It was a victory moment. Russell Heins was smiling at himself in a 10 by 8-inch mirror, finally proud of the way he looked in a t-shirt and flexing biceps from his dedicated daily workouts. Several months before, he’d set his sights on becoming a better person, looking great and thinking he might even be able to score a date with a beautiful lady. He finally was seeing the results of hard work and dedication to his personal well-being.

Today, Heins is the Remington Suite Hotel & Spa’s fitness director and in-house certified personal trainer, helping people in Shreveport meet their fitness goals. Back when Heins stood in front of that mirror many years ago, he was an inmate at a correctional facility serving time for a series of DUIs and a string of mistakes following years of partying hard.

“I was doing my party thing and my competitive spirit was buried under everything else. Once I let that go, all those positive spirits and motivation just came right back. And I never looked back,” said Heins. “I got out and took my life into my own hands. I finally decided to do something about it. Fitness is just one part, but it is a huge part of the person I am now.” He regularly competes in competitions like the Dallas Spartan race (finishing 9th overall) and the Heroes Run (finishing 5th overall).

By the end of his sentence, Heins had started training his fellow inmates, who saw his results and wanted to achieve the same goals. The experience inspired him to make a professional change and pursue his certification in personal training. In his new life, Heins brings his passionate spirit and determination to the Remington’s gym members and his personal training clients.

Nestled between office towers in downtown Shreveport at 220 Travis Street, the Remington boasts incredible amenities for guests and locals alike: a full-service salon/spa, beautiful event spaces, daily happy hours and newly renovated suites. A hidden gym for locals is managed by Heins, and features an indoor pool, an array of workout machines, free weights, wet/dry sauna and luxurious locker rooms.

“It’s a completely unique spot in the middle of downtown Shreveport. It’s beautiful. The facilities are great,” says Heins of the Remington’s offerings, which he says are the perfect complement for the kind of personalized attention needed by his personal training clients and the privacy gym-goers seek.

Heins explains: “Lots of people starting out in fitness are afraid of big gyms. Sometimes people are embarrassed or intimidated by larger gyms because they don’t know what they are doing or are ashamed of what they may look like. They think everybody in the gym is in good shape so they automatically exclude themselves from the gym altogether.” Heins recommends remembering that everyone begins somewhere and finding a fitness routine that supports your goals is step one in a long journey.

top tips for finding a fitness routine this spring:

Find motivation. Starting with a short run or a short walk? Put on your favorite playlist or audiobook. Enlist a friend to go with you. Find a photo of someone with the kind of physique you want and use it for inspiration. Start small—even just walking around the block at lunch can be a great beginning to a long-term fitness plan.

No pain no gain. If you feel discouraged by muscle fatigue after working out, give yourself an extra day of rest. But remember, that small discomfort and soreness means you’re building muscle. Set your own pace for recovery so you don’t lose hope.

Get your heart rate up. By raising your heart rate above the normal resting rate, your body burns calories and body fat while improving cardiovascular health. Ask your doctor or a trainer to help you determine a target rate for your workouts.

Choose the right workout location. Even if it’s just walking outdoors in your neighborhood or working out to YouTube videos in your living room, find a workout location that works for you. When choosing a gym, find one that’s conveniently located and is clean. Check behind treadmills and look below machines to see if the gym is up to your cleanliness standards.

Do you find Heins’ spirited approach to fitness contagious? Get a membership to the Remington’s gym ($50/month) or book a series of personal training sessions. More info at remingtonsuite.com/fitness.

Meet Your Spring Fitness Goal

Russell Heins shares his recommended fitness approach for these common goals:

Reduce Stress

“Use the elliptical or the treadmill. It takes your mind off of what’s going on and you can listen to music. You just get on, press quick start and just start walking or running. 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes at a time is a good beginning.”

Look Great In A Swimsuit

“Start by improving your diet and ask a doctor for recommendations. Jump rope, jumping jacks, mountain climbers are all good beginner exercises. Don’t rest too much between sets to keep your heart rate up.”

Combat The Effects Of Aging

“Don’t get into the gym and lift a million pounds. Just go in and focus to using your muscle. Try squats, push-ups, upper press, curls and sit-ups to start. Focus on all your main muscle groups: core, shoulders, chest, legs and back.”