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New Year's Fitness Resolutions

Starting The New Year The Right Way
Resolutions You Can Keep

I always know when the New Year comes around.  The gyms fill up.  My classes fill up with faces I've never seen before.  Earnest faces.  Grimaces as they try to keep up with the "Regulars".  Grins and whoops when they "get it right", and groans when they realize that those rubber-tubing gadgets with handles are downright difficult to stretch!

Some of those new faces stay and become part of the "Regulars", but all too many of them will show up for a few classes, and never be seen again.  It's "New Year's Resolution" time, and somehow, many of those resolutions get broken.  It doesn't have to be that way, though.  You can start the New Year with a New Exercise program, and make it one you'll stick with.  Here's how.

Don't Overreach
Get a Fitness Assessment done by a Certified Personal Trainer before you ever decide on an exercise program.  Often, people just starting out will look for classes which appear fun and somewhat fancy, without considering their own ability to keep up with the level of the class.  And, while we instructors try to make it possible for the majority of our participants to follow us, it is just downright impossible to teach a class both at an "Advanced Step" and a "Beginning Step" level simultaneously.  (Well, maybe Larry or Denise can, but I left my water-walking shoes in my other suit!  :-)  Anyhow, as I know from personal experience as a Major Klutz, getting into an Advanced class as a Beginner can be downright discouraging!

Most gyms and Wellness Centers have many levels of classes.  Try to choose those which are do-able by you, right from the git-go.  Nobody likes to fail, and if you're tripping over your feet in the back of the class, while everyone else seems to be floating around on clouds, it can get pretty disheartening.  So don't get discouraged!  If you have problems with one level of class, move down one until you find a class you can learn in a reasonable amount of time.  Then stay with that class until you feel that you're ready to advance to the next level, because you are one of the "cloud-floaters" in the class!

Don't Over-Expect
Everybody wants results, of course.  You sweat and strain, body all achin' and racked with pain (well, a decent lactic-acid burn, anyhow), and whaddya get?  Dunno.  Your bodyfat doesn't seem to drop right off.  Hey!  It's been two whole weeks now!  When'm  I gonna see some results, hmmmmm?

If you are a beginner to exercise, or even a casual exerciser, jumping into a more-active regimen is not going to instantly take those thighs or that gut down to size.  Usually, it will take anywhere from six to eight weeks to see any visible improvement, at all.  But that improvement will come; you only have to give it time!  Remember that it took a long while to get that excess on, and it's not going to come off overnight.

Remember that Fitness Assessment?  Here's where you start using it again.  At about six weeks, get another one done, and you will most likely be pleasantly amazed, if you've kept up your workouts and watched your diet a bit.  Now, you will have a real set of benchmarks to work from.  You'll see what you are actually capable of, and get some idea of how long it will actually take to reach your fitness goals.  But if your expectations are based on wishing instead of a knowledge of what you can really do, you may be very discouraged, and give up way too soon.  Don't fall into that trap!

Don't Over-Exercise
This is a tough one for some of us. We want those results, just like in the prior section, and we're ready to push it to the limit to get 'em!  Well, you should put a good deal of effort into your program, but there are limits which you shouldn't exceed, or you could easily put yourself right back out of that same program.  How?  Injury, perhaps, or over-fatigue to the point that you simply don't want to continue.  Again, wanting those Results, and pushing yourself too hard to attain them quickly.

I sometimes wish I could just grab those durn "Info-Mercial" people with the Magickal Exercise Machines, and their Magick Potion Instant Diet Pills, and just shake 'em 'til their teeth rattled, for lying to you folks.  To hear them talk, all you have to do is buy their stuff, get on it or swallow it a bit, and, voila!  The Perfect Body is Yours, Virtually Overnight, With No Work!!  Then, when you find out it ain't true, some of you go to the opposite end of the pendulum-swing, and push it to the point that you just burn out!

Moderation, But Tough Moderation
That's the ticket to real success in exercise and diet.  Cut yourself some slack, but not too much slack.  Work out hard, but not so hard you don't want to continue.  Eat less food, but not so much less that you feel deprived, or even starve yourself.  I've said it hundreds of times, but it is none the less true for re-telling:  Find exercise to do which is fun for you; exercise which you will want to continue because it is fun!  Eat a diet which you can enjoy, which provides proper amounts of the nutrients you need for good health -- just don't eat so much of it that you un-do all your good exercise work!

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