Eden Prairie Community Center personal trainer Carina Smith said consistency is a key to keeping fit all year long.
“If we consistently sit, then we will see the appropriate results associated with that,” Smith said. “If we consistently move, then we will see the appropriate results from that, the natural benefit from that.”
But, it’s about this time when the steely resolve of those earnest New Year’s resolutions to exercise more or lose some extra pounds are cast aside. Studies show that most people give up on their resolutions by mid-February.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though.
Smith offered some simple ways to help people build consistent fitness habits.
“If people lack motivation, make an adjustment,” Smith said. “But you have to think about what that adjustment needs to be to keep you motivated.”
One of nine personal trainers on staff at the fitness center, Smith sees many people come in and only use the machines. That works, too, she said. The center features “top-of-the-line” cardio equipment, resistance training and free weights for people 14 years of age and older.
“I’m always an advocate for people to be moving,” she said. “I think if people are coming in and they are simply moving that’s always the alternative of not moving.”
But people can get bored doing the same exercise.
“Everybody has to look within themselves to find what that pivot is,” she said. “What will keep me coming? What change needs to be made that I don’t get bored?”
She said personal trainers could help.
“It’s an expense that you have to invest in, but for a lot of people, training may be the right answer,” she said. “Some of my clients have the self-awareness that they won’t come in on their own. So, they meet with me three times a week because they need that accountability.”
After going through physical therapy for a shoulder injury, Eden Prairie resident John Gilligan signed up for personal training with Smith.
“I wanted to continue with what I was doing, but I didn’t want to do anything to damage (his shoulder),” he said. “I wanted to make sure I was doing it right.”
Smith said many people also find added motivation in taking a fitness class. Classes are included in the Community Center membership.
“Someone is holding you accountable,” said Smith, who also teaches fitness classes. “Somebody sees you there.”
She said it takes a “level of bravery” to walk into a fitness class for the first time.
“But as an instructor, it’s our job to make sure that you feel successful,” she said. “Because we were all new to the gym at some point. It has to be worth their value and time to come in, and we don’t want them walking out saying that was just so difficult that they’ll never come back.”
All the right moves
What are some of the exercises that can keep people motivated?
“It depends on the person,” Smith said. “I don’t like to say everybody should do a squat with an overhead press. Because if you got something going on with your shoulder, then maybe that’s not the best exercise.”
She said, “generally speaking,” finding exercises that engage multiple muscles at the same time is always going to be good.
“A lot of times we like to focus on one muscle at a time, and that’s fine,” she said. “You know a bicep curl is going to do one muscle at a time, but it’s great if we can incorporate multiple muscles at the same time because that’s part of our functional training and that helps us move and perform movements that we do every single day.”
Trainers can help people make technique adjustments, so they’re getting the most of each movement. If your technique is off, “you’re just going through the motions, and you’re not necessarily getting as strong as quickly as you would like,” she said.
“The general population isn’t studying muscle anatomy,” she said. “Everybody else has other things pulling their attention. So come in here, work with a trainer and let us give you the education and the information so you can move forward with confidence and motivation.”
Personal training and the stretch studio at the Community Center, 16700 Valley View Road, is available to members and non-members (though members get a price break).
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