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How to make your fitness resolution stick
Times photo: Marissa Weiher Personal trainer Sam Messerli goes over a fitness routine with a client at his business Legacy Personal Training Wednesday. To order this photo, click here. (Times photo: Marissa Weiher)
MONROE - "This year, I resolve to exercise more."

Millions of people make that resolution every January. By December, however, substantially fewer have followed through on it.

To avoid failing this year's resolutions, three Monroe personal trainers gave their advice to stick with them and become fit in 2017.

Sam Messerli, Legacy Personal Training

January typically sees a 25-percent increase in activity at Legacy Personal Training, said Sam Messerli, fitness coach at Legacy Personal Training. By the middle of February, however, that holiday push dies off.

"People stop getting excited about physical improvement by then," Messerli said.

Part of the reason for decreasing enthusiasm comes from a lack of familiarity with personal fitness. Messerli said he often sees newcomers repeatedly choose "safe" workouts because they are familiar instead of harder workouts that will cause greater results.

"A trainer can ask questions to determine why you're here and what will work for you," Messerli said. "But a trainer isn't responsible for getting you fit; you are."

However, working with personal trainers may allow for greater retention than gyms, Messerli said.

"People know that I'll notice when you're not here, so there's a different level of personal accountability," Messerli said.

Messerli said it is most important for gym-users to have a goal and a way to measure their progress.

"It's like driving in your car: where are you going?" Messerli said. "You'll get somewhere eventually, but a plan will get you there faster."

A proper fitness plan must also include sufficient rest and good nutritional intake as well, Messerli added.

But above all, holding yourself responsible is the most important part of staying fit.

"Some people want to blame other things for why they can't lost weight, but at the end of the day it's just you," Messerli said. "You have to make sure that your expectations equal your effort. If you put in little effort, expect little results."

Carol Clay, Green County Family YMCA

"This year we have 15 new memberships this month," said Carol Clay, wellness director for the Green County Family YMCA in Monroe, adding that the increase was slightly greater than previous years.

Member retention at the YMCA is somewhat higher than at other gyms, Clay said, as new members are entitled to six weeks of sessions with wellness staff at the YMCA.

"They're more or less forming a habit after six weeks," Clay said. "But by mid-February, things start falling apart."

Clay said she often sees people attempt to do too much too soon.

"You have to set realistic and achievable goals," Clay said. "Don't immediately start training for a 5k, work up to it."

Clay said people burn out on exercise if they set goals they can't realistically achieve.

"That, or they don't have enough time or they even just get bored," Clay said.

To keep workouts fresh, Clay said "workout buddies" are a very helpful motivational tool, along with attending fitness classes or working with a trainer.

"Sometimes, it's just a lack of support," Clay said. "If someone's friends or family won't help, then it's hard to stay with it."

Jenn Binder, Anytime Fitness

Jenn Binder, manager at Anytime Fitness, said regimentation is key to sticking to a fitness resolution.

"Schedule your workouts into your calendar as an appointment, and set notifications for an hour before so you don't forget," Binder said.

In addition, Binder said, people need to go to the gym with a workout plan in mind: "Good full-body routines, don't waste time or effort trying to figure out what to do."

By planning their workouts ahead of time, gym-users are more directly accountable for their own attendance, Binder said.

"There's always reasons people stop coming," Binder said. "But the number one reason I see is that people stop making themselves a priority."

Binder said it's easy to backslide on fitness by believing that personal betterment is less important than other facets of one's life.

"You have to realize it's okay to take time for yourself," Binder said. "Sometimes people get so focused on being a good employee or a good person that they forget to take care of themselves."Mary Jane Grenzow 1/13/17