Forging a Fitness Path

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LBM_51_Active_Absolute Fitness_Celso_By Jody Tiongco-16

Personal trainer Celso Penha offers tips for maintaining exercise goals and taking training to the next level.

Section by Somer Tejwani


The new year can be a cruel time for those with good intentions of getting in shape. By February, exercise-related resolutions that are made only a month earlier are often put on the back burner as the daily grind takes its toll and priorities are readjusted.

Those who don’t want to lose steam, however, can tap a local professional to stay on track with their exercise goals. Personal trainer Celso Penha of Absolute Fitness Solutions in Laguna Beach knows from experience about adopting fitness habits that work.

Though the Brazilian-born Celso might have six-pack abs today, that wasn’t always the case. The self-described “chubby kid” made a change at 19 when he joined a gym and committed himself to getting fit. With his own successful results in place, he began analyzing what types of workout regimens he could create to help others burn fat, build muscle, improve endurance and be healthier overall. His unique mix of cardio, weight lifting, plyometric and functional exercises along with a focus on balance and core strength have devotees flocking to his personal training practice.


LBM_51_Active_Absolute Fitness_Celso_By Jody Tiongco-17Laguna Beach Magazine: Can you tell us about some of the advantages to your mix of training techniques?

Celso Penha: You burn more fat than regular workouts and you build good muscle—you are more toned and lean. We have an intensity program that improves your endurance and your capacity to lift more weights. We also focus on the core and build a good core faster, which is what everyone wants to have.


LBM: What kind of advice would you give to people who are new to working out?

CP: I recommend they start [by] first defining some goals and improving their cardio endurance; lifting weights also helps a lot. Start a program where, for at least the first two weeks, you are moving your full body and trying to find an activity you like—start climbing stairs, jogging, swimming—and when you are ready, look for a trainer that can help you achieve your goals.


LBM: It’s likely that some of your clients regularly work out before coming to you. What are some things you could do with these individuals so they can take their fitness to the next level?

CP: I try and understand what the client has been doing for the last three months and build a new program, new exercises, different weight training and analyze their diet to see where changes can be made. If they are open to it, I can recommend supplements.


LBM: What kind of gear do you suggest for working out?

CP: No jeans, no flip-flops, and I always recommend a good pair of sneakers.


LBM: Other than working with a personal trainer, what other activities do you tell clients to partake in to stay or get in shape?

CP: I recommend yoga, Pilates or hiking to some clients. I also like HIIT [high-intensity interval training] that I do with some clients and any activity where you move your body.

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