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How to fight the New Year’s fitness flop

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 6:56 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The most common New Year’s resolutions for Americans are to exercise more and lose weight.

This makes January is the most jam packed month for gyms, when memberships peak, and 2022 has been no different.

“We’ve seen tremendous growth over the first week and a half, and we’re projecting to see the same growth the next three months,” GreatLIFE president Nick Ovenden said. “We get that January jump start of people getting excited and coming to the gym.”

Regulars in the weight rooms and workout facilities annually brace for bigger crowds of first-timers and first-time-in-a-long-timers, but those gym rats shrug it off, knowing space will likely free up in a few months after an exercise exodus of those who couldn’t follow through on that fresh commitment to fitness.

Ovenden said gym check-ins start dropping every April. Some of that has to do with rising temperatures and people wanting to get outside to stay active.

Another factor is people who get hurt by not using proper form in their workouts, or lifting too much weight, knocking them out of the game before it starts.

“They go too hard right away, and that could deter them because they’ll be too sore,” said GreatLIFE personal fitness professional Jen Johnson, “which is why it’s really good to get some direction from somebody, whether that be a trainer or in a workout class.”

But the most common reason many drop out of their fitness phase is they just get burned out, Ovenden said.

“I would say most of them aren’t realistic,” Ovenden said, adding newfound fitness fanatics should make realistic goals “that you can reach every month, or every week, or every day so that you’re getting closer and closer every day and making progress.”

“It is important because it gives you something to shoot for, so you’re not just here, going through the motions and finding a machine that’s open,” Johnson said. “You have a reason to be here and something to actually be working on, and that could be for a race, could be for a wedding, could be anything under the sun that you want.”

Marlon Lobban is a former University of Sioux Falls linebacker who admits his busy life leads him astray from exercise from time-to-time. He got back in the gym just before the New Year.

A weight loss competition with eight of his fellow football coaches with the Sioux City Bandits reeled Lobban in.

“If I’m not motivated, I probably won’t do it,” Lobban said. “(It’s easier to do it) with another group of guys that have the same motivation - not to be the world’s strongest or the world’s fastest, or have the best looking body, but just to be healthy and know that you can hold each other accountable more than anything... just to have a little fun.”

It’s worked. Marlon has lost 18 pounds in the first few weeks, and feels it during his pick-up basketball games.

“Now, I can get up and down the court because I’ve been coming to the gym and doing these extra things on the side. Just find something that you really enjoy and do it consistently and you’ll be OK.”

That was a consistent message from fitness experts Ovenden and Johnson: Involving your fitness with a friend or group will likely yield better results, and for longer.

“People always talk about having cheerleaders for you in different areas of your life, so why not do that with your fitness life,” Ovenden said.

And if you really want to see physical results, yes, eating healthier will get you there faster. That’s another thing that most new exercisers have difficulty sustaining.

“One thing I always look at is people trying to take away all their favorite things and starve themselves of the things they love,” Ovenden said. “I think if you enjoy things in moderation, you’re able to get around some of those things.”

A perfect example is when you eat pizza. Instead of attacking the pizza first, have a salad, or vegetables, and drink some water. This will fill you up just a bit.

“Maybe you’ll end up stopping a half a pizza instead of eating a whole pizza,” Ovenden said.

And it’s easier to stick with a diet when you make your dinner plate look like a rainbow.

“Make your plate look pretty with different fruits and vegetables,” Ovenden said. “Different colors actually provide a lot of nutrients.”

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