Stay fit all year long in Mountain Island

by Zacch Estrada Petersen

During the last few months of every year, the fitness scene is relatively familiar. Local gyms and health clubs, once teeming with throngs of people and their renewed fitness aspirations, have now dwindled down to just a faithful few.

Not everyone makes New Year’s resolutions. For those who do make them, not everyone’s is the same. Yet the overwhelming majority of resolutions made involve some sort of weight loss; or at least some self-assured pledge to stay in shape. Making the resolution is easy. Keeping it is where most people run into trouble.

“Your health has to rank high on your list of to-do’s,” said Marc Anderson, owner of Mountain Island Fitness. “Set staggered goals, one step at a time, and don’t try to do it all in one day.”

Anderson, a U.S. Army veteran with the 82nd Airborne Division, has always had a love for fitness. He finds that people’s busy schedules and allowing everything else to take priority are some of the major deterrents to keeping up with their fitness resolutions.

Mountain Island Fitness, which offers a 90-day challenge to get members started, has noticed an early upswing in new memberships in anticipation of the coming year.

“We signed up about twice as many people this month as the same time last year,” Anderson said. “What’s important is keeping them.”

Aside from busy schedules, the lack of instantaneous results seems to turn a lot of people away.

“Most people want to see the results as soon as they start,” said Tyler Hamrick, a senior exercise science major at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “People start, and then they see how hard it is and they fall off.”

Hamrick, who played sports throughout high school in his hometown of Marion, chose his field of study as a way to stay close to sports and continue to have an active lifestyle. His advice: find a partner.

“Working out with another person is the best motivation because you have two people working toward the same goal,” said Hamrick.

Contrary to popular belief, setting a weight loss goal is not only for cosmetic purposes, as is the case for Mountain Island resident Kirsten Albritton.

“I have a lot of health issues in my family such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and hypertension,” said Albritton, whose goal for the coming year is to drop three dress sizes. “I am at risk for getting a lot of these diseases.”

The biggest obstacles, she’s learned, are motivation and time.

“If you are going to make weight loss as a New Year’s resolution, I find that you have to be serious about it and have to dedicate a lot of time and effort,” she said. “That means rearranging your schedule to make time to exercise and eat healthy.”

Albritton has made resolutions in the past – and has seen success.

“I try not to make resolutions that are ridiculous and hard to complete,” she said “When I have been focused and dedicated, I did well. To me a resolution should be a tangible goal, one which will improve your life or make a better you.”

For many, however, keeping those wellness resolutions for more than a few months is much easier said than done.

“Every year I make them, and every year I fail,” said elementary school teacher Germeka Mayo, “but this year is going to be different. I always say I’ll stick to it, then around February after all the chocolates come out, I kerplunk.”

For the coming year, Mayo isn’t setting a specific target goal.

“I’m planning to lose at least 50 pounds, but I’m not so stuck on a number,” she said. “I just want to live healthier, so that I’m healthier.” She pauses for a second, and smiles. “And so I can find my husband.”

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