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Staying motivated, staying fit

Motivation is a key ingredient when it comes to accomplishing fitness and health goals. The new year motivates many to finally take the first step and join a gym or fitness center, ready to get fit. But in order to stick with a goal, area gym and...

Fitness Instructor Tina Landsburg helps Julie Ingleman with weight training Friday at the FitQuest Athletic Club in Baxter. (Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls)
Fitness Instructor Tina Landsburg helps Julie Ingleman with weight training Friday at the FitQuest Athletic Club in Baxter. (Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls)

Motivation is a key ingredient when it comes to accomplishing fitness and health goals.

The new year motivates many to finally take the first step and join a gym or fitness center, ready to get fit.

But in order to stick with a goal, area gym and fitness center owners cautioned those new to a fitness routine to set realistic goals, lest they get discouraged and quit.

Jeremy Pollock, owner of Anytime Fitness locations in Baxter and Brainerd, encourages all new members looking to get fitter and healthier not to set expectations too high. If they set ambitious, unrealistic goals, and don't see progress, they stop going to the gym.

Some set a goal of going to the gym five days a week or losing a certain amount of weight, which can be unattainable for someone who's never exercised regularly.

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"Then after two weeks, they didn't lose any weight," Pollock said. "So they say, 'well, forget it, I'm not even going to go anymore.'"

Instead, he recommends starting small and building toward something greater.

"Get that routine started and then build on that," Pollock said. "Don't try to set the bar too high when you first set out with a new gym membership."

A more realistic goal might be going to the gym three days a week, Pollock said, and 30-minute workouts, instead of an hour. Even a 20-minute workout is better than not going at all, he said. If a machine you want to use is taken, try something else instead.

"If the treadmills are full, do a quick circuit on some of the machines for your weights," Pollock said. "There's always something in the gym that would be available, so don't get discouraged if it's busy."

Personal training can also help someone see results sooner, Pollock said, as well as introduce someone to a variety of different exercises they can do.

"Let's face it, people are results-driven," Pollock said. "If you just try to do a workout on your own, you're probably not going to achieve what you want."

Joan Peterson, owner of FitQuest Athletic Club in Baxter, tells new members not to bite off more than they can chew. They set high goals, she said, and she encourages them to lower the bar so they don't get discouraged if they don't meet their goals.

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"You have to be realistic or it's not going to work," Peterson said.

People want to eat right, quit smoking and work out seven days a week, Peterson said, which is near impossible to accomplish all at once. So she tells new members to shoot for going to the gym three times a week, so if they end up going five days, they've hit their goal.

Randy Klinger, Brainerd Family YMCA CEO, said new members should set realistic goals. He also touted group fitness classes as a way to connect with other members, which helps them get through the initial phase of starting a workout regimen.

"Expect that you're going to have muscle soreness, expect that, but it will go away," Klinger said. "You're making a lifestyle change that's going to improve your health and make you live longer."

SPENSER BICKETT may be reached at 218-855-5859 or spenser.bickett@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/spenserbickett .

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