WORDS BY: RIVA LU
PHOTOS BY: ANH NGUYEN
After seeing the leaves shed for fall, you might be hoping to shed some extra pounds you put on this winter.
You're not alone; weight loss is one of the major reasons people hit the gym after months of feasting and festivities. But there are many other personal reasons why people commit to fitness resolutions.
Zachary Smith, a personal trainer at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center at California State University, Long Beach said that although the most common reason for going to the gym is to lose weight, people also go for overall improved health and to gain muscular strength.
“Exercise is one of the best ways to improve one’s mind, body and spirit, as well,” Smith said.
Eric Vu, a personal trainer at 24 Hour Fitness, said that a lot of people sign up and attend the gym from January to February.
“This is one of the busiest seasons during the year as a trainer,” Vu said. “However, I would say that 80 percent of the people who go to the gym are here for vanity reasons.”
Smith agreed that after New Year's, there is a huge increase in the number of people who attend the gym.
“For the first month, it’s like the first day of school where everything is a little chaotic,” Smith said. “There is often a decrease in gym attendance as the year goes on because many people fall back into their old routines or begin to find excuses of why they can’t exercise.”
Vu says that a way for people to keep their resolutions is by creating “S.M.A.R.T Goals” and to also know why they want to achieve those goals.
S.M.A.R.T. Goals might look like this, according to Vu:
- S- specific: I want to lose 10 pounds
- M- measurable: weight scale
- A- action plan: workout routine, diet and schedule
- R- realistic: can you realistically achieve your goal within the given time frame or current circumstance?
- T- time: I want to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks.
“Having accountability and a support system increases the chances for success,” he said.
Smith says that by setting goals for yourself and writing them down in a place you see everyday, it is easier to remind yourself of what you want to do.
“I place mine on my bathroom mirror so that every time I’m in there, I am reminded of what I want to do and where I want to be by the end of the year,” he said.
Third-year health science major Christine Lethu said that she maintained and kept up with her fitness resolution in 2015 by planning out her day.
“I know that some students think that they can’t go to the gym because they don’t have enough time due to studying,” Lethu said. “So plan out your day and try to squeeze in about an hour.”
Lethu said that having a fitness resolution is beneficial to students because it gives them the opportunity to motivate themselves to a better lifestyle in all aspects.
“If you have a healthier lifestyle, you can even help your study habits,” she said.
Smith said that by making short-term goals, you can achieve your goals more often, such as running a mile in a specific time, completing a certain number of push-ups or pull-ups, or losing one pound a week.
“Set a couple of long-term goals to continue working on throughout the year, such as training for a marathon or tough mudder, or losing a specific amount of weight,” he said. “Once you complete your goals, cross them off and create more.”
When you complete your goals, you begin to gain the feeling of accomplishment, satisfaction, and then you notice the changes you were looking for, Smith said.
“Your sense of drive and determination begin to increase and you want to better yourself overall -- not just in health and fitness, but as an overall person,” Smith said.