Resolution for health

It could be months before Catawba County residents walk along the seashore in a bathing suit, but that won't stop resolution-makers from getting a jump start on their fitness goals for the new year.

Resolution season is in full swing this month, and county fitness centers noticed an increase in their membership as more people vow to have a healthier 2011.

The Shuford YMCA in Conover had 108 new memberships since December, which Community Wellness director Daniel White said can be attributed, in part, to New Year's resolutions.

The YMCA debuted new cardio equipment about three weeks ago, which has individual TVs on each machine. There are also flat-screen TVs on workout-room walls for patrons to watch as they exercise.

The YMCA offers cardio machines, including treadmills and stationary bicycles; free weights; and other resistance equipment.

YMCA trainer Dee Daniels worked out Wednesday at the facility, and she said her clients ask "all the time" about how they can make their resolutions stick.

Her advice: Be creative.

"Just try to stay consistent, but make it fun," she said. "Mix it up."

For Jason Holland, of Conover, who lifted weights Wednesday at the YMCA, the new year isn't about making promises you can't keep. He said he chose not to make a resolution this year, instead choosing to adopt healthy practices, such as going to the gym, year-round.

Alan's Gym in Newton also noticed an increase in members since the new year.

"I've had quite a few more people come in," said gym owner Alan Robbins.

Alan's Gym reopened in November after a change in ownership. The gym, located on North College Avenue in Newton, was previously known as Charlie's Gym.

"Some people have asked me for some tips," Robbins said, adding those patrons want to know how to lose weight and keep it off.

To entice resolution-makers, Alan's Gym offered specials in early January, including a year membership for $250. Although that special is no longer offered, the gym always offers no contracts. Patrons can pay monthly, weekly or daily.

Amy Campbell, who has practiced yoga for 25 years, said her resolution is to remain physically active. Campbell works out at The Perfect Workout, located at North Main Avenue in downtown Newton.

Although Campbell is no stranger to exercise, The Perfect Workout experiences a surge in membership every year from January to February.

That surge, however, won't last.

"As soon as the weather gets nice, people start to drop off," said owner Sharon Rashidi. "I see it every year."

To prevent drop-off and discouragement, Rashidi suggested recruiting a "workout buddy" for motivation. She also said people can tell others their fitness goals and post those goals online for people to see. Food journals are another way to keep people accountable during their fitness routines.

Danielle Matieson, of Newton, wants to run a 10k race this year. She ran 5k races in the past, but this year, she wants to challenge herself.

She amped up her usual fitness routine and is following an online program designed for runners.

For others, the new year is about maintaining an already-active lifestyle.

"I don't say I'm going to lose five pounds or I'm going to the gym every day," said Debbie Dunn, as she power-walked on a treadmill. "It's part of a lifestyle."