The Key To Success
Some of us call it “The List,” the annual collection of New Years resolutions, the ways we would all like to improve ourselves with a clean slate. But experts say people resolve to make too many drastic changes all at once.
Most resolutions involve lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking, shedding a few pounds and getting into shape. Within months, weeks and even days, the goals are often abandoned.
We often fall short of our hopes or fail, but not because of a lack of will. When it comes to starting a physical fitness routine, newcomers routinely make common mistakes which are recipes for failure.
According to Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness trainer and exercise rehabilitation specialist Mark Rubler, most newcomers push themselves too hard, working under the mistaken assumption of “no pain, no gain.”
“That is simply not the case. We avoid pain. Workouts should be enjoyable, something to look forward to. Any activity is a 100 percent improvement, even if it is a 15-minute walk a couple of times a week,” says Rubler, a 20-year veteran of the fitness industry.
The best way to ensure success without pain is to begin with an evaluation by a personal trainer, someone who can help you design a routine customized to your fitness goals. Experts say it is counter-productive and potentially dangerous to simply jump on a piece of fitness equipment and push yourself to the limit.
Another reason people drop out is they feel overwhelmed by all of the equipment. Once again, a personal trainer can set you up with a customized plan. You don’t have to work on all of the equipment and Healthtrax trainers help and assist members on equipment during every visit. Many people adopt a simple routine and stick with it.
Memberships in health clubs swell in January because of New Years resolutions, but the new members’ presence drops off with each passing month.
Says Rubler “The key is to find something you enjoy doing, whether it’s swimming, yoga, group cycling, Tai Chi, group cycling, running or whatever it takes.”
Unreasonable expectations can also scuttle a new wellness program. The experts say don’t compare yourself to others, and don’t expect immediate results. There is no reason to run on a treadmill if you are winded and uncomfortable. Getting into shape should be a lifelong commitment, one which should be started gradually.
The Evolving Fitness Center
Baby boomers and people their parents’ age now work out faithfully for a variety of reasons: to feel and look better, or on the advice of a physician for rehabilitation after surgery or to reduce disease risk factors. Fitness clubs have evolved to serve those health needs and to be more user-friendly for people of all ages. Every Healthtrax Center, for example, is affiliated with a local medical provider or leading hospital.
“We have people of all ages from all walks of life with the same goals and we help them achieve those goals,” according to Healthtrax Director of Public Relations, Debbie Stauble. “We have tri-athletes and cardiac rehabilitation patients on the same fitness floor.”
Stauble says, however, the key to success involves more than having a well-educated trainer. Nowhere is this more evident than in the weight room which, at one time, was an intimidating place for women and newcomers.
Now, says Stauble, “With all of the studies which show the benefits of resistance (weight) training for men and women, weight rooms are no longer just the domain of the body builder.”
The centers are also changing in other ways, offering a variety of classes including, Pilates, yoga and other group workouts. There are also two workout circuits, a regular one and a special supervised weight training circuit for those who need help using the equipment. But don’t load too much into your schedule. Rubler says to do what you can, when you have the time. In other words, don’t sacrifice sleep to get to the club before work.
Everyone seems to agree on one thing: selecting a fitness regimen is as daunting as which diet to try. But do not give up hope. All you have to do is move to improve.
Here is a list of tips to help you succeed with a new fitness program:
Get an evaluation and custom program from a fitness trainer
Don’t push too hard. You still get results without discomfort and pain
Don’t get overwhelmed by all of the equipment. Find a trainer to assist and guide you.
Find an activity you enjoy, rather than forcing yourself to use equipment you do not like
Set realistic expectations. It took time to put on that weight and it will take time to take it off, but weight gain is only one benefit. The greatest benefits are improved health, fewer aches and pains and feeling better
Reward yourself by acknowledging every workout as an accomplishment
Make friends at the Center – they can be great motivators