Fitness instructors give tips to accomplish fitness, nutrition goals

It’s a new year, and many people have set New Year’s resolutions to turn over a new leaf.

However, by the second week of February each year, about 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail, according to U.S. News and World Report.

The secret to meeting your fitness and nutrition goals, fitness professionals said, is to start small, such as exercising just once a week.

Sam Marshall, a fitness instructor at Capital Region Medical Center’s Sam B. Cook Healthplex, said you should focus on sticking to a small goal and then gradually increase it at your own rate.

“If you stop, you’re not accomplishing anything, but start slow and then increase as you go,” he said. “I think that’s the best thing.”

If you set your goals too high, it’s easy to get burned out and give up, Marshall said. But if you start by sticking to small goals, you’ll likely start wanting to do more as you see results, he said.

“Start slow, and then as you get physically stronger, just build yourself up,” he said. “And then it becomes like a normal routine, like grabbing a cup of coffee in the morning.”

To kick off health and fitness goals for the new year, the West YMCA held four free 45-minute fitness classes Friday morning, including dance mix/high fitness, high intensity interval training, body pump and yoga.

Marshall, who has been a fitness instructor for about seven years, said he attended these classes Friday because he loves attending other fitness classes to stay healthy and support the instructors.

While he doesn’t have any New Year’s resolutions, Marshall said he thinks it’s great for people to make New Year’s resolutions centered around fitness because a fitness routine can change your mindset and keep you from bad habits.

“It keeps you healthy, keeps you fit, makes you strong, you get into better eating habits when you start seeing results and you want to do it more, so it’s really beneficial both physically and emotionally,” he said.

Mandy Jenkerson, who teaches body pump and crossbox at West YMCA, said her New Year’s resolutions are to run 1,021 miles this year, hike at least once a month, eat healthier and add more vegetables to her diet.

Jenkerson said she encourages everybody to try writing down their goals and breaking them down into small, achievable steps.

“Writing it down is the number one most important thing,” she said. “If I don’t write it down, it’s probably not going to last.”

Jenkerson has yearly goals and monthly goals, and she breaks them down into small steps. She writes down her goals at the beginning of each month and week, and then tracks them.

At the beginning of the week, she writes down a few small goals to help her reach her monthly and yearly goals. For example, her nutrition goal this week is to eat two vegetables each day.

After sticking to a small goal for a few weeks, it will become a habit. Then, you can build onto it and add more goals to accomplish your bigger goals, she said.

“As I build on, I’ll add other things,” she said. “Just pick one thing at a time to focus on to get you to that big goal.”

Drew Earls, who teaches high intensity interval training, yoga, body pump and Pilates classes at the West YMCA, said there’s not one way that works for everybody to achieve their fitness and nutrition goals.

As a personal trainer, Earls said he focuses on adapting to everybody’s needs, and his New Year’s resolution is to be more mindful, intentional and present so people feel comfortable in situations that may be out of their comfort zone.

Earls said he encourages everyone to work with a fitness professional to get started on achieving their goals.

“Everybody has to start somewhere, and talking to a fitness professional, even if it’s just a consultation to get them started, is something I would encourage you to do,” he said.

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