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Fitness experts sound off on how to keep New Year’s resolution

December 27, 2012

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Royal Oak residents Greg DeMars, left, and instructor Sara Hoffman participate in a TRX suspension training class Dec. 22 at Shut Up and Box in Royal Oak.

ROYAL OAK — Sticking to a New Year’s resolution can be tough, especially when dedicating yourself to something such as changing your body’s physical appearance after being set in a certain way for several years.

Every year, thousands upon thousands of people sign up for gym memberships with the intent of shedding weight, toning up and changing their body structure. However, a large bulk of those people also stop sometime in March, for one reason or another.

“What happens with a lot of people who are all gung-ho is they (want to work out three hours daily),” said Tarek Hamade, general manager at LA Fitness, 25352 Woodward Ave. “They kind of burn themselves out and get sick of it.”

Hamade suggested taking on one hour per day two or three days per week. He said people are more likely to stick with a routine if it isn’t an overly burdensome change.

“Start off light — very, very light,” Hamade said. “People remember when they were in shape or were a gazelle, and that’s how people get hurt. A lot of people are all gung-ho and, when March comes around, they fizzle out.”

Sara Hoffman — a Royal Oak resident and trainer at Shut Up and Box, 1625 N. Main — said the perception of your resolution makes all the difference. She also trains at Sky Club, Beverly Hills Club and for AOL’s corporate fitness program, as well as individual clients.

“The biggest mistake you can make when including health and fitness in your New Year’s resolution, other than taking on too much at once, would be looking at this as something you have to do rather than something you want to do,” Hoffman said via email. “You really have to see this as an exciting new endeavor and imagine yourself living the way you want to be living, then let the appropriate actions fall into plan according to that vision. The power of thinking positively is the most commonly missing ingredient.”

Another ingredient that the New Year’s fitness enthusiasts forget is nutrition.

“Sixty percent of the whole workout routine is nutrition,” Hamade said. “If you’re not eating right, you’re missing the point. Get help. If you see results, you’re going to stick with it for a very long time.”

That help can come in the form of a coach or trainer, or just a friend that you commit to attending a class with or heading to the gym with on a regular schedule. The extra motivation has helped many people stick with a fitness routine and avoid potholes.

“Remember that every mistake you make is only an opportunity to do it right the next time,” Hoffman said via email. “View your success as an upward staircase. ... You are always in the middle of the staircase, always going up, always improving.”

Another way to keep things moving is to alternate routines between weight training, cardiovascular-focused runs and classes. Many traditional gyms offer a variety of classes, ranging from Zumba to Yin Yoga, TRX suspension training circuit, Pilates, Vinyasa Yoga, various boot camps and, coming soon, Bokwa.

“The classes are getting more popular because it’s more motivating,” Hamade said. “If you do the same workouts, your body gets used to it and can plateau.”

Hoffman, who teaches most of the aforementioned classes at Shut Up and Box, said many classes are being packaged together in fitness challenges at some facilities, helping give patrons a goal to shoot for while committing to a workout plan.

“There are more varieties of classes than most people think, and new ones popping up all the time,” Hoffman said via email. “Every class is intense in its own way, if you have never tried it before. It never hurts to try a new class, as variety is the best way to shock your body, if you’re looking for quick results. … It’s becoming a social activity, as well. I really believe exercise and group exercise, in particular, is becoming a way of life.”

Along with Al Irish and Maria Generalao, Hoffman said the trio of Shut Up & Box trainers will host a 2013 fitness challenge. All three trainers would get together teams of 10 or more people “to train with us and check in about their diets for 10 weeks. Whoever is most successful gets trained by the losing team’s trainer for free for five weeks.”

“It is meant to jump-start your year and change your life,” Hoffman said via email, noting that the 10-week contest costs $200.

Hoffman also founded Rock Your Body Detroit, a website being developed into a local health and fitness network. For more information, visit www.rockyour

For more info on Shut Up and Box or the local LA Fitness, including class schedules or info on potential guest passes, visit or

For more local news coverage, see the following newspaper:

Setting realistic fitness goals is very important in staying motivated. Nothing can be more dis-hearting than not being able to reach your goals. Always remember that you didn't gain a ton of weight overnight and you are not going to lose it overnight either.


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