BRANDON — Losing weight is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, but experts say most people trade their workout shoes for flip-flops or slippers within 90 days. In Hillsborough County, some people take advantage of the great outdoors while others use an indoor gym or take indoor fitness classes.
Maria Williams of Westchase, a certified running coach with Run Tampa, said there is a secret to making your New Year’s resolutions stick – staying positive.
“Surround yourself with people that will help you, not pull you back,” said Williams, who was overweight before she competed in her first triathlon in 1999 at age 19. “It’s also important to always be positive about your goals. Instead of saying, ‘I need to lose 10 pounds,’ say ‘I’m going to make healthier choices so I will feel better.’ Positive talk equals positive results.”
She also suggests writing down your fitness goal and making goals with other people who will help reinforce the new habits and good behaviors. Williams has participated in more than 100 races.
“New Year’s resolutions are great,” Williams said. “The only thing is people only do them once a year and bite off more than they can chew. It’s best – and way less intimidating – to start smaller. I ask my runners to think of a goal they can realistically achieve in six weeks. After six weeks, we re-evaluate and do another goal. Small achievable successes lead to very big lifetime accomplishments.”
Sandra Budel, the owner of the Brickhouse Cardio Club Brandon and a certified personal trainer, said some of the resolutions she hears people at the club talk about include losing weight and, in particular, targeting belly fat. Also, people focus on getting in shape, having a more consistent workout routine and changing their eating habits.
“Resolutions that are specific will be most effective,” Budel said. “Set realistic goals that can be measured. For instance, if your goal is to exercise more, determine how many workouts you can fit into your week. Put your goals in writing to help you stay on track.”
She also suggests working out with a partner who has a similar goal.
“People that work out with a partner or in a group setting are more likely to meet their goals because of the support system and accountability,” she said. “During rough times, your partner will be there to push and remind you why you’re doing this.”
Some of the hottest classes for getting in shape at her recently-opened club include BodyPump, BodyStep and Zumba.
“I think that is because the combination of music and movement entices people to push through some of the most intense workouts,” Budel said.
Lalita Llerena of Riverview, the communications director at Tampa Metro YMCA in Tampa said the network of YMCA’s in Hillsborough County has different indoor and outdoor programs and facilities to help people reach their goals.
“At the New Tampa Family YMCA, we have a new outdoor conditioning area complete with pull-up bars, large tires for obstacle courses and strength training, and TRX suspension training,” Llerena said. “This is open to all our members and is used quite often for personal training groups and one-on-one clients. Also new at that branch is a life coach who can provide personal one-on-one coaching for any topic, including how to fit health-related goals into their lifestyle. This life coach also hosts free seminars for members.”
Llerena said January is one of the Y’s hottest membership months because of the fact people are setting their New Year’s resolutions and trying to live healthier in the New Year.
“For new members, the first 30 days of their membership are the most critical in establishing healthy habits that will lead to fitness success,” she said. “Included with a YMCA membership are four free ‘Fit First’ sessions with a wellness coach that provide members with a complete fitness solution based on their goals. These sessions include a customized strength and cardio workout, as well as nutritional guidance based on one’s needs.”
As far as new programs and facilities, she said the Campo Family YMCA in Valrico has a new Max Results Personal Training Room where members take classes such as “After Burn” and “TRX suspension training.”
Llerena said she has her own fitness-related resolutions for the New Year.
“I just had a baby, so specifically, I need to lose two-to-three more pounds to be back to my pre-pregnancy size but ideally, I would like to lose 10 more pounds to be at my ideal weight,” she said. “More importantly, I want to tone up my muscles and increase my endurance and energy to keep up with my two young children. To do this, I need to start eating better and exercising on a more regular basis.”
Llerena said the most common reason people initially join the Y is to lose weight or get back in shape. Once they get involved, the Y becomes a second home, she said.
“They spend quality family time together and use it as a place to focus on their own health while their kids are safe and engaged in our Kids Zone or in youth sports,” she said. “The adult members make lifelong friendships here. Staff and other members know them by name and if they miss an exercise class, their new friends are texting them asking where they’re at. This motivates them to keep coming back and to not give up. This family-type atmosphere really makes a difference in our members’ ability to achieve their goals.”