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It isn’t just about getting people to move; it is about teaching them the “why we do this”

As a wife, mother and veteran fitness professional, Becci understands the unique demands that modern day women face. Becci’s individualized and holistic approach to fitness leaves her clients feeling empowered preparing them physically, mentally, and emotionally for life’s challenges.

Becci regularly teaches fitness classes and conducts private and semi-private training sessions in Southern California. She currently teaches at Pepperdine University in Malibu and Equinox in Santa Monica. In the past, Becci has served as a manager of corporate fitness and wellness programs and Assistant Director of University Campus Recreation programs.

Becci holds a B.S. in Exercise Science from Iowa State University and a M.P.H. in Health Policy & Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Becci’s certifications include ACE certified personal trainer, ACE certified group fitness instructor, Spinning Level 3, Pilates mat, TRX suspension trainer, YogaFit Levels 1&2, Intrinsic Coaching, BOSU workshop and IDEA Personal Trainer Member.

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TrainingTips.com: What’s your fitness philosophy and how has it evolved since you first started your career?

Becci: I believe in training from the inside out and bottom up to achieve mental, physical and spiritual well-being. When I first started training clients in college and right after graduation my main focus was on exercise or creating a good workout. However, as I spent the first few months and years working with various individuals I began to change my approach. I noticed that the majority of people I worked with had muscular imbalances, improper body mechanics, a weak base of support from which to support proper movement along with dietary and psychological issues. Once my focus shifted to creating proper alignment in the body via a strong and stable base/core and what was going on internally (via the gut/digestion and mind) I was able to help my clients achieve greater overall health and wellness outcomes.

TrainingTips.com: What are some tips for staying healthy and fit for individuals who can’t afford a gym membership or personal trainer?

Becci: No gym? No problem! The main difference between a gym and your home or the outdoors is the walls that contain it. It is certainly not a necessity in cultivating an active and healthy lifestyle. The most important things to assess are your diet (what you’re eating) and your daily level of activity. Most people can reap significant benefits simply by cleaning up their diet (watching portion sizes, eating at regular periods throughout the day, consuming a balanced diet of primarily whole foods and avoiding processed foods, etc.). Additionally, many people can easily find ways to be more active in their everyday life (taking the stairs, going on walks and leisurely bike rides, gardening, cleaning, etc.). Once you’ve tackled these lifestyle changes you can begin to implement more specific activities (and equipment) to move closer to your goal(s). All it takes is a little creativity. For instance, you can use a set of stairs for a total body workout: walking, box jumps or burpees for cardio bursts and lower muscle development and tricep dips, incline or decline push ups and plank holds for upper body and core strength. You can also purchase some resistance tubes/bands and a TRX system to use at home or on the go (think park or while traveling). A stability ball and a few pairs of dumbbells or kettlebells are also great tools to keep at home for total body workouts.

TrainingTips.com: How do you ensure your clients keep their momentum and don’t get bored or discouraged during their fitness journey?

Becci: One of the best ways to keep clients motivated is via goal setting and tracking. When you show clients the progress they have made (i.e., completing a push up, a PR in a run, etc.) even if they haven’t yet attained their goal weight or size their self-efficacy is bolstered and they are reminded of the additional benefits of exercise and eating healthy. Other ways I like to keep clients engaged and excited include introducing new pieces of equipment (TRX, ropes, etc.), encouraging them to try new fitness classes (yoga, Zumba, etc.), changing the location of their workouts (outdoors, inside, on the beach, at a park), having them workout with a partner or in a small group, and weekly wellness emails that include healthy (and easy) recipes and other tips for maintaining a state of well-being (sleep, how to grocery shop, etc.).

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TrainingTips.com: What insights have you gained while serving as a head coach for Girls on the Run?

Becci: Serving as a head coach for Girls on the Run has taught me that it is never too early to start implementing health education and behavior. The young girls I coached taught me so much and it was such an eye opening experience to see the pressures they are already facing (drugs, sex, body image issues, etc.) in elementary school. I learned that when you keep physical activity fun vs. something that must be done/a chore in order to maintain a certain physical appearance, etc., kids are more likely to be interested and want to partake. Additionally, it is imperative to place emphasis on the educational component. It isn’t just about getting people to move; it is about teaching them the “why we do this” so that they understand the logic (and consequences) behind their actions, setting them up for a lifetime of healthy decision-making.

TrainingTips.com: What advice would you give to someone who is working with a personal trainer for their first time?

Becci: Do your research! Make sure you take time in the beginning to research potential personal trainers. There are so many people claiming to be health and fitness experts these days simply because they have experienced success in their own workout programs or because they have an interest in exercise and want to share that passion with others. Ensure that the individual you hire has a current certification from an accredited or nationally recognized organization (ACE, ACSM, etc.) as there are many “weekend” certification options available these days. Additional important certifications should include CPR/AED and liability insurance (if training outside a fitness facility). Find out what the trainer’s philosophy is, ask to speak with past or current clients, and be sure to understand their rates (including expiration dates and packaged pricing) so there aren’t any surprises. Most importantly, ask for an introductory session before committing so that you can get to know the trainer’s personality and training style. If after the first session you don’t mesh head back to the drawing board and find someone that is better suited for your goals and needs!

TrainingTips.com: Can you share some common mistakes that individuals make when they work out and how can they be corrected?

Becci: Two of the biggest mistakes I see people making are doing too much too soon and giving up too quickly. We’ve all seen those people at the gym who are attempting high intensity workouts that they have cut out of a magazine. While these types of workouts have their place in a training program it is important to be mindful of your current level of physical fitness. One of the main reasons people end up quitting a workout program or falling off the bandwagon is because they jump in over their heads. Trying to do too much too soon not only puts you at risk for injury, but it also increases your odds for throwing in the towel when you’re unable to master complicated or too-intense moves in the grueling workout. Basic moves not only keep you safe, but they pave the way for more complex moves and boost your self-efficacy making you feel confident in your ability to succeed. The second mistake I see clients make is to give up after the first few weeks when they don’t see results. Goal setting (with emphasis on realistic, attainable and timely) can help clients to understand that results will not happen overnight. It is important that you give clients realistic expectations about when they might expect to see the scale drop or inches lost. Also, remind them that they have to take ownership of the results they are working towards. If they are exercising with you twice per week, but eating a poor diet and sitting on the couch the other five days then this will dramatically slow down or inhibit their progress.

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About Becci Prather

As a wife, mother and veteran fitness professional, Becci understands the unique demands that modern day women face. Becci's individualized and holistic approach to fitness leaves her clients feeling empowered preparing them physically, mentally, and emotionally for life's challenges.

Becci regularly teaches fitness classes and conducts private and semi-private training sessions in Southern California. She currently teaches at Pepperdine University in Malibu and Equinox in Santa Monica. In the past, Becci has served as a manager of corporate fitness and wellness programs and Assistant Director of University Campus Recreation programs. Her desire to make a healthy lifestyle accessible to everyone has spurred her involvement in various activities including serving as a head coach for Girls on the Run, fundraising and running the Chicago Marathon for World Vision, and donating her time as a featured instructor for Lululemon Athletica (900 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL). Additionally, Becci has volunteered with various organizations including the Department of Health & Human Services Office on Women's Health, the Los Angeles Mission's Christmas Celebration, Boys and Girls Club of Santa Monica, By the Hand Kid's Club, and the Westside Food Bank. Becci's passion also allowed her to travel to remote mountainous villages in the Philippines on a global medical trip where she partnered with a local nursing school to provide basic health services to those in need.

Becci is a Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor through the American Council on Exercise. Additional certifications include Pilates (Equinox Institute), Spinning (Mad Dogg Athletics, Inc.), TRX Suspension Training, YogaFit, IDEA Personal Trainer Member, Intrinsic Coaching (Totally Coached Inc.), and infant, child, and adult CPR/AED. Becci holds a B.S. in Exercise Science from Iowa State University and a Master's in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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