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Resolution dos and don'ts
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The Christmas presents have all been opened and the eggnog has all been downed, which leaves only one final holiday tradition to get started on - the dreaded New Year's resolution.

In an image conscious American society, losing weight is always a popular New Year's resolution.

Pam Stillerman, the group fitness coordinator at the Covington Athletic Club and Fitness Center, said enrollment always spikes just after the holidays.

"Our goal is to keep the members coming through April," Stillerman said.

Consistency and unrealistic expectations seems to be the major problems facing those looking to lose those eight pounds the average American gains during the holidays.

Peggy Nolen, a professional counselor in Covington, said resolutions are by their nature doomed to fail.

"I'm not really comfortable with the word resolution," Nolen said. "A resolution means you'll never do it again, which absolutely sets you up for failure. A goal is one thing."

But even scaling down from resolutions to goals, Nolan said people should be reasonable about their expectations.

"There is an old saying that the only thing worse than no goal is an unrealistic goal," Nolan said.

Far too often, Nolen said, people aim too high in their goals, which can lead to dejection when only partial goals are reached.

 "You want them to have success," Stillerman said of the gym's new members. "And people need to remember they have to ease into it. Don't do too much to fast. Don't try to run unless you are used to it. First you have to walk then jog then progress to a run."

People should also remember a misstep does not mean failure.

"If you miss a week, all is not lost," Stillerman said. "Setbacks happen."

For those lacking motivation or who are nervous about working out, Stillerman said group classes can be nice way to ease into the process. Most gyms, including the Covington Athletic Club, offer a variety of classes that should ensure a reasonable workout.

"We encourage a well balanced fitness plan," she said.

This includes a variety of exercise types from cardio to strength training. Stillerman said a person looking to loose weight would benefit from five days of cardio a week and two days of strength training.

"Strength training not only makes you look good and tone, but it also ups your metabolic rate which will help you burn off fat," Stillerman said.

Workout sessions should last at least 10 minutes to be effective, and Stillerman recommends 30 minutes of exercise a day. So a person who cannot hit treadmill everyday could plan three 10 minute exercise sessions a day.

Correct footwear is also vitally important, Stillerman said. A person should research the right type of shoe for the activities they enjoy. Not spending the money on the correct footwear can lead to back and leg problems.

Picking the right place to workout can also be a key to success. People should not pick a location more than eight miles from their work place or home.

"I would say 95 percent of the battle is getting yourself to where you are going to workout," Stillerman said. "If you can make it there, you are pretty much set."