No Matter Your Age, Fitness Is Achievable

Grand Strand residents Will Merriman, 18, and Ross Haglar, 77, prove the axiom that it is never too early or too late in life for exercise.

Both credit Liz Reighard, certified fitness trainer and nutrition maven who works out of the North Myrtle Beach Aquatic and Fitness Center, as giving them help in their continuing efforts to stay fit.

We can exercise daily, but without good nutrition to go along with it, we wont be as healthy as we can be, Reighard said.

Merriman, a senior at North Myrtle Beach High School, has been exercising regularly since he was 11.

I started a regular program of exercise to combat weight problems, he said. We were living in Rocky Mount, N.C., at the time. My dad took me to the gym on a regular basis. We moved to North Myrtle Beach when I was in seventh grade. My dad and I joined the gym here to continue to exercise. I really started to get serious (about health) in ninth grade when I began to combine good nutrition with exercise. I recommend going to a gym because there are so many options presented to you.

Merrimans favorite kinds of exercise are working with weights and strength training.

You need someone to show you the right way to do those, working abs, jump training and others, he said.

Another reason Merriman likes the gym is that he meets other people there who are interested in fitness, like Reighard, who share tips with him.

We met when I was in the ninth grade. She gives me health and diet and exercise tips and she has been a really good friend to help me out, Merriman said.

Although his father cant go with him to the gym as often anymore, and his buddies do not often accompany him, Merriman sticks to his program.

Even with my schedule of high school sports and studies, I try to exercise. I sometimes go at 5:30 in the morning or after school.

He explains that sticking to an exercise program is not a struggle for him because I love all kinds of exercise. Its all exciting, including stretching, which is great for flexibility.

Classes dont fit into his schedule right now, but he does take classes when he can.

I do stretching three times a week in the summer, he said.

Fitness is more than just a personal objective for Merriman. He wants to share the gospel of training and good nutrition with others.

I just gave a presentation at school on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. If you are healthy you do yourself a favor and others. People take more notice of you and you are more confident. You will live longer and life will be easier for you.

He adds, My own diet is pretty strict 3,500 calories a day of lean proteins good carbs and low fat. I do have a couple of cheat meals each week.

He favors the hibachi buffet for his cheat meal opting for protein over junk.

I am a teen and I do eat but I do not eat junk food, he said. I try to eat healthy and exercise to stay healthy. Sports are not enough. I work out all the time to stay healthy. I want to be in good condition when I am older. I want to live a healthy lifestyle.

Haglar would certainly agree. At 77, he is healthy and fit and recently completed the NMBAFC Smallest Winner Program.

Haglar began fitness training right after college.

Over the years, there were times I had little time to exercise, but I got back to it as soon as I could, he said.

Throughout his working life he has belonged to gyms. In his last position before retiring to North Myrtle Beach, Haglar, as Chief of Police in Kinston, N.C., instituted a fitness program in cooperation with a local college for police and fire department employees to use the colleges gym facilities.

Haglar and his wife, Dorothy, have lived in Cherry Grove since 1991. Haglar likes the discipline of going to the gym and the range of equipment available there. Exercise is a quality of life issue for Haglar.

When you are over 70, exercise is important to keeping life good as you age. I just feel my body needs it, he said. If I dont work out, I dont feel good. I start having aches and pains. Exercise helps with mental sharpness, too.

In January, he enjoyed the challenge of the gyms Smallest Winner Program, a six-week exercise and nutrition program that anyone can join. Haglar wanted to jump-start his usual routine and lose a bit of stubborn weight.

He met Reighard through the program.

Liz (Reighard) is very good with nutrition. When you are working for weight loss, nutrition is as important as exercise.

The (Smallest Winner) teams enjoy working out together because they have each other to encourage them during the difficult times ahead, added Reighard. The purpose of the program is to have a little fun while teaching clients to change their lifestyle permanently to live life to the fullest without having to worry about their health keeping them from being all that they can be.

Although Haglar favors a gym, he feels exercise is important no matter what it is. Walking, house work garden work whatever you like. The important thing is to do something you like. Dont start doing something you will not stick with it. You need to do it on a regular basis for it to have any benefit there are lots of studies on that.

Reighards own experience echoes those of Haglar and Merriman. She shares her own story with clients and friends at North Myrtle Beach Aquatic and Fitness Center to inspire them, especially in the Smallest Winner program.

Reighard stresses that she is a certified personal trainer, not a nutritionist, so she does not create personal diet programs for clients or friends. She simply makes them aware of good diet and nutrition habits.

I exercised for many years but didnt lose that additional 10 pounds I needed to lose or keep it off because I didnt understand how important protein was to repair my muscles after workouts, keep me feeling full and not be a slave to my cravings. The information I give to clients is readily available in the U.S. governments Food Pyramid and on the newer My Plate website. I refer people to these along with the website www.myfitnesspal.com[1] so they can track their (food intake) daily, Reighard said.


End Box


  1. ^ www.myfitnesspal.com (www.myfitnesspal.com)

Original Story Here


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  1. Reply

    Fitness Tips? My fiance and i are getting married in August and although we are both very healthy and look after ourselves, we both want to look our best for the wedding. we usually go cycling but the weather is really awful at the moment and the local gym is rubbish. does anyone have any excersize tips that we can do at home? aside from the obvious of course *wink*

      • HealthNut
      • April 28, 2012

      Here is an at-home routine that you can do for a total body and great cardio workout. Hope you like it.

      RUN IN PLACE – kick heels up to buttocks



      BACK LEG LIFTS – keeping the hips forward lift your left leg back – it’s a small movement so don’t arch your back to lift very high – do one side for half the amount of time and then switch

      HEEL DIGS – press heel out in front of you and hop to switch feet

      SIDE LEG RAISES – standing lift your left leg out to the side and lead with the heel (don’t turn your toe up) and also don’t lean over sideways as you do this – half the time and then switch sides

      BURPEES – standing place hands on floor and jump feet back into pushup position and then jump feet back towards hands and stand up (that completes one burpee)

      PLIE SQUAT – stand with your feet wider than should length apart and your toes turned out at a 45 degree angle, squat down and using your inner thighs press yourself back up

      SPEED SKATER – leap to the right bring left leg slightly behind you and you reach towards the floor and then leap to the left bringing right leg slightly behind while reach towards the floor

      PUSHUPS – can do against a wall or on the floor on your toes or knees

      CROSS COUNTRY SKI – stand with legs together and jump up landing with right leg in front and left leg back then jump again switching feet in the air

      BICEP CURLS – curl with weights (or whatever else you can use such as soup cans, water bottles, resistance bands) be sure not to lock out the elbow and curl for the full range of motion

      DOWNHILL SKI – feet together jump to right and then the left and stay low in a little bit of a squat position

      TRICEP PUSHUP – lay on your left side with your left hand on your right side and place your right hand on the floor infront of you, now press yourself up with your right hand – half the time and then switch sides

      HIGH KNEES – run in place brining knees into the chest as much as you can

      BACK ROW – using weights hinge forward at the hips so you are slightly bent over and knees slightly bent, let the weights hang down with palms facing each other than pull the elbows up keeping them close to the body and bring the weights up as high as you can and then lower

      SQUAT THRUST – kinda like a burpee but when you come up jump

      SHOULDER RAISE – with weights stand with elbows out at shoulder height then press weights up over head and lower to shoulder height (don’t go below shoulder height)

      POWER JACKS – like a jumping jack but when your feet go wide go down into a squat and when jumping back with feet together do two hops

      LOWER ABS – laying stomach place your hands infront of you forming a triangle, lift your hips up so you are on your toes and elbows (don’t lift your hips too high though – you should be in a straight line and abs pulled up in towards your spine) alternate touching your knees to the floor, but don’t let them rest – they should just barley touch

      JUMP ROPE – real or pretend

      OBLIQUES – on your back with feet on the floor and hands behind the head crunch up and twist left elbow to right knee – half the amount of time and then switch sides

      SQUAT JUMPS – in a squat position jump up and land in squat position

      UPPER ABS – on your back with feet planted on floor lift your hips up and have hands behind head – keeping your hips up off the floor do a crunch

      QUICK FEET – standing with feet wide run in place as fast as you can (think football)

      FRONT LUNGES – lunge forward with the left foot, staying in this position lower yourself and then press back up – half the amount of time and then switch sides

      SQUAT W/ FRONT KICK – feet close together squat and come up and kick with the left then squat again and come up and kick the right and keep alternating

      STEP TOUCH – stay low with knees bent and step to the left bringing feet together and then step to the right, while doing so have your arms extending out to the sides with each step

      SHUFFLE W/ KNEE – shuffle three times to the left and on the third one lift your right knee and then shuffle three times to the right lifting your left knee on the third one

      MARCH – march in place to cool down

      do each move one after the other without a rest in-between and you’ll get an excellent interval workout – If you want a longer workout walk in place 3-5 minutes and then do the whole circuit again.

  2. Reply

    Fitness Tips…? Well, Im 16 and weigh 306 pounds at about six feet in height. I just started Varsity Football for my school. Well, my coach told me that he will prefer me at a weight of 280 by about July. I just wanted any and all tips that someone can think of that will hep me with my goal and increase my football skills. Hopefullly, improving my speed, explosion, agility, strength, etc,. Is this goal attainable and what do you reccomend I do?

      • HealthNut
      • April 28, 2012


      I’ve tried so many different diets in the last 10 years that I can say now, they don’t work!
      A few months ago, I came across a great product for weight loss (it’s actually a colon cleanse) and like many others I was skeptical about it. But I really wanted to lose weight and I tried it (it’s 100% natural). The results were excellent. I lost about 20 pounds in 2 months with this detox. That’s why I recommend you check this product at http://www.thin-quick.us where they have a free trial and you only pay $4.95 shipping and handling.
      Good luck!

  3. Reply

    Anyone Know Some Good Fitness Tips? I’m really bad at running, and I would like to loose a few pounds, so I was wondering if anyone could give me some simple fitness tips? Just a simple fitness regime, please.

      • HealthNut
      • April 28, 2012

      Avoid elevators and escalators,,
      climb stairs,, walk long distances every single day.
      hour of cardio at your target heart rate every day.
      stretch properly afterwards or you wont want to come back tomorrow which blows the whole plan.

      good luck

  4. Reply

    A Site To Share Health And Fitness Tips For Teens? Hello , im 15 and im 76kg witch is a bad weight for my age. Please help me and list me some websites with tips on excerciseing, healthy food and things like that thanks.

  5. Reply

    Can Anyone Here Give Me Some Good Fitness Tips On Yahoo Messenger? I am completely clueless about fitness…
    can anyone help?

      • HealthNut
      • April 28, 2012

      Walk at least a mile a day. Get rest drink plenty of water & fluids. Avoid junk food. Eat at least 23 g of fiber a day.

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