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Stay warm, avoid germs and eat right to stay healthy, says Dani McGuire, instructor at Pranayoga School of Yoga.

Strengthen your health

Fitness trainers share ideas for avoiding illness

On McGuire’s menu: Fresh-pressed juice with ginger.
Don’t skimp on liquids or sleep, says Rhys Barnhart at Max Fitness on Illinois Road.

Yoga instructor Dani McGuire “deals with hundreds of bodies a week.” In addition, she has two small children at home.

The sweating, germy gym environment and all those sniffling clients put her, as well as other area fitness trainers, in danger of getting the flu or common cold.

Staying healthy this time of year is a challenge for fitness trainers as well as us regular people. They offer their advice on how they do it:

Eat right

McGuire, founder of Pranayoga School of Yoga on Lafayette Street, suggests that people try to keep a healthy lifestyle all year long. Part of that is eating right.

McGuire drinks fresh-pressed juices to which she adds ginger to help boost the immune system. She also says to eat protein to help stay strong.

Drink plenty of fluids, says Rhys Barnhart, general manager of Max Fitness on Illinois Road.

Staying well hydrated is part of overall health, especially in the winter, when people don’t tend to sweat as much, experts say.

Nikki Wilson, a trainer at Planet Fitness on West Jefferson Boulevard, tries to maintain a healthy diet, which includes incorporating a lot of vitamin C. For her, that means drinking orange juice and taking a supplement.

Wash hands (and equipment)

When at the gym or fitness center, make sure to wipe down the machines before using them, and wash your hands frequently, Barnhart says. He says maintaining general hygiene habits is important.

Because she comes in contact with a lot of germs, Wilson washes her hands after every training session and uses antibacterial products, she says.

Get sleep

Good sleep is especially important when the body is surrounded by germs, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Barnhart says to get the recommended eight hours of sleep to help the body fight off illness.

Stay warm

Wear warm clothes to the gym and bundle up after you leave, Barnhart says. He says many people believe that because they are warm from working out, they don’t have to dress warmly when leaving.

Just remember that it’s cold out there, and the sweat on your body will evaporate in the cold air, causing your body to overcool too quickly, experts say.

In addition, staying warm helps “keep us grounded,” McGuire says. “It doesn’t prevent viruses, but it helps us stay centered.”


Exercise helps your body get and stay strong. Barnhart says to stay consistent in working out and to do different things to challenge yourself.

Wilson says she works out at least once a day and five days a week.

Reduce stress

“I’m a recovering people-pleaser,” McGuire says. So she works on not taking on too much and making herself happy to prevent stress.

McGuire meditates in the morning, which helps create more space in her head, and has less stress during the day, she says.

“People realize the effects of taking time for yourself,” she says.