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  • Alana

Expert Corner: Joshua Cuellas

I thought it would be useful to interview an expert personal trainer for some of his best health and fitness advice. Joshua Cuellas, Professional Fitness Trainer at Cooper Fitness Center was kind enough to drop some great tips! Please check out his bio and contact information at the end of the article.


Alana: Most of my dance fitness friends do a hard cardio workout around 9 or 10 in the morning. What would you recommend they eat for breakfast and when?

Joshua: One of the first things I always tell people (and I’m not a certified nutritionist) but in my experience, when you wake up in the morning you SHOULD eat. I also tell them you should eat at least 90 minutes before you engage in activity. You don’t want to eat anything too heavy. In the morning, you’re looking at taking in a good carb – more carbs than protein – and a healthy fat. Things like almonds and yogurt are a good choice. If you wake up and go immediately to your workout, something that will digest quickly, like a piece of fruit is a good choice, just to give you energy.

A: Yes, I’ve heard that if it’s less than one hour before your workout, don’t eat anything heavy because you won’t be able to do an intense workout.

J: If you’re working out and you just ate something heavy, the body has to split blood supply to digest the food. And people wonder why when they’re working out they feel like they’re going to get sick and vomit, well the body’s now having to make a decision. Do I feed blood to your muscle tissue, or do I keep feeding it to the digestive system? And it’s going to do what it needs to do to survive – and what it needs to do to survive during a workout is to get rid of the food.

A: All right! So, ladies and gentlemen, no Chick-Fil-A right before a workout, ok?

J: Exactly, no Chick-Fil-A! And also, when you wake up, hydrate. Drink a glass of water so you can go into your workout hydrated. I would tell you not do sports drinks first thing in the morning. A lot of people are like, I’m going to take in some Gatorade to replenish my electrolytes – well, you haven’t done anything yet. What I tell clients is that if you’re going to workout more than an hour, take in Gatorade or some type of sports drink. But for a one-hour workout, if you’ve eaten and hydrated properly, you don’t need it.


A: How does aging affect food choices? Does your recommendation for food intake change based on our age?

J: Aging can bring hormonal changes and food sensitivities, so structuring your diet and learning what works best for your body is important. It’s always best to seek advice when it comes to protein and carbohydrate intake because your body does change as you age. But I would say, in the morning you’re going to want those carbohydrates because you’ll use them as fuel for your muscle tissue. And then you’ll want to bring in proteins when you’re done so you’ll have it for helping the muscle to recuperate and regenerate, and carbohydrates to offer you more energy.

I would like to see a client adopt a healthier lifestyle as opposed to try a “diet”. We need to learn moderation, and learn to decrease consumption of empty calories such as sodas and alcohol. Understand that there is a lot of overconsumption in today’s society and if we can moderate our food intake, we will become healthier.


A: What are some things we can do to prevent injury so we can continue to do the workouts we enjoy?

J: Over time, muscle tissue, ligaments and tendons tend to break down and wear down. So, it’s important to maintain the body. Good nutrition is part of that, but also proper stretching and myofascial release tactics are great. It’s also important to balance cardio with stretching and resistance training, especially as we age. As we get older, we lose muscle mass, so we want to be able to maintain that because that’s going to keep you up on your feet and keep you moving. If you start feeling an injury, it’s important to address it right away. I tell people to follow the RICE method: rest, ice, compression and elevation. When you start feeling joints hurting, I really recommend icing. I also always tell people it’s better to take off in the short term and heal, rather than making an injury worse and creating a long-term problem.


A: So speaking of stretching, what are some stretches you would recommend, especially for people who do moderate to high impact cardio?

J: When we think about dancing, or other higher impact cardio such as running, I always tell my clients, if the wheels go, you’re in trouble. So take care of your feet. One of the best things you can do is get a baseball, lacrosse ball or even a tennis ball and roll out the bottoms of your feet. Release the fascia down there and that will help with mobility issues in your ankle. If your ankles are not moving well, you want to release the tissue in your feet and calves. Use balls or foam rollers. And when you rollout, make sure you’re rolling muscle tissue and not crossing joints. I also suggest foam rolling the quadriceps and hamstrings as well as the upper back. Stretching wise, calf stretches are really good. If you don’t feel it, bend the knee a little bit.


A: We’ve already touched on a lot of great advice and tips from you, but is there any other advice you have for active adults?

J: I would say do your research. One of the things that’s hard in the current era with Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and social media in general is that everyone presents themselves as a fitness expert. People are promoting pre-workouts, proteins, supplements – and what’s hard is to look at someone who has a million followers and they’re taking this or that, but most likely they’re getting paid to promote it. Whether it’s right for you or good for you is a whole different ballgame, so I always suggest that you do your research.

To be healthy and stay active, the best thing to do is moderate your food, hydrate, take care of your body and if you’re going to try something – do your research or find someone who knows. You can always email me and I can find the right person. One of the great things about working at Cooper is I can consult with all of these professionals including certified nutritionists to get a good answer for people.

Thanks so much to Josh for taking the time to give us all of this great information! If you’d like to get in contact with him, please see the information below.

  • Joshua Cuellas

  • Professional Fitness Trainer at Cooper Fitness Center Dallas for 12 years

  • Contact:

  • For more information about Josh

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