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Frosty fitness resolutions: two instructors from Boston Sports Club in Weymouth, Massachusetts, spill secrets on how to get a grip on exercise during winter.

Start Your Program Before Winter

"People put themselves in a pressure cooker on January 1 when they look and feel their worst. They're setting themselves up to fail. The gym is overwhelming then. There's a huge influx of people, so those who need individualized attention most won't get it," Bonnie Lefrak, CPT, general manager says.

Beth Ann Alves, AFAA group-fitness instructor agrees. "In the freezing months who wants to vault off to the gym if they're not in the habit? By setting a schedule and developing good habits in summer or fall, you can counteract winter blues. But most of us don't do that."

Make a Plan or Join Classes

"People need professional advice in designing and implementing a workout plan," Lefrak points out. Classes provide camaraderie and support. "There's nothing more empowering than enlisting the help of a friend who knows the way."

"A lot of people fail because they never get into a group," Lefrak says. "[Without] a sense of purpose, they get on a treadmill and get bored in a week or two. Nobody talks to them, they don't know how to work the equipment--it's overwhelming and frustrating."

Set Realistic Goals

The second major pitfall involves immediate gratification, Lefrak says. "Working out is hard and results take time. That's out of sync with today's society [of] BOTOX[R] injections, nose jobs, liposuction. But if you can find an exercise you like and be patient, you'll see results."

Alves observes, be content with who you are. "Set goals that make sense for you. Don't compare yourself to others," she says. "What makes people successful is an overall change in their lifestyle. Look at what you need to add to your exercise regime--Pilates, cardio or strength training? Look at what you need to change in your eating habits--are your saturated fats, carbs and calorie intake in line? All these factors combined will make a difference."

Schedule Your Workouts

"When you schedule your meetings and appointments, schedule your workouts too and honor the commitment," Alves says. Personal growth and success depends on self-worth, she says. "Getting to the gym can be as simple as not going home after work. Pack your bag in the morning, or the night before, and go straight to the gym. By going home first, distractions will keep you there."

Take Advantage of Services

It's important for moms to schedule time for themselves, Alves adds. "Being a mom myself, I know it's difficult to get out of the house in a timely manner, especially [to] attend a group fitness class." That's where the clubs' babysitting service can help, she says. "Moms who come to the gym set a great example for their children. [And children will be] more likely to model that behavior as they grow older."

Practice Good Nutrition

Lefrak, who watches famished members race home for dinner, emphasizes that good nutrition is even more important for people who exercise. "I have food in my bag and car, because I know [I'll be able] to function when I exercise."

Battling late afternoon hunger pains is an issue for many. The solution? "There's a myriad of instant food products nowadays. Choose [something] with 200 to 400 calories--enough to keep your blood sugar from dropping and hold you for another couple of hours--and you're set," Lefrak says.

Carol Finlayson, MBA, is an accountant and freelance writer with a passion for health and fitness. She has been published in the Boston Herald, New England Writers Magazine and Boston Metro, among other publications.
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Title Annotation:Clip 'N' Post
Author:Finlayson, Carol
Publication:American Fitness
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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