By Becky Roozen Published Mar 28, 2005 at 5:27 AM

{image1} I once read that it takes 21 days to form a habit. More often than not, the worst part about dropping the old ways and enforcing the new is getting started. And if you're like the horde of other Milwaukeeans who have all the right intentions of hopping the hairy hurdle of a sedentary lifestyle but seem to be stuck in the starting blocks, maybe it's time to turn to the experts.

She's not a magical genie or a spitting image of Superman, but nutritionist, yoga, Pilates and aerobics instructor, post-rehab and pre- and post-natal exercise specialist, personal trainer and owner and director of Core Concepts, Inc., 807 N. Jefferson St., Andrea Dow can certainly shine some light on your shady fitness track.

With a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison -- she graduated with honors -- and extensive hours of training behind all the above titles, Dow's advice and instruction could give you that kick in the butt you've been looking for.

"I try to motivate my clients by always having variety in their workout including basic fundamental movements with some degree of repetition," says Dow. "My goal is to keep people motivated, so I show them a variety of things so they stay challenged."

One key training technique, Dow says, is to re-introduce traditional fitness finds. It's easy to plop down on the seated weight machines, but they don't help as much as we'd like to think.

"We're adding a lot of different dimension to help develop the muscles," she says. "Seldom do we sit and build strength. We need our bodies to move through all the different levels and ranges of motion. Get away from seated machines and back to old-fashioned exercises where you're forced to use your core muscles."

Dow says she'd like to give all fitness aficionados a few tips because they're often spending so much time on machines that are preventing them from bringing out their best bods.

"Watching these people when they're working out is hard sometimes," says Dow. "I think, 'if they only knew a few exercises that would help them.'" And that's what a personal trainer is for.

"A good trainer shouldn't feel like they have to keep you on retention for years," she says. "A great start and just a checkup every now and then is enough."

And there's no time like the present, Dow says, for Milwaukeeans to get moving. "I'm in Colorado right now and it seems that absolutely every single person is outside doing something. And we're not like the coasts who are into all the latest fitness crazes," she says. "It's a little more of a challenge, because things catch on a bit slower here."

But those who are catching on are all ages, shapes and sizes. "I definitely see the gamut. I have an 85-year-old, (the) sweetest woman in the world, come in, so the age range is a wide variety.

"And there are those who've really not done much before, people who've never exercised, but it's never too late," Dow adds.

She says people often think they need to get in shape before they go see a personal trainer because they are embarrassed or feel they need to impress them. But they shouldn't be doing that, says Dow, "That's my job!"

And there's no need to commit to the ever-changing fast track of fitness trends, she says. If you're thinking, "What's the best thing I should be doing?" Dow says, "Well, whatever you like! It doesn't have to be the latest craze. If you like to ride your bike, get out there and ride your bike. And now with spring on the way, it should be a little bit easier."

For more information on Andrea Dow, go to And look for a biweekly health tip from Dow in future editions of "Fitness Buffet."