Clelia Stefanini is a 30-year-old fitness coach originally from Elkins Park (but now a Nashville transplant), and she’s on a mission to reshape your fitness regimen into a fully customized exercise and lifestyle design.

Through her youth and up until age 14, Stefanini was aspiring figure skater. Starting out as a young athlete made her leap into fitness a natural progression, and when she discovered CrossFit, she fell in love with it. “I started out by drinking the CrossFit Kool-Aid. Hard,” said Stefanini.

But after a few years of coaching and participating in group classes, she was burned out, both as a coach and an athlete. “I was frustrated and burnt out and just so annoyed because I wasn’t getting the results I wanted and also didn’t feel like I was recovered,” Stefanini said.

After some soul searching and continuous professional development, Stefanini discovered a more holistic approach to personal and professional fitness. On the personal side, she learned the importance of taking care of herself first and foremost. On the professional side, she learned the importance of having frank discussions with clients. “I learned that in order to truly help my clients long-term, I needed to be more willing to have difficult conversations and start questioning belief systems and biases,” said Stefanini.

For example, she helps clients debunk fitness myths, such as: you can target fat; having a six pack makes you healthy; and you need to spend countless hours exercising to reach and maintain your fitness goals.

Today, even in the midst of the pandemic, she works with a growing book of clients, albeit remotely, on her individual program designs. Her philosophy is all about connecting with someone and seeing what works for them as an individual. “Nothing is as important as human connection,” Stefanini noted.

According to Stefanini, the key too fitness starts with undoing some of our strongly held but counterproductive beliefs. Here are her seven tips for feeling and looking better in 2021:

Get to Bed

No ifs, ands, or buts, get 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Got to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. You have to give your body time to recover and to repair. So do yourself a favor and get serious about sleep.

Drink More Water

Stefanini recommends drinking 60% of your body weight in water. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you need to consume 84 ounces of pure water per day. If you are 200 pounds, you’ll need to drink 120 ounces of water daily. But easy does it: Gradually increase your water intake by 10 ounces each week, until you get to the desired goal. Up to 60% of the human body is water - our trillions of cells require proper hydration. So get to chug-a-lugging.

Get Outside Daily

“We’re basically plants, and each and every day we need sunlight on our bare skin, ideally for 20 minutes,” Stefanini said. Even in the winter? Yes, the light and dark cycles of the sun and the human body’s circadian rhythm have powerful effects on our health and well-being.

Sit Down and Eat

Sit down and eat your meals, and chew each bite 20 to 30 times. Why? The goal is to create sufficient saliva to help absorb more nutrients, which in turn will help your digestion. Regular bowel movements are a sign of a healthy digestive system.

Meditate and/or Journal

Take the time to reflect and process every day. Meditation and/or journaling are two simple but powerful ways to manage stress and put things into perspective.

Dig Below Your Surface

Become self reflective and ask yourself why you want x and why is x important. Get beyond your surface and define your desires and purpose. Get to know your personal drivers and motivations.

Get the Support You Need

No man (or woman) is an island and having the support you need is paramount to your success. Find an accountability partner. This person can be a spouse, a buddy, or a personal coach. A strong support system can make all the difference between failure and success.