Maruchy Lachance is president of Running Ninja!, a lifestyle brand for runners by runners. Running Ninja! offwidth=300ers a wide variety of apparel and gifts for runners to keep you happy and inspired while you're on the run.

Since joining the health and fitness world I have been privy to lots of great advice, inspiration and education. But, some of the most valuable information I've gotten comes from those just starting on their journey.

There is something very genuine and exciting about a person who has resolved to improve their lives through health and fitness. And while those of us who have been walking the walk are tempted to guide them, sometimes we are best served to just listen to them.

One of my favorite things to discuss with beginners is the ways they've altered their favorite foods. One friend was terribly addicted to sodas, consuming at least two liters a day. Realizing she had to relinquish her favorite drink that cost her about 800 calories per day, she replaced it with sparkling water. To give it some flavor she would add a splash of cranberry or orange juice or a squeeze of lime. Another friend stopped adding the usual breadcrumbs to his meatloaf and replaced it with oatmeal.

Food is not the only place people had to get creative in order to improve their overall health. Being an exercise enthusiast, I was particularly interested in how these dedicated individuals took the same old exercises and made them work for them.

A busy single working mom of two decided to incorporate exercise throughout the day instead of just dedicating a block of time to fitness. She started off every morning on the floor. She would literally roll out of bed and do 20 push-ups. While the coffee brewed, she would do 20 squats. At the office she would park far away and use the stairs.  She would do jumping jacks in the stairwell and more squats in the break room.

Although there are a lot of plans and systems designed to help you get in shape, nothing will ever compete with your common sense and creativity. Remember, the best way to insure your diet and fitness/ plan will work is to customize it to you and your lifestyle!

Reprinted from DietsinReview