As the holiday season wraps up and six weeks of self-indulgence have taken their toll, people approach the New Year with resolve to eat better, start exercising, and focus on health. Folks swarm the gyms and fitness centers around Fort Wayne, but after a few weeks, the resolve fades and the trips to the gym become fewer and farther between.
There are ways to avoid those pitfalls and all over Fort Wayne, fitness instructors and wellness directors help their clients to overcome their slow slide back into their bad habits.
Jason Minich began as a personal trainer when that mostly consisted of taking weights and a jump rope to the homes of his clients.
Now the owner of Catalyst Fitness, which has three locations in the city, Minich takes a proactive approach with his members.
“We’ve always stayed pretty steady over the years,” he said. “But we do see more membership signups during the January and New Year’s rush. Those who are already members will recommit to it. But we try to be different, and if we see someone isn’t using their membership and we haven’t seen them in awhile, we’ll give them a call and see how they’re doing.”
At Catalyst, there tends to be a fall off around March and April when nicer weather and spring break may interrupt their fitness schedule. Still others might notice a drop off even sooner, which may come from tackling too much too soon.
“Finding the time and making it a habit is hard,” said Ben Linehan, wellness director at the downtown YMCA. “What makes that easier is making smaller goals. Smaller goals give you a better chance of succeeding, but a lot of people make larger goals that may take months or years to achieve. If you start achieving the smaller goals, you’ll feel like you’re getting quick results. Some people come in here and try to do boot camp when they aren’t ready, so it’s difficult and not fun. If you beat your body up, then you’re more likely to quit.”
Be a successful ‘resolutionist’
Lisa Click, group fitness director at Spiece Fitness, has been teaching for almost 30 years. But she had an experience recently which made her understand what January warriors — or, as she calls them, Resolutionists — often face when they try to do too much.
“I went to a trainer to get a new weight training routine,” Click said. “And he pushed too hard even though I told him not to, and I couldn’t walk the next day. I’ve been in the fitness industry since 1992, and I have 20 different certifications, so that gave me some perspective on how people feel when they come in and try to do too much before they’re ready. They need to reach out to someone like me who can help them get started.”
One word repeated again and again by fitness instructors is accountability. There are a number of ways to make that part of a successful exercise regimen.
“Our group fitness classes are driven by music and are timed so you know what to expect,” Click said. “It’s easier to make an appointment with yourself if you know the instructor and the others in your class. If you just go to the gym and jump on the treadmill — or as I call it the dreadmill — or lift weights and leave, you aren’t really being held accountable. But if it becomes a social event where you know people you see in class all the time, you’re more likely to keep going back.”
“We have 65 group exercise classes at the Y,” said Linehan. “They start at 5 a.m. and go until 7:45 p.m. We have boot camp, cycling, Zumba, yoga, Pilates, and anything in between, so everyone should be able to find something that they enjoy.”
“Sticking to a routine means making a lot of little decisions everyday,” Minich said. “And accountability is definitely the difference in succeeding. Don’t do it alone. Do it with a spouse or someone who is going to keep you going. Make an appointment with a trainer. Having someone to check in with makes a big difference.”
Working with a personal trainer takes accountability to a new level since there’s no hiding if you don’t show up. Leah Eber has many clients who work with her even if they have gym memberships.
“They may not even be using those memberships because using the treadmill or lifting weights may not be keeping them motivated,” she said. “With a trainer, there’s an accountability factor, and it’s more personalized. You have to find something that they’re passionate about because they’ll stick with it if it becomes fun for them.”
Eber was recently named store operator for iCryo, a cryotherapy center which opens in the spring of this year. The business is owned by Jaylon Smith, former football standout at Bishop Luers and Notre Dame and now a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys.
Eber will continue working with her clients and echoes the sentiments of other instructors about making realistic goals.
“Don’t bite off more than you can chew,” she said. “Make goals, but keep them realistic.”
Being realistic also means not looking for immediate results. And don’t think it’s going to feel good right away. Starting is the hard part, but giving it a fair chance is the best way to stick with it for the long haul.
“The first six weeks are hard,” Click said. “You’re going to be cranky, you’re going to be hungrier than usual, you’re going to be tired. You don’t feel the benefits right away because your body is mad at you. That’s why a low to moderate routine is best for beginners. Let your instructors or your trainer help you because if you stick with it, you’ll become addicted to it. Find something you enjoy, make it fun, and then it’ll be the best hour of your day.”
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