Minneapolis area chefs, fitness pros and stylists offer advice

Minneapolis area chefs, fitness pros and stylists offer advice

by Jackie Norris

Forget New Year’s resolutions. Replace them with daily resolutions, says life coach Ingrid E. Cummings, a fervent believer in “Kaizen,” an ancient Japanese practice that stresses incremental continuous improvement. “Don’t get overwhelmed by the hugeness of it all,” Cummings advises. “If you eat 10 calories less than yesterday, then you’re heading in the right direction.”

In her new book, “The Vigorous Mind,” Cummings instructs people on how they can achieve life goals by acting on them for 20 minutes a day, three days a week.

Life coach Michelin Hegland advises her Twin City area clients to work “accountability appointments” into their New Year’s resolution plans.

Check in at regular intervals with someone you trust and review your success rate, she explains.

The American Society for Training and Development found people achieved their goals 95 percent of the time when they established these accountability appointments, Hegland says.

“Be as specific as possible, including how you’ll measure success and how and when you’ll work toward it, what resources or people can help you, and when you’ll have accomplished it,” she adds.

Whether your goal is to eat healthier, get in better shape, develop a fresh look – or a combination of all three – the personal chefs, trainers and stylists interviewed for this issue offer their advice on achieving a new and incrementally happier you in 2009.

Hail to the chef

To save time and lose weight, think about handing over your spatula and apron to a personal chef. “People are very busy and stress reduction is increasingly important to support and promote health in times like these,” says Chef Renee Faucher, the owner of The Invisible Chef in Minneapolis.

Hiring a personal chef to plan and prepare meals is healthier and economical compared to eating out frequently, she says. “It alleviates the stress of mealtime and allows for you and your family to really enjoy time together.”

Personal chefs can cook and serve a big meal for guests or prepare family meals in advance for you to serve yourself. Twin City chefs charge $20 to $40 per person for at-home dinner parties. To help stay on track with a diet or nutritional goals, consider a customized package. Prices start at $200 – plus the cost of groceries – for two weeks of meals that can be frozen until ready to eat.

During the initial consultation with a chef, explain your diet restrictions, nutritional goals, and likes and dislikes.

“I’m comfortable working in conjunction with a client’s medical and nutritional advisers to create menus that are both appropriate and satisfying,” says Chef Myron Mortell, owner of Thymeworks Personal Chef Service in Ellsworth, Wis.

Or, you can ask the chef to work out all the healthy details. “One of my specialties is in catering to people with specific goals,” Faucher says. “I prefer to cook for people who have a desire to eat healthy, whole, organic and delicious food. This is how I eat and live, and I believe that makes a difference in how I cook.”

Chefs can offer even more help for those looking to drastically change their eating habits. “I think success requires a plan to succeed,” Mortell says. “The key to successfully adopting better eating habits is to have meals prepared that are delicious and healthful, so there is no sense of being deprived of great taste while eating well. A satisfying meal doesn’t need to be a large meal.”

Get the skinny from personal trainers

Consistency is the key to becoming more physically fit.

That’s the advice of Alex Zorbas, owner of Alex Zorbas Personal Training in Eden Prairie. “Exercise, cardio, flexibility and diet should be a part of your life,” Zorbas says. “Once you start, you should never stop.”

St. Paul member Jeanne Dietrich credits her trainers at Fitness Together in Minneapolis, with getting her back into shape. “I’ve joined at least four health clubs in the past and wasted tons of money,” Dietrich says. “After I start something, I lose interest fast and thought being held accountable by an appointment would help.”

It is helping. Dietrich set a goal to lose 20 pounds and has lost eight. “To get the results I want, I have to do cardio. I hate cardio,” says the artist and designer. “But they make me do it and I’ve seen results much faster.”

Some trainers even make house calls, so clients have fewer excuses to miss a workout. Trainers suggest purchasing a session package because it helps clients establish a long-term commitment to fitness.

They typically charge $40 or more per session, depending on their travel time and the workout duration. Many packages start at $375 for five workouts.

Nathan J. Hartwig, studio owner and personal trainer at Premier Fitness Studio in Woodbury, says the essence of what he does is to hold clients accountable and motivate them. “The trainer will set realistic goals, track progress and ensure success,” he says.

Trainers also help clients stay focused on long-term goals, such as imagining how losing weight or getting
fit will result in compliments from family and friends.

“I suggest my clients reward themselves for each workout by putting a dollar into a bank account,” says Annie Elmer of Annie Elmer Personal Training in Cottage Grove. “When they meet their personal goal, they can buy a new clothing item, or some other non-food reward. I also ask my clients to stay focused on how they feel and the health benefits.”

Refresh and renew with a new 'do

If you’re feeling fat or sluggish, avoid wearing the ratty sweats. That can lead to a guilty date with Häagen-Dazs and a larger size of a dumpy sweatsuit. You’re more likely to achieve other healthy life goals when you force yourself to dress nicely and get a new hair style, experts say.

“When you get your hair done, you leave feeling new and fresh,” says Allison Lesch, salon manager of Spalon Montage in Edina. “Changing your look and taking a risk will keep you from feeling old and looking stagnant.”

One way to refresh your look is to try a new hair color in 2009. Woody Theis, hair director for JUUT Salonspa, which has seven locations in the Twin Cities, says a technique called Balayage (see sidebar) is the best way to add flair to your hair.

Making style changes on a whim can be bad. “Don’t get an emotional haircut,” Theis says. “If you have a great relationship with your stylist, he or she will hopefully talk you off the ledge.”

To ensure that your new ’do lives up to its potential, Lesch says you must leave the salon knowing what to do. “If you don’t learn how to use the products, you won’t be able to recreate the look you achieved in the salon,” she says.

If you just can’t seem to get your hair right at home, Theis says try getting your hair blown dry and styled. “Depending on how much oil your scalp produces, you can get four to five days out of a blow-out,” Theis says. Each and every strand is blown dry with a brush and it takes around 30 minutes.

Long hair will still be strong for gals in 2009, but both Theis and Lesch agree that short cuts are on the rise. “Up to this point short hair has been messy and flipped out, but more clean and boy-like hair will emerge,” Theis says. “The bangs will be quite long, almost long enough to be swept across the forehead and tucked behind the ear.”


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