Exercise boost — keys to keeping with the program

How are those new 2014 workouts going? Need a little inspiration boost? We talked to four prominent trainers and fitness personalities in hopes of finding keys to helping you work out — successfully — for years to come.

Harley Pasternak, 39, has trained superstars including Lady Gaga and is a bestselling author whose latest title is "The Body Reset Diet." He has a master's in exercise physiology and nutrition sciences from the University of Toronto.

Americans are over-exercising and underactive, Pasternak says. And we're getting mixed signals about fitness and health. "The more that science tells us that shorter, simple workouts and lower intensity daily activity are the best way for us to get healthy and stay healthy, the more we are bombarded by fitness programs and diets that delineate the exact opposite," he says.

"It's hard enough to go from being sedentary to being active, but asking people to hoist a barbell over their heads, hoist boat anchors and hip-hop dance till they throw up is the exact opposite of what we need to be doing."

What we need to do is be active all day, Pasternak explains. It's the "boring" advice we've been given for years: Park a couple of blocks away from the destination. Skip the escalator. Take walks.

Pasternak says he does 15 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of weights each day, and he walks as much as possible to stay in shape. His latest book, "The Body Reset Diet," includes a 15-day "anticleanse" with a daily regimen of three meals, two snacks, 10,000 steps or five miles, and brief amounts of resistance work.

But he warns: "Ten thousand steps is not enough to make up for a bad diet. The 10 healthiest countries all take more steps than we do. And they don't know what a ThighMaster is."

What two or three words best describe your approach to fitness?

Science, efficiency.

If you could have just one piece of equipment, what would it be?

My Fitbit [a wearable fitness tracker — Pasternak endorses it].

Whom do you admire in the fitness world?

Mike Mentzer, an intellectual bodybuilder from the 1970s and '80s. And Ira Jacobs, my graduate supervisor.

What's the biggest mistake newcomers to fitness make, and how could they avoid it?

Too much too fast too soon. And the lack of a plan. You need a strategy that is safe and effective.

What innovations or ideas interest you?

Move all day.

Wisconsin native Lacey Stone, 33, played basketball at the University of Maine at Orono and parlayed that into becoming a sought-after trainer and fitness businesswoman, with classes in Los Angeles and New York. She specializes in athletic outdoor BootyCamp workouts and indoor cycling (in Los Angeles, at Flywheel). Oh, and fun. She runs, hikes and plays tennis.

Stone is tall, blond, fit and smiles all the time. "It oozes out of my pores that I want you to have fun," she says, alluding to her peppy, encouraging style of teaching.