Sticking to a New Workout Routine

January 1, 2013

Now that we're off to a fresh year, many people will be hitting the gym hoping to exercise and slim down. Year after year, it's one of the most popular New Year's resolutions, but it isn't always so easy to keep.

The membership coordinator at ACAC in downtown Charlottesville said making it a habit requires a good attitude and knowing your limits.

"Do not get frustrated. Do not have expectations that are unrealistic," said Chris Collins, who is also an instructor at the gym. "What I mean by that is, you don't have to come six days a week. You don't have to come for two hours every time you do."

This is Collins' sixth year welcoming the post-New Year rush. He said the first six weeks of the year tend to be the busiest. He also said those first few weeks of a new routine are most important to a new exerciser.

"If you can do it for 21 days, stick with it," he said. "I know that might seem like a lot, but it's really three weeks. You'll be fine."

Albemarle County resident Carrie Pinson takes a class instructed by Collins. She has been working out regularly for years, but after having a baby just six months ago, she knows what it's like to have to get back into a routine.

"I think the key is slow and steady wins the race," said Pinson. "A lot of times people get these New Year's resolutions to lose a lot of weight and they dive right in headfirst and they might overdo it and they get burned out."

Pinson said one way she stays on track is by involving other people in her workouts.

"I actually find I'm more motivated from being around others and working out with others," Pinson said.

Taking a group exercise class is one way to avoid going solo. Collins said, while classes can seem intimidating, people should try out anything that piques their interest.

"You probably couldn't walk in and do everything the instructor is doing and everything the front row is doing," said Collins. Instead, he suggests modifying the workout to match your abilities and using the instructor and more experienced individuals as motivation.

Over the years, Collins has seen people succeed and fail at keeping their New Year's resolutions to get in shape. But he said, if you stick with it, the results can be "amazing."

"It's not going to happen overnight," Collins said. "But it will happen over time."


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