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OSU alum tailors workout plans dressed with nutrition and exercise

Marcia Gustafson Class of 2003

Marcia Richardson, now Marcia Gustafson, is a well loved personal trainer with great experience who graduated from OSU in 2003 . She became interested in nutrition when she started working at Wild Oats, a natural grocery store, in Eugene during college. There was so much information, free for the taking, about health and wellness and making informed decisions about food. “I never put any thought into it before,” she says. Before long, she transferred to OSU and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics.

Her favorite times, while studying Nutrition at OSU, were the many meetings with her study group. They became fairly close over the last two years in the program. She says, “We would do potluck study groups and make jokes about everything, oh and we learned a lot about nutrition, too”.  She sometimes wonders how many of her peers continued on to have a nutrition-related career.

Her first fitness job at 24 Hour Fitness wasn’t a perfect fit, but the experience led her to a certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, which she earned and put to work. Her specialty became fat loss and pain reduction. After two years in Gold Beach, working with clients one-on-one, family ties in Astoria led her here. Marcia found work at the Astoria Coop, helping customers choose supplements to help them with their health concerns. And it was there that she met her husband, Chris Gustafson.

He hadn’t given nutrition much thought until they met. “Now” Marcia says, “he’s found out he’s quite the gourmet chef with whole foods – lucky me!!!!

She’s been working on her own, doing personal training for individuals since they had their son, Donevan, who is now two. “I would like to help as many people as I can gain more knowledge in proper exercising and nutrition,” she says.

Marcia says that the biggest hurdle to getting and staying fit is ‘all or nothing’ thinking. “You can’t think you’ve lost it all after making one or two mistakes”, she says. Marcia has helped clients in Astoria – from high schoolers to retirees – work on strengthening their bodies and shifting their lifestyles to include more exercise and healthy eating. “If you’re looking for a permanent change, don’t think it will happen overnight”, she says. “It can take the body a year to really transform.”

Often, clients report feeling stronger and less pain, clothes fitting better within the first two weeks of exercising, Marcia says.  She gets clients started with a free assessment, helping them set a goal of something they’ve always wanted to do but felt they probably couldn’t. “For some it’s a cart wheel, for others, skydiving,” Marcia says. She tailors a workout plan to correct alignment, strengthen and then moves on to a power phase.

Using sleep and water consumption as the backbone, Marcia adds tips on diet and lifestyle as needed. One misconception folks have about healthy eating is that you have to spend hours chopping and cooking to eat healthy, she says. “My number one goal is to spend the least amount of time in the kitchen”. Clients get a repertoire of “healthy fast food” recipes that are a snap to make.

Marcia meets clients at a local gym or at home, as often as three times a week.“They can use me as much or as little as needed,” she says. “The work is incredibly rewarding, and even the smallest steps toward goals are precious, I love that every time they come in they report success.” Ultimately, though, what makes her most proud is when clients don’t need her anymore. Marcia says, “The goal is not to keep them. It’s to set them free as soon as possible.”

Marcia can be reached at (503) 325-8201 or at the Body Dynamics Fitness Facebook Page

Commentary by Deeda Schroeder