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'Tis a fit resolution to get fit, lose pounds

Weight loss, increased activity top the list of New Year’s resolutions

The holidays may be a time when we gain through increased fellowship and the fun of gift giving, but it’s also a time for the gaining of weight.

With 2018’s arrival, people commit to various New Year’s resolutions, but according to surveys conducted by The Nielsen Company, the combination of increased fitness and weight loss account for 69 percent of those resolutions.

To help readers successfully achieve their goals, representatives from The Bureau County Metro Center, The Hennepin Park District and the Illinois Valley YMCA were asked for advice on how to best approach a new fitness routine.

“Don’t overdo it right out of the gate. If you push too hard, you create the potential of injury. You don’t want to be so sore you can’t get back in for your next training day. Start slow and gradually increase,” Nick Davis, recreation and aquatics coordinator for the Metro Center, said.

“Do things slowly and consistently. Set a schedule, stick to it and consider it as an appointment for yourself,” David Potthoff, the IV YMCA’s CEO, said.

“Our water exercise classes offer those worried about injuries a low-impact option and you don’t need to know how to swim either,” Sandy Hrasch of the Hennepin Park District said.

All three said their facilities experience a noticeable increase in new memberships and attendance after the first of the year.

“Our Cardio Room becomes really popular during January and February, but it usually tapers off mid-March. Personal training and our group fitness classes are better attended. A lot of times, the group atmosphere helps people achieve those goals because they’re able to exercise with a friend and that creates a push. Other people need that personal trainer to set up and achieve their goals, with a little extra motivation,” Davis said.

Potthoff said the attendance increase at the YMCA is a combination of new members and existing members who have recommitted themselves to their fitness.

“The most common methods of exercise our members choose is walking, swimming and treadmills,” he said, adding the YMCA also has certified professional trainers available.

And if beginning a new fitness routine isn’t challenging enough, the thought of doing it in public can create an additional source of anxiety.

“Don’t be intimidated. Intimidation is often what keeps people away from the gym. Everyone is there for the same reason — to better themselves. If you don’t know what you’re doing, just ask! We’re always happy to give you an orientation if you don’t know how to use the equipment. When you get started, don’t stop, make it a habit,” Davis advised.

“The most important thing is to just do something. Stay active and try to work out with a friend or even a group of friends so you can encourage each other. Our group classes are as social as they are active,” Hrasch said.

Davis, Potthoff and Hrasch all agreed the social aspect of exercise can be an essential part of a fitness routine.

“I think personal training and group fitness classes tend to be overlooked. These are great ways to get fit, if you lack the motivation to do it on your own. Our classes and trainers can set you on the right path, and then you can take it from there,” Davis said.

“Our certified personal trainers can help you develop your fitness routine safely, and if you’d like to exercise with a friend or even a group of friends, we offer several water- and land-based group classes,” Pothoff said.  

“No matter what your age or fitness level is, we have something for you, and our group classes are always popular,” Hrasch said.

For those who are more competitively inclined, the Metro Center is even offering a game show approach to losing weight.

“Since the most common goal I see is to lose weight, I’m hosting a Biggest Loser Challenge at the start of the New Year. The challenge is free to members and only $5 for non-members, and the biggest loser wins a free annual membership,” Davis announced.

For more information, contact the Bureau County Metro Center at 815-872-0840 or by visiting their website at; the Illinois Valley YMCA at 815-223-7904 or; or the Hennepin Park District at 815-925-7319 or

The top 10 New Year’s resolutions

1) Stay fit and healthy, 37 percent

2) Lose weight, 32 percent

3) Enjoy life to the fullest, 28 percent

4) Spend less and save more, 25 percent

5) Spend more time with family and friends, 19 percent

6) Get organized, 18 percent

7) Will not make any resolutions, 16 percent

8) Learn something new/new hobby, 14 percent

9) Travel more, 14 percent

10) Read more, 12 percent

Source: The Nielsen Company

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