 2015 at 12:44 pm - Reply

        Wow! Thanks Monica! That made my day! I’m so glad you stumbled upon this blog, too. Have an amazing day! Hope to hear from you again soon.

  14. Christy Deleana Dollins May 30, 2015 at 7:54 pm - Reply

    thanks for the advice and input really appreciate it 🙂

  15. Anan July 4, 2015 at 9:39 am - Reply

    Awesome blog you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any user disoussicn forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article? I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get comments from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Cheers!

    • Shemane Nugent July 4, 2015 at 12:50 pm - Reply

      Actually, I don’t know of any forums that touch on all the aspects I do: mind/body/spirit, healthy living & fitness. Which is why I started this website & blog. It makes me so happy to know that others are interested in all of this too. ; )

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