Local fitness enthusiasts share tips for getting started, maintaining one of the most common New Year’s resolutions

Pam Wierenga from Medford has more balance and strength than many people half her age.

Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune Kyle Rickard instructs Pam Wierenga as she works out a balance ball at the Aspire Fitness Club in downtown Medford.

Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune Pam Wierenga trains with free weights at Aspire Fitness.

Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune Pam Wierenga lifts weights at Aspire Fitness.

Soon to be 65, Wierenga performed a series of squats on a half-sphere Bosu without sweating, then switched to deadlifts over 100 pounds in a workout Wednesday at Aspire Fitness in Medford. .

According to his trainer, Kyle Rickard, owner of Aspire, Wierenga has personal bests that include benching over 100 pounds and lifting 235 pounds on the rack pull.

Wierenga trains at least twice a week with Rickard – and often up to four times a week – as part of a fitness trip that started this month in 2016. January is the month to go. many Americans are starting similar trips.

Rickard said that after 12 years in the fitness industry, the best results start with a solid goal.

Many have set a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, Rickard said, but they don’t stick to it because the goal isn’t specific enough. He tells those he trains to “go beyond the superficial.”

“There is a reason why you want to lose weight, and that reason is more powerful,” Rickard said.

Some may want to lose weight to gain confidence, but Rickard has described strength training and strength training as another way to build confidence and a goal that can be more rewarding than looking at a number on a scale.

The biggest pitfall Rickard sees is that people try to do “too much at once”, when many studies show that new practitioners can start to see results with weight training a few times a week plus walking. and minimal diet changes.

“The goal should never be to beat you in every workout,” Rickard said.

Rickard, whose gym often aims to help people with physical limitations reach their fitness goals, said he has helped other clients by focusing them on an event with a date.

For example, a customer wants to be able to walk around Disney World later this year without running out of steam. In the past, he trained another client after hip surgery to get ready for a New Zealand hiking vacation.

Other times the goal is better mobility, such as being able to put on your shoes on your own.

“They say, ‘It’s just a part of life,’ and it doesn’t have to be, ‘Rickard said.

For Tess Ball, owner of Ashland Strength Studio, which will open on January 1, her fitness journey began ten years ago with a New Years resolution.

She was working in corporate advertising as a graphic designer in New York City in 2012 when her art director invited her to a gym. She didn’t realize how stressed she was.

She was teaching yoga classes a year and a half later and dedicated herself to fitness full time in 2015.

“I went, like, deep – it changed my life quickly,” Ball said. “I discovered that I could breathe deeply for the first time.”

Ball said a common trap for people just starting out is hanging on to trying to find the perfect plan or the perfect coach, when any move towards their goal would help them.

“The action itself will probably be enough to get you started,” Ball said. “Don’t get bogged down in research.

Ball and Rickard each recommended that those just starting out focus on the things they love.

“Try something that you want to do that looks fun, that looks like something you would like to do as a kid. Start there, ”Ball said.

“If you hate running, don’t run,” said Rickard, adding that there are many other ways to increase your heart rate.

Ball also recommended finding a community that will “celebrate your successes”.

“It’s almost impossible to do it on your own,” Ball said.

Wierenga started her fitness journey at Aspire in 2016 when she discovered a gym workout group for people 50 and over. Other gyms made her feel embarrassed.

“I felt comfortable coming here. It was important to me, ”said Wierenga.

She expanded her regimen to several group workouts and one-on-one training each week. She sticks to her scheduled workouts as if they were a doctor’s appointment.

“I am not a motivated person,” Wierenga said. “I’m just trying to be consistent.”

She says her fitness regimen over the past five years has led to improvements in bone density, and she enjoys being strong enough for things like easily hoisting her own suitcase into the overhead compartments.

“For me that translates into everyday things that people don’t usually think about,” she said.

For Wierenga, it’s not about numbers or competition, but about living well and aging well. She also wants to follow her 77-year-old husband when they kayak, hike and bike together.

“He’s not taking any medication,” Wierenga said during the stretches. “My husband, I must say, is my inspiration. “

Contact web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @MTwebeditor.