People's opinions vary greatly on virtually each subject, and it's no different when it comes to fitness and health: some personal trainers hold the "no pain, no gain" attitude, others take a different approach. I've been speaking to certified personal trainers to understand their philosophies on health and fitness. These stories are not intended as endorsements, they are just an exercise (no pun intended!) to clarify the variety of thoughts and approaches of those trained to help us get into better shape.

Phyllis Frost has been in the fitness business for more than 30 years. She was hooked, she says, from the minute she attended her first aerobics class in the 1980s.

"I stepped into that class and just loved it," she said. "I went back every day, week after week, and they told me I should teach it," she said with a laugh. "So I started to."

Fast forward, and she's busy teaching her Fit Body By Phyl -six weeks to your best body program -and boot camp program at different West Island locations, with personal training sessions in between.

Her philosophy: "Wellness: body, mind and spirit." Frost said she believes that when "your body is in tune, you feel fine inside, and you're truly comfortable with who you are." She is passionate and committed to helping people get better health. "If I won the lottery, I'd do it for free, I swear."

She said she doesn't believe in dieting. "You have to eat food in every food group, but you have to learn correct portions." That's why you should always measure things like pasta or rice, so you know what the proper portion size is, she said. "You pile them on without knowing and next thing you know you've eaten double or even triple the correct portion size."

Most people, she said, particularly women, don't get enough protein in their diet, which she said is essential to muscle growth and maintenance. "The more lean body mass a person has, the more capability the body has to burn fat even when inactive."

And she's cautious about any diet that eliminates food groups. "They may work primarily, but maintaining the results are statistically unsuccessful."

Instead of deprivation, Frost suggested people live consciously. "It's unconscious behaviours that get you into trouble."

Put the fork down after every bite, she said: "It takes time, but you're far more aware of how you're feeling and better able to gauge your hunger."

Frost also said that when eating, it's always best to consume the protein and vegetables first, carbs last. "We always have room for the carbs, but its protein that fills us up longer."

When it comes to exercise, Frost said most people feel they have to spend hours a day in the gym in order to have a fit body but she doesn't subscribe to that. "High intensity interval training is the method to go if you're aiming for fat loss."

The goal is to get the heart rate up. She suggested 30 minutes a day, six days a week. "On the seventh day, you rest."

Frost is mainly enamoured with all-encompassing exercises combining elements of muscle-building, flexibility and cardio. "That's getting the best bang for your buck."

If weight loss is your goal, Frost said, your eating has to support the workout. "There's no sense in getting in a good workout and then flopping on the couch and eating crap. You've just defeated all the hard job you've done."

And change up your exercise, she advised. Too often, people stop working out because they get bored of their programs. "That's why it's so important to find something you love to do, have fun with it and you'll want to maintain."