This month we take Pride in celebrating the sacrifices, accomplishments and progress of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people everywhere! As a Gay man, trainer, writer and massage therapist, I’ve been pleased and proud to serve the LGBT community in South Florida these past 14 years. In honor of Pride and all of those in our community who sweat and struggle and sacrifice to stay healthy, happy and fit, I’d like to share five steps that I believe will help you to maintain a successful fitness lifestyle for years to come.

1) Make fitness fun. There’s too much drudgery in life to make you miserable! Staying fit should be exciting, something you enjoy completely. If you can’t endure pumping iron in the gym, try running and swimming at the beach. If all those ab classes give you a pain in the backside, then try yoga or Pilates. If you feel isolated in a gym doing your own thing, then sign up for a Cross-fit challenge. It’s easier to get into the habit of staying fit, if you have a blast doing it!

2) Set fitness goals. If you set meaningful, measurable, realistic and challenging goals, you’re more likely to stick to your fitness plan and keep up the motivation. Having goals like “lose weight’ or “get toned’ aren’t enough. Be specific like, “I need to lose 10 lbs. to reach a healthy BMI” or “I want to reduce body fat by 2% in 6 weeks”.

3) Have a master plan and a workout schedule. Having a set plan means that you get to the gym on time, knowing what you’re going to do and how you’re going to achieve it. Sticking to a consistent routine will deliver visible and measurable results. Don’t just try and squeeze your workout into an already busy day. Treat it like any other important appointment in your schedule that you must keep.

4) Keep records. Your exercise routine is too important to approach it haphazardly. Maintaining some sort of training journal (a notebook in your bag, an app on your phone) is essential for keeping track of all your hard work and long hours. Log the days and the times you train, the muscle groups you work, the weights you lift, even how you feel on those days.

5) Stay focused. Although you may arrive at the gym on time and ready to get busy, it’s too easy to lose concentration! There are so many distractions- the noise, the cellphones, the hottie on the leg -press machine. Remember why you’re here. Stick to your routine. Count your reps and sets and perform each exercise with perfect form. Time rest periods between each set (30 seconds to no more than 2 minutes). Limit socializing until after you’ve accomplished your mission!

Tom Bonanti is a trainer, fitness writer, and massage therapist (MA#40288) with his own one on one gym and massage studio in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Contact Tom with feedback or questions at