Getting in shape for the new year

Andrea Johnson/MDN People work out at the Minot Family YMCA earlier this month. Certified personal trainers Tanya Gillen and Nicole Myers say many people start new fitness programs in January.

Every year, people make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get in shape. And, every year, many people fail.

Certified personal trainers Tanya Gillen and Nicole Myers advise that people make adjustments to their lifestyle that they can keep for the longterm.

“The thing to remember is that slow and steady wins the race,” said Gillen.

Myers added that it is unrealistic to expect immediate results from an exercise program, especially since a large part of weight loss depends on what the client chooses to eat.

“It’s hard to get people to realize we’re not magicians, it’s not magic,” said Myers.

Myers said “portion control” and the quality of the food, meaning healthy proteins, healthy carbohydrates and healthy fats are all important for weight loss and fitness. Nutritional needs can also change when a person starts exercising, since more nutrients might then be required for a person exerting more energy. They said a loss of one pound a week might be a more sustainable goal than a diet that promises a lot of weight loss in a short period of time.

People who want to stick with an exercise plan might want to make a long-term goal and a back up plan if the first plan doesn’t work. If going to the gym four days a week isn’t realistic, maybe committing to one day a week would be. A good exercise program might involve 15 minutes of cardiovascular exercise and 15 minutes of strength training, said Myers.

Some people might hire a personal trainer to help them exercise, but it is also possible to launch an exercise program on their own, either at home or by going to the gymnasium.

Gillen and Myers acknowledged that making a change and sticking with it can be hard.

But they said arranging for someone to hold them accountable can help people meet their goals.

Motivation can come from a friend or a family member (or thorn in the side) who will text them, “Hey, did you go to the gym today?”