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Winter is coming to an end and for some, so has the commitment to New Year’s resolutions to exercise and eat a more nutritious diet. We start the new year with the best of intentions, but by March, just when bathing suit season looms, we’ve fallen back into old bad habits.
What happened to those good intentions and how do we get back on track?
For one, a lot of people don’t even know where to begin or what to do to start exercising says Mark Dees, Owner of Fitness Together, a personal training studio franchise with locations in Timonium and Pikesville. “People assume they need to spend one or two hours a day in the gym, several days a week in order to be successful,” he explains. “They don’t realize there are many benefits to exercising just three hours a week.” Fear of injury also holds people back, he adds. “If someone has a chronically sore back or knees, they might be scared of getting hurt and therefore wary to start exercising.”
He also notes unrealistic expectations can often be to blame. “When people don’t see instant results, or lose pounds fast they give up,” he explains. “It’s more important to realize the ‘big picture’ benefits of exercise such as increasing longevity, improving your health and reducing stress.”
Reese Ashe, owner of Reflex Functional Fitness, agrees. “We live in a world of instant gratification,” he explains. “When people don’t lose weight immediately after they first start to exercise, they quit.” Reflex Functional Fitness is a fitness facility located in Federal Hill that offers personal training and group fitness classes.
“People are really good at finding excuses,” says Esther Collinetti, co-owner of REV Cycle Studio, “especially if they are not ready to commit to the work.” REV Cycle Studio offers theater-style spin classes along with athletic-style barre classes at their McHenry Row location. Also, their Brewer’s Hill location offers spin classes. She goes on to add that fear often holds people back, whether it feels like they are the only ones who don’t know what to do in class or fear that they will fail.
Accountability plays a huge role in improving chances for success in meeting fitness goals and is often the missing ingredient in many fitness plans. Dees encourages clients to put self-care high on their list by adding it to their daily to-do list, and taking a class with a buddy or engaging a trainer can make all the difference.
Clients work one-on-one with trainers at Fitness Together, coming in as little as two or three times a week. “Trainers help with accountability as they set goals that are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound,” he said. “We choose a goal and set a deadline, whether it’s making it to the gym fifteen times in a month, training for a certain event, or even just doing a certain number of pushups in a month; trainers help keep clients accountable by keeping them on track.” The trainer also reviews goals with the client every six weeks.
Trainers at Reflex Functional Fitness also meet with clients, mainly to drill down to the “why” they want to exercise. “Whether a client wants to feel more physically fit, prepare for a race or improve their overall health, we’ll help them plan a path to meet their goals in a positive way.”
Group training serves to keep clients accountable at Reflex Functional Fitness. To combat the obstacle of “not having enough time,” Reflex Functional Fitness incorporate “HIIT” style workouts, which are quick, high-intensity interval training workouts about 45 minutes long. “In group training classes, you are surrounding yourself with like-minded people, and you start to form a community,” Reese explains. Accountability becomes peer-driven, and you start to hold each other accountable. “As you get to know the people in the classes and the coaches, you want to perform for them, the coach and most importantly, for yourself,” he adds. “Before you know it, you’re reaching your goals.”
Collinetti stresses that having a positive mindset about exercise is critical for success. “So many people make it about losing weight or conforming to a certain physical standard,” she says. “If you go about it with a dream-like ‘I want to feel good about myself,’ or ‘I want to feel good in my own skin’ you’re more likely to keep up the commitment.” The spin and barre instructors at REV provide the support to make that dream a reality. Instructors keep participants accountable by providing the motivation, asking about the ‘why’ and putting them on the path to fulfill their dream.
While the spin and barre classes provide the balance of a total wellness package, with the spin providing cardio and the barre classes then toning the muscles, at REV it’s so much more than the calorie burn. “REV provides that extra step to change the way you think about exercise by providing that extra mental motivation,” she explains. “At every class, we ask ‘why are you here?’ as a way to tap into the spiritual element of fitness to motivate our clients to succeed in their goals.”
Staying accountable to yourself also extends to nutrition and healthy food choices. Being mindful that meals and snacks contain enough fruits and vegetables are critical components of a healthy diet. Being accountable means being aware of the ingredients in the foods you eat. Richard Manson, President of Pure Raw Juice, appreciates his customers’ efforts to choose healthy foods.
Voted Baltimore’s Best Juice Bar in 2017 by Baltimore magazine, Pure Raw Juice offers cold-pressed juice blends, smoothies, and bowls made from fresh produce. “Customers know their order is all natural, with no preservatives,” he says. “Seeing the ingredients spelled out on the chalkboard menu helps them hold themselves accountable for what they are putting in their bodies.” By providing no hidden preservatives or sweeteners, the customer understands they are getting the freshest product possible in their bowl, smoothie or juice order. “We also take accountability into consideration by offering the best possible nutritious product to the customer that most importantly tastes good so they can enjoy their healthy food choices,” he adds.
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