As your feet pound the treadmill and your body shakes, you may start to regret all those New Year’s resolutions you made.
Nearly a week into your new training might be a good time to make sure you’re pacing yourself correctly, or to participate in a group class or begin working with a personal trainer. Especially if running for an hour on the treadmill isn’t doing it for you.
For those new to the gym, Pam Fleming, director of Keller Wellcare Center in Sheffield, said they encourage members to go by the FITT principal.
“Frequency, intensity, time and type,” she said. “If you’re going to the gym once a week you’re never going to see improvement.”
The frequency aspect of the FITT principal states that you should go to the gym three to five times a week. The intensity is getting your endurance to the point where you can get to your target heart rate, and keep it there.
Time is how long you are at the gym. For those just starting an exercise, the recommended time is 40-60 minutes.
And type is making sure you are doing cardio activities if your aim is to lose weight.
“I think the No. 1 reason you see a lot of drop-off is they make unrealistic resolutions,” Fleming said. “They’ll try to lose 40 pounds in two months, or they’ll set too many resolutions.
“We’ll have people that want to exercise, lose weight, quit smoking, you know. They’re trying to make too many lifestyle choices at one time.”
Fleming said when people start to fail, they tend to quit instead of just redefining their goals.
And, she said, when looking at the uphill battle of making lots of lifestyle changes — not just a couple of healthy tweaks here and there — they can feel defeated from the get-go.
“It could be as simple as I’m going to eat healthier, I’m not going to eat fast food,” Flemming said. “But when we set the unrealistic resolutions or attempt to do too many things at one time, it’s overwhelming.”
She said a lot of lifestyle changes require help. Enrolling in a weight loss class, a smoking cessation class or getting a personal trainer.
Flemming also suggested using the buddy system.
“In the smoking cessation classes that we teach, we encourage members to get a buddy, maybe someone who is a former smoker,” Flemming said.
Pacing yourself is something beginners should consider.
“We go in and kill ourselves in starting,” Flemming said. “You’re sore, your muscles ache and you have to take a week off because you’re sore or you injure yourself because you overdo it.
“That’s an advantage of joining a facility with professionals that will work for you. You can get a program that is designed for you and your fitness level.”
It also helps to get a program designed for what you like to do and how you like to work out. Gyms often offer group classes and swimming classes to help keep things fresh.
Cathy Turner, health wellness director at the YMCA of the Shoals in Florence, said they offer a wide variety of group classes, everything from boot camp fitness to spinning to yoga to pilates.
“The variety gives you a place to start,” Turner said. “If you are just getting off the couch, we give you a place to start. If you are already active we have a way for you to start.
“We can catch all levels.”
The YMCA also offers aquatic aerobics classes at various levels in the indoor pool.
“The people who can really use the water are people who have joint problems, and they can still get a really good cardio in the water,” Turner said.
A variety of classes also can help if people reach a plateau in their workout, a place where they are no longer seeing progress.
“The variety helps it so that you can try things and see what you like,” Turner said. “I tell everyone to try things out because you might think that you just want to use machines, but you get in a class and your body might really respond well to a new activity.”
Katie Eubanks, manager at Anytime Fitness in Florence, said they use accountability to keep their members working out. They also use an accountability wall where the attendees can write their goals.
“We keep on them about their goals,” Eubanks said.
Eubanks said they recommend a gradual approach to working out, encouraging members to work their way up to harder things.
“Eighty-three percent of the people who walk into an Anytime Fitness have never been to a gym before,” Eubanks said. “So the people we see need to use a gradual approach. That’s why we give them two free training sessions right off the bat.”
Advance planning and help keep you motivated to continue with your exercise program.
“We tell people all the time, it only takes three weeks to make a habit,” Ewbanks said. “We tell people if you’re going to try to go after work, put your gym bag in the car with a little snack so you don’t have any excuse.”
Bobby Bozeman can be reached at 256-740-5722 or bobby.bozeman@TimesDaily.com.