Work It! The New Year’s Shaping Up

Every crumb of the last of the holiday cookies has been eaten. Tables laden with calorie-ridden dishes have been cleared and the last glass of champagne has been raised to toast the New Year. Now, the moment of truth has come, and that New Year’s resolution is staring many of us in the face. Statistically, the most popular resolution is to lose weight and get fit. And it’s time to get started! My City Magazine caught up with Samantha Mahler, a Certified Personal Trainer with Genesys Athletic Club for some tips and advice on making it happen.

Tip 1

Photo by Michael Gleason

Photo by Michael Gleason

Set realistic goals
“Everyone makes New Year’s resolutions,” says Sam, “but you have to be realistic.” The key to making and sustaining a change is to set goals that are attainable. Sam says if your resolution is unrealistic, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Instead, work gradually. Rather than launching into an ambitious daily exercise regimen, start with just two or three times a week. Also, it’s important to think long-term. “Set goals that will make you healthy for a lifetime rather than just fulfilling a New Year’s resolution,” Sam advises.

Tip 2

Photo by Michael Gleason

Photo by Michael Gleason

Pick an exercise/fitness program you enjoy doing
“It you don’t like it, you won’t do it,” Sam stated. There are many different types of exercise and fitness programs to choose from, and a novice may have to try a few different options before finding one that fits. She also suggests using the buddy system. If you commit yourself to working out with a friend, it can not only be more fun, but it also keeps you accountable to your obligation.

Tip 3

Photo by Michael Gleason

Photo by Michael Gleason

Don’t get discouraged
“If you miss one day of working out, don’t stop!” Sam says encouragingly. “Forgive yourself and treat tomorrow as a new day and a new start.”

Tip 4

Photo by Michael Gleason

Photo by Michael Gleason

Reward yourself
“When you reach a fitness goal, celebrate it!” exclaimed Sam. And the reward doesn’t have to be a double cheeseburger and fries. Buy yourself a new workout shirt or something else that makes you happy.

Tip 5

Photo by Michael Gleason

Photo by Michael Gleason

Set SMART goals
Example: I will walk 1 mile three times per week.
M— Make your goal MEASURABLE.
Example: I will spend 20 minutes a day working out.
A — Make your goal ATTAINABLE.
Example: I have a plan to work up to daily exercise.
Will your goal will improve your long-term health?
T — Create a TIME frame in which to reach your fitness goal.

A good exercise program includes:

For Adults

1. Cardiovascular Workout

ACSM guidelines call for 30 minutes of some form of cardio exercise (walking, biking, swimming or running) five times per week. “The good thing is that it doesn’t have to be done all at one time,” says Sam. “You can break it down into ten-minute increments.” The activity also doesn’t have to be done in a workout setting. “Clean your house the old-fashioned way,” laughs Sam. “Get down on your hands and knees and scrub that floor!”
Other good cardio workouts: kickboxing, Zumba Fitness
Machines good for cardio: stair-stepper, elliptical, arc trainer

2. Strength/Resistance Training

Free weights, barbells, body weights and cables are a few of the machines used for strength training.

3. Flexibility Training

To increase flexibility, Sam recommends yoga and Pilates. “You want to be very careful when doing these exercises to prevent injury,” she advises. “Always warm up the muscles before you stretch.”

For Children

“Kids should be active for 60 minutes a day,” advises Sam. “It helps when kids see their parents leading a healthy lifestyle.”

Over 60

“Focus on maintaining strength, balance and flexibility,” says Sam. “Exercise the brain, as well. Keep the neurons firing and sparking for muscle efficiency.”

Gym, Home or Personal Trainer?

Some people are uncomfortable with a gym setting, and for those folks, there are many options for working out at home, including good workout DVDs like P90X or Insanity. Working out at home can save time and resources, but it does not offer the variety of a gym or the motivation of a personal trainer. Reasons to join a gym include access to equipment and an assortment of workout options, including classes. Many gyms offer the services of personal trainers, who help their clients achieve a fitness goal, lose weight and improve core strength. “Not all personal trainers are equal,” says Sam. Some have four-year degrees while others may just take a certification class. “It is important to take care when choosing a trainer,” she advises. “Injury can happen in a split second, so it’s critical to be safe no matter what exercise you’re doing and ensure that you use proper form.”

Getting fit isn’t just about setting goals and finding an exercise program that fits your lifestyle. “You have to be ready to change,” Sam says. “You have to be committed to fitness and your health goals.” ♦


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