New Year, New You

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 28, 2008

Now that the fudge is gone and the ham and turkey have been turned into sandwiches, the focus of many has turned from the kitchen to the gym.

The changing of the calendar year is under a week a way, and with it comes a multitude of New Year’s resolutions.

One of the most popular is always the “new year, new you” resolution — a commitment to better health and fitness.

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But, reaching that goal isn’t always easy, and that can lead to frustration and discouragement, local experts said.

“It is hard to get into the gym in January and February (because of the crowds), but when March rolls around it starts to thin out and you start seeing the normal crowds again,” said Aaron Kelly, manager of Anytime Fitness in Vidalia. “People usually stay committed about eight weeks.”

Kelly said the time frame of the fall-off is understandable because those working out don’t see immediate results. He tells Anytime Fitness members to expect small results within the first month but to not be surprised if they don’t see changes for the next few weeks.

“That is usually a time when your body will plateau out,” Kelly said. “But once you push past that, after three to five months, you will really see results.”

While fitness goals can be hard to attain, there are a few steps that can make the workout a little easier. The Web site suggests a few steps to making New Year’s resolutions become New Year’s realities.

First, the Web site suggests creating a plan that entails setting goals with a plan in mind.

According to the site, “setting a goal without formulating a plan is merely wishful thinking.”

Kelly said having a goal is important, but making sure the goals are reachable is the real key. He said that as an avid exerciser and also a fitness trainer it is important to know your body.

“Something that I do personally is to set attainable goals,” Kelly said. “What I mean is you have people that come in that want to look like something in particular but haven’t exercised a day in their life.”

Kelly said members like that are typically the ones that get frustrated and abandon their goals all together.

“They say they are going to work out five or six days a week for two hours at a time, but the body can’t handle that,” he said. “What we try to coach is to work out two or three times a week for 30 minutes a session to get your body used to it and then see what you can increase to.”

Another part of setting attainable goals is realizing that those goals will take time. Unrealistic expectations in a short period of time are one of the biggest factors in discouragement.

Kelly said it isn’t uncommon for people to come in with a specific look in mind but not reach it because they get discouraged.

“It takes time to look like that. What I preach is being process oriented as opposed to result oriented,” Kelly said. “Focus on the process and really get that down instead of saying ‘I’ve got to lose 30 pounds or have six-pack abs.’”

The process, according to Kelly, is setting up a regular exercise routine and learning the proper exercises and techniques for the individual.

“Doing it right and doing it well — that is what is key.” Kelly said. also suggest that recording your resolution and putting plan in a writing is a good way to stay focused on the goal.

Kelly suggests that with fitness goals, a human reminder is better than a written one. One key factor in success, he said, is finding a friend to work out with.

“Having a workout or accountability partner that you exercise with and that keeps you in check really helps in the motivating process to get in the gym and exercise,” he said.

But at Anytime Fitness, the trainers and staff are doing their part to motivate gym members as well. They are having a biggest loser competition that is modeled after the television show. Kelly said rankings in different exercise categories will be posted on the walls of the facility, and looking at the ranking should be a motivator for people.

“Keeping up with the miles your walked or ran and posting them, that silently motives others into keeping their goals,” he said. “We are all competitive by nature.

“If I see my name under so-and-so’s, that will motivate me to come back.”