Hello, YouBeauty readers! My name is Tracy, and I love what I do: I help people live better by guiding them to become and stay fit.I believe, with the right information, you can become your own best personal trainer. You know your own body better than anyone, and the single most important aspect of any fitness program is that you are actually motivated to follow it because it belongs to you. In order to succeed you need to be equipped with fundamental principles and perspectives regarding exercise and fitness.Then you are free to apply them in a way that works for you.In this column, I won’t lecture you about what specific type of exercise you should be doing (other than the broad categories to address) or insist that you do the same type of workouts I do. What you do depends on your preferences, your body structure, your environment and your health. Many, many paths lead to fitness. You need to find out what path works for you.My goal is to help you with your goals, not to judge the value of those goals. So whether you want to whittle your waist, lower your blood sugar levels without medication or decrease back pain, I will help guide your exercise choices.I will also give specific exercise suggestions based on science and experience, and work to clear up some common exercise-related misconceptions. I’ll sift through the trade journals and scientific literature and discuss it with you from a practical perspective.As for my own feelings about exercise…I love it. I appreciate it for how it makes me feel and for what it allows me to do. My husband and I have eight children. Many of you know that the demands of parenthood can rival those of an athlete any day of the week. We have a 15-year-old daughter who is severely disabled. I lift her into and out of a wheelchair, bathe her and carry her up and down stairs. I could never do it without being basically fit. My mother, in another stage of life, cared for all four of my grandparents, one after the other. I saw her hoist, transfer, turn and stabilize them.Life, in all of its stages, is a sport.But no matter your situation, life simply demands a level of fitness, and the more fit you are, the more you can accomplish and the easier it will be. You can run faster to make an event or appointment, heave the 40-pound bag of cat litter into the shopping cart, lift a mattress corner to tuck in a sheet or toss your carry-on into the overhead. Being fit makes it all easier.While I recognize and value exercise for its capacity to make people look better, I value it more for its ability to help people live better. And when I see the effects of exercise improving people’s lives—inspiring a sense of wellbeing and confidence, enabling someone to remain independent, helping someone handle stress, giving a person the energy to meet the demands of life, enabling someone to lose burdening weight and then carry the remaining weight with more grace and efficiency—I realize that living well is beautiful.Beauty is less about the shape of your nose, the size of your hips or the arch of your eyebrows, and more about how you respect and care for what you have.Over the coming months, I look forward to getting to know you and to providing some guidance in your quest for beauty, however you define it. Feel free to ask a question in the comment section below, or let me know if you would like a certain topic addressed. Let’s make the world a more beautiful place, one muscle at a time.