Local gyms hit peak season during beginning of New Year

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Four out of five Americans fail to stick with their New Year's resolutions, but more than 100 million continue to make them on an annual basis.

The most popular resolutions are often fitness-related, as many strive to lose weight or get in better shape. Kara Fowler, a personal trainer in Jonesboro, says success can come if people set simple goals.

"Everybody comes in and joins at this time," Fowler said, who works as fitness coordinator at the NEA Baptist Clinic Wellness Center.

The rhythm of runners on treadmills is heard far more frequently after the holidays there. The Wellness Center sees its membership double at the dawn of each New Year, and Fowler says 2012 will be no different.

"People have eaten bad over Thanksgiving, eaten bad over Christmas, gone to so many Christmas parties," she said, "and then, in January, people realize what's happened. They realize this is the best time to start."

Many people try to start off the year on the right foot, hitting the gym hard for several weeks. That dedication, however, fades. Fowler says, instead of setting a New Year's resolution, commit to more attainable goals.

"So a goal to lose weight or a goal to be more fit or to eat healthy or to reduce stress and exercise can achieve all of that," Fowler said.

The finish line to a healthy lifestyle may look far away or unattainable, so Fowler advises people to find something they enjoy. "Whether that's walking or riding the bike or joining a fitness class – whatever makes you happy that can help you keep coming," she said.

Jonesboro resident Clint Vogus works out five times a week at the Wellness Center. He has maintained a diligent routine of running and biking since the 1970s.

"I think I'm going to live a long life. My goal is to live to be at least 100," Vogus said. "I feel better. I feel stronger. My mind is refreshed."

He sets personal goals each New Year, always vowing to exercise and eat healthy. He says achieving an active lifestyle is comparable to a marathon taken at a slow and steady pace.

"Take it slow and stick with it for six weeks," Vogus added, "and then it becomes part of your life, part of your routine."

Vogus and Fowler say nutrition significantly contributes to weight loss. Establishing healthy eating habits and a consistent exercise routine can help people stay on track with their goals.

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