With a new year come new resolutions, and for many people those resolutions involve getting in shape, losing weight or eating better.
If your New Year’s resolution to get more healthy is starting to fade now that January is almost over, it is a great time to get involved in the 10 Week Fitness Challenge that will run from Jan. 28 to April 5.
Once you gather a team of two to 10 people, go to www.livehealthyiowa.org, designate a team captain and register the team members. The cost is $20 per person. Last year Appanoose County had the second-highest percentage of participants in the state, so don’t forget to register under the Appanoose County group.
Several county residents who have succeeded at getting and staying fit enjoy sharing their knowledge with others.
Rita Teater, owner of Curves in Centerville, says her foremost piece of advice is to be committed for the long haul.
“You have to be consistent, and you have to find something you enjoy doing,” she says. “Write down what motivates you, post it where you can see it on a regular basis, and tell a friend what your goals are — that helps hold you accountable.”
Teater suggests making a list of the benefits of getting into better shape.
“It’s not just about being a perfect size — it is about controlling diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis,” she says.
Curves is a workout for women that consists of 30 minutes on a circuit of machines. It incorporates strength training, cardio and flexibility. Teater says Curves is in the process of adding a diet center component. Men can also sign up for the diet, which is online and includes a one-on-one coach.
Teater says those thinking about working out should not be discouraged by factors like age. Women well into their 80s come to Curves on a consistent basis.
“They will be the first to tell you they have to keep moving,” she says.
Teater adds that eating right and working out don’t have to start in January.
“I even hear it in here: ‘I know I need to diet, I know I need to get after it, but I am going to wait until the new year to begin,’ ” she says. Her advice? “Make use of today.”
Lauren Jones learned the importance of health and fitness when she was young and watched her dad get serious about his health.
“He lost a bunch of weight because he wanted to be around to see us go to prom and get married and have kids,” she says. “That was really kind of an eye-opener for me that health and fitness are really important.”
Running didn’t come easy at first. The first time she went on a run with her dad, he beat her — and she determined to do better.
And she has. Jones ran competitively in high school and college. After she graduated from college in December 2011, her dad encouraged her to set a new running goal. So she ran her first marathon, in the process qualifying for the 2014 Boston Marathon.
Not everyone will become a competitive runner, but Jones believes many people who currently don’t exercise can benefit from and enjoy exercise.
Right now Jones is working on earning a personal training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She says she got interested in personal training because friends often asked to work out with her.
After high school, Jones felt burned out on competitive running. But after a year she was back and ran cross country for Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa.
“It was really a rebuilding year as far as confidence and thinking I could come back and be competitive like I was in high school,” she says.
She was definitely competitive, becoming IHCC’s first All American in cross country and placing 19th at nationals. That national finish drew attention from several four-year schools. She chose Nicholls State University in Thibodeaux, La.
Part of the decision was a local connection: her head coach at Nicholls State was Scott Williamson, a Centerville native.
“It was just kind of funny how things work out and how he heard of me,” she says. “I had that hometown connection that made me feel like I would be OK being so far from home.”
Jones ran three seasons of cross country, three seasons of indoor track and three seasons of outdoor track at Nicholls State. She says one of the coolest things she ever did was run at the Drake Relays her senior year because her friends who had never seen her run in college got to come.
When Jones returned to Centerville a year ago, she jumped right into working with youngsters. She was the assistant girls’ track coach at the high school last spring, volunteered with the high school cross country team in the fall and currently coaches junior high eighth-grade girls’ basketball.
To stay in shape, Jones runs almost every day and lifts weights two to three days a week. She runs outside, even in the winter.
“The only time that I stray away from running in the winter is if the road is iced,” she says. “Snow doesn’t really bother me that much. If it is not 20 below, you will see me out and about.”
Jones advises people just getting started at working out to be patient.
“If it was pain free, everybody would be working out all the time and we would all be in great shape,” she says. “People give up because they are not willing to be patient with the results.”
Jones says she still feels pain, especially if she hasn’t lifted for a while.
“The body is so complex, you are never going to be able to just not be sore,” she says.
She says her college coaches inspired her to work with people younger than her.
“It was so humbling that someone could be so giving overall,” she says. “That’s the kind of coach I want to be for kids. I learned so much, and now I want to share that with other people so they can be inspired to go on to college and do what I did.”
A lifelong journey
Jamie Lewellen recently marked eight years of owning Iron Dreams, though the gym is currently undergoing changes. He is getting back to where he started with personal training: doing it because he loves it.
“I’m simplifying everything to make it just fun,” he says.
Lewellen is remodeling the building to rent part out as office space. The fitness component is now Iron Dreams Fitness LLC, and he says he will only be working with people who really want to make progress. Personal training is $10 a session, while monthly memberships for a single person, a couple or a family are $30 per month or $100 per year. Lewellen also answers questions about nutrition and exercise free of charge.
The gym will be downsized from more than 60 stations to just more than 30. Lewellen says while he will have less square footage devoted to exercise equipment, he is upgrading the equipment.
“The gym will be for fun; it doesn’t have to bring in anything,” he says. “It’s just going to be because I love it.”
Lewellen says one important thing for people getting into exercise to know is that the body gets used to any workout and hits a plateau.
“The body is extremely smart, and it doesn’t want to change,” he says. “You have to make it change.”
To help people get through plateaus, Lewellen has six different workout programs that a person would do for four weeks each. After doing the sixth one, an exerciser can start over again with the first one because it has been long enough since the body adapted to that one.
“If you know ahead of time the plateau if coming, and you ask someone who can set you up on a new program, you should make progress forever,” Lewellen says.
Lewellen also works with clients on nutrition. He says timing is the most important thing. He recommends taking in food every three hours to keep the metabolism going. This would mean a minimum of six meals a day with each meal consisting of a protein and either a carbohydrate or a good fat, depending on the time of day.
Lewellen says that even if someone doesn’t have a personalized program, consistency is key.
“Doing something consistently, as long as it is safe, is always better than doing nothing,” he says.
Additionally, Lewellen says, people shouldn’t think of getting fit as a process one goes through that then ends.
“There is no such thing as maintenance,” he says. “You can’t get in shape and stay in shape. Fitness isn’t a destination; it’s a lifelong journey.”