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Resolving to be more active in 2020? Set realistic goals

David Floyd • Dec 31, 2019 at 9:00 AM

It takes 20 days to turn a new activity into a habit.

That’s an adage that Jonathan Seagrove, the general manager at Planet Fitness in Johnson City, tells many of the gym’s new members.

“If you do it for 20 days, then it becomes more like second nature,” he said. “It becomes like a habit just like driving to work every day. So if you can do that and go at least that long, 90% of the time people stick with it.”

With 2020 ticking closer and closer, many Americans are formulating resolutions for the upcoming year, and many of those resolutions will likely revolve around fitness.

The business magazine Inc. reported in a Jan. 1 2019 article that, of a survey of 2,000 people, the top three New Year’s resolutions were all health-related: Eating healthier, exercising more and losing weight. But citing research on the topic, the publication said that, although 60% of people report setting New Year’s resolutions, only 8% say they actually end up following through.

Brad DeWeese, an assistant professor in the exercise and sport science department at East Tennessee State University, says failing to effectively manage time can be one of the most common pitfalls.

“In this day and age we have everything at our fingertips, but somehow we have less time than ever,” he said.

Stepping around those potholes involves setting small goals, like walking 15 minutes a day or eating a snack like an apple, that can add up to tangible change.

“Don’t try to bite off everything at one time, or don’t try to drive 500 miles in one day,” he said. “It’s the summation of frequent work.”

DeWeese compares the fitness journey to programming a GPS.

Travelers need to define their destination, which involves setting a realistic goal for themselves, and determine their route. That means setting short-term goals and bracing for the possibility of detours — like going to a wedding with a cornucopia of fatty foods — that could temporarily knock you off of your desired path.

The process can also be much easier if you have a co-pilot, DeWeese said.

“I don’t know if it’s pride or false confidence, but we sometimes want to go on these journeys by ourselves and we don’t want to talk about it with other people,” he said.

Finding a friend or loved one to exercise with can make you more accountable to your incremental goals but also gives you someone to commiserate with.

“I think that’s the key which is finding someone who can be another set of eyes, to provide wisdom and help you from turning the car around during tough times,” he said.

Seagrove said Planet Fitness, 949 Hamilton Place, sees an uptick in new members right around this time of year, which typically lasts through “beach season.” He also suggests that people sit down and develop a plan before they start exercising.

“I find a lot of times when you set a goal toward something, it’s easier to attain if you have that written down somewhere,” he said.

Planet Fitness members receive free training as part of their membership, which can include the option of receiving a customized workout plan. Regular membership at Planet Fitness costs $10 per month plus a $39 annual fee and a 20-cent startup fee.

Beyond regular gym attendance, Seagrove stressed that people aiming to lose weight also need to think about their diet.

“If you think that strictly just by working out you’re going to lose weight, you will, but it won’t be on the level you want it to,” Seagrove said, “and ... you’re going to taper off a lot faster, or plateau as they call it, a lot faster because of the fact that your diet isn’t where you need it to be.”

Johnson City also offers a series of classes and fitness opportunities through its parks and recreation department.

Starting Jan. 9, the Memorial Park Community Center, 510 Bert St., will offer a new, 12-week weight-loss program called Lighten Up. Sessions will be held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Thursdays at the community center. The program will last from Jan. 9 to March 26 and is open to participants age 18 and up.

The program costs $5 for all 12 sessions. Participants should register in person at the Memorial Park Community Center by Thursday, Jan. 9.

Locals can also participate in a 1-mile hike at the Keefauver Farm from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Wednesday. No registration is necessary, and participants can park at or near the property’s house, 632 Hales Chapel Road.

Other city programs offered through the parks and recreation department:

• The registration window for adult volleyball begins at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 15. The entry deadline is Feb. 28. Games begin on March 8.

• The city will host its Fitness Expo from 5-7 p.m. at 510 Bert. St. Light refreshments will be available, and attendees will have the opportunity to try out a sampling of the city’s fitness classes for free.

• The registration window for adult softball begins at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 3. Games begin on April 20.

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