Local fitness trainer reflects on her new book and offers tips for the New Year

Cheryl Keaney has worn a lot of hats over the years: competitive bodybuilder, personal trainer, entrepreneur, newspaper columnist, mentor — the list goes on. It was last year that Keaney put on yet another hat, realizing one of her long-held goals of becoming a published author. Her book, “Mind over Muffin Top: The Inspiration to Get on Track, the Knowledge to Stay on Track and the Mindset to Achieve Your Goals,” was released in May 2021.

Cheryl Keaney has been a competitive bodybuilder, personal trainer, entrepreneur, newspaper columnist, mentor, and, now, author.Residents of the Blue Water Area might already be familiar with Keaney. Currently a health mentor at St. Clair County Community Mental Health, Keaney can still be found at area gyms like Afterburn Fitness Club in Port Huron, where she had her book-signing party. She sold her own gym, Buff Bodies in Marysville, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. And her newspaper column, “Matter of Fat,” ran in The Times Herald for about five years.

It’s the column that led to her writing “Mind over Muffin Top,” a holistic approach to getting — and staying — in shape. This isn’t a diet book, she says, but a motivational one. Personal fitness, for all its benefits for the body, starts in the mind.

“There’s not just one thing or one tip that is the end-all, be-all fix; it’s a combination of factors. I wanted to write something to inspire people, to movitave them. I wanted to provide that ‘Aha!’ moment for people,” says Keaney.

“And this time of year, people have their New Year’s resolutions and goals but have problems sticking to those goals.”

It helps to think of your body as a house, she says. Start with a solid foundation and build the pillars of diet and exercise atop it, with the roof resting on the pillars being your mindset. All these different factors work together in striving toward fitness; take one away and the house begins to shake.

“Think of your body as the only place you have to live,” she says.

“Mind over Muffin Top: The Inspiration to Get on Track, the Knowledge to Stay on Track and the Mindset to Achieve Your Goals,” was released in May 2021.Keaney’s book is all about mindset. Indeed, the title itself is a playful take on the old “mind over matter” adage. Keaney hopes to help readers identify and address the underlying issues that lead to poor health decisions. We all know that eating fast food is unhealthy, so why do we do it? Often, the reasons come down to something much deeper, factors like poor time management skills and bad sleeping habits. Addressing those issues first will lead to better health choices later.

“Especially this time of year, with it getting dark earlier and it being so cold out, the best thing people can do to help their depression and health is to go for a walk,” says Keaney. “But it’s when people need it the most that it can be the hardest time to do it.”

Keaney highly recommends that people engage their fitness goals with a trainer, professionals found at local gyms that can help them get the most out of their workouts. About 80 percent of the people Keaney sees at the gym are exercising incorrectly, she estimates, putting in hours of wasted time and energy. She also encourages people to learn about why personal fitness is important, something that she believes will inspire them to make the changes necessary for a healthier, happier life.

“Mind over Muffin Top” aims to do just that. The book can be purchased online, but Keaney hopes that people will venture out to one of the local shops that carry it, a list that includes Exquisite Corpse Coffee House, Nature’s Living Bounty, and Weekends in Port Huron. The book is also available at the Weekends location in Lexington.

“I’m a big supporter and believer of local businesses. I had one myself and I’m always trying to do what I can to get people to support local,” says Keaney. “I know how much hard work it takes.”

Visit www.mindovermuffintop.com for more fitness tips and tricks from author, mentor, and trainer Cheryl Keaney.