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How are you doing with your New Year's resolutions?

Laura Dalland of Fort Ripley Tuesday walked on the treadmill at FitQuest Athleti1 / 6
Burrell Flanagan lifted two weights off the floor at Snap Fitness this week. 2 / 6
Burrell Flanagan lifted a weight at Snap Fitness this week. 3 / 6
Christine Forss Tuesday took a quick break for a drink of water during her work-4 / 6
Holly Holm is working on her bucket list goals to run a 5K and the Pillager Mud 5 / 6
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Are you sick of letting yourself down again after making a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier and exercise more?

Some people may have joined one of the health clubs in the Brainerd lakes area in hopes that it’d be a good motivator to help get on track. Some may have ventured on their own, trying one of the fad diets or taking up running or walking.

But let’s face it. Trying to keep goals of being healthier is an ongoing struggle.

The health clubs in Brainerd and Baxter, including FitQuest Athletic Club, Snap Fitness and Anytime Fitness, as well as the Brainerd Family YMCA all have seen the annual trends of a high number of new members in January and February, and a slow decline in attendance in March.

Rick Bartkowitz of Anytime Fitness in Brainerd, who also is a certified master personal trainer and has been in the health club field for 15 years, said in order for people to be successful in their personal health goals it’s all about how they balance their life.

“People are all gung ho about starting their New Year’s resolution and they want to do everything and they wanted to do it yesterday,” said Bartkowitz. “People need to start with realistic goals, instead of coming in and saying I need to lose 50 pounds. It’s all in the mind. My approach is to have people say OK we know where we are and where we want to go and to take a positive approach on how we can feel better every day about ourselves.”

Bartkowitz said there are die-hards who work out daily and then the ones who try to exercise more, but don’t reach their goals and do the yo-yo trend of continuously working out for a few months and then doing nothing.

Bartkowitz suggests people start with small attainable goals so they don’t get frustrated and quit. He said a goal can be losing two pounds in one week. Another tip is to change up your exercise so you don’t get bored.

Heidi Rudstrom, fitness coordinator at the Brainerd YMCA, said the new year is a time for people to start thinking they need a fresh start and they’re excited about starting a new exercise routine to get out of the winter blahs and after eating too much over the holidays.

Rudstrom said people come in, however, with an overall goal to eat better and exercise more and she said a more specific goal is needed.

Rudstrom agrees with Bartkowitz that people start a new program and “jump in too hard too fast and don’t have a realistic goal.” Rudstrom said when people do this they’re more likely to get burned out too fast and may have a relapse.

Rudstrom said the trends she sees are people who take the fitness classes are more likely to hang onto their goals because of the connections they make with others.

Rudstrom said tips to help people keep their goals is to have a buddy system to stay motivated; tell someone your goal so it’ll make you want to follow through and they’ll be able to support you; stay positive; and keep a journal of your progress.

“Everyone wants to be healthy,” said Rudstrom. “But the path is not straight, it’s crooked and every day is a new day to jump into that resolution.”

Joan Peterson, owner of FitQuest in Baxter, who has more than 23 years of experience in the health club field, offers the old Nike commercial slogan of “Just Do It.”

“Make an appointment with yourself and just do it,” said Peterson. “People need to schedule a time that will work for them to work out. Everyone has a peak time. People always ask me if they should work out in the morning or at night, but I tell people they need to work out when it works for them, otherwise it won’t happen.”

Peterson said exercise classes are great for people who need to have their workout at a scheduled time.

“For some people, knowing the class starts at 6 p.m. will keep them motivated to go,” said Peterson.

Peterson said often moms are last on the list of taking care of themselves, because they are taking care of their family’s needs first. But Peterson said moms need to take better care of themselves in order to take better care of their family.

Maerene Lewis, owner of Snap Fitness in Brainerd, said persistence pays off and will keep the person motivated to continue their fitness goals. Lewis said changing up a person’s fitness program also helps to keep them motivated to stay on the healthy path.

Lewis said people sometimes just start exercising more and they don’t change their eating habits. Lewis said people have to eat healthier and exercise more if they want to lose weight.

Christine Forss of Brainerd, who was running on the treadmill at FitQuest, said, “My New Year’s resolution is to change my eating habits. You have to do both to stay in shape. I have a huge sweet tooth. If I have a bad day, I start a new day. It takes a long time to develop good habits. People can’t give up. They have to keep it up.”

Forss has always been one to take care of herself. She said joining a health club and taking group fitness classes helps her stay motivated.

Laura Dalland of Fort Ripley joined FitQuest two weeks ago.

“Mine was a delayed New Year’s resolution,” Dalland said with a laugh. “A girlfriend and I joined together to help keep each other motivated. We made a commitment to come here. Once it gets nice out I’ll run outside.”

Holly Holm has participated in the United Way’s Fitness United weight loss competitions for several years, including this year’s event which ended Tuesday.

“The competition helps me stay motivated,” said Holm. “It’s a great way to utilize all the gym memberships and to stay active.”

Holm said she constantly tries to stay active to keep off the pounds. Holm has been working on her bucket list, which includes running in a 5K and then to participate in the Mud Run in Pillager.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at or 855-5851. Follow me on Twitter at