Staying fit for the New Year

Published 6:33 pm Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Denise Muha operates one of the pieces of workout equipment at the Dowagiac Curves fitness center, located downtown. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

Denise Muha operates one of the pieces of workout equipment at the Dowagiac Curves fitness center, located downtown. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

Following two months of celebratory feasts, many area residents are looking to come out of holiday-induced hibernation and shave off a few pounds for the New Year.

Improving one’s health is traditionally one of the more popular New Year’s resolutions that Americans make annually. According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton, weight loss is the number one resolution respondents made for 2014, though the survey found that only 8 percent usually achieve their goal.

While the city of Dowagiac has a number of different gyms the residents can take advantage of, following through with a commitment to lose weight will require more than regular access to a treadmill or a set of dumbbells, according to Linda Preston, owner of the local Curves fitness club.

“You need to be realistic when setting your goals,” Preston said. “Don’t just make a resolution you can’t possibly reach. Do something that you know you can accomplish.”

One of the simple suggestions Preston recommends to people looking to lose weight this winter is to develop a concrete plan of attack and then execute on it.

“How is just thinking about losing weight helping you?” Preston said. “Resolutions are no good on their own, action is what counts.”

Over the last several years since she took over ownership of the women-only fitness center, Preston said that many of her members have made resolutions to slim down. Most of the time, she recommended they stick to smaller resolutions they could more easily commit too, such as making it to workout sessions more regularly or working out even harder when they come in.

A number of the club’s 60 members have already been hard at work cracking away at their resolutions for 2014.

“I want to get back to a single digit number in clothing,” said Denise Muha. “That’s my goal for this year.”

Muha, who owns a daycare facility at her home in Dowagiac, rejoined Curves in early November in order to get back in shape. Since then, she has lost close to 30 pounds, surpassing the goal she hoped to accomplish by the beginning of the year, she said.

“I feel so much better nowadays,” Muha said. “That’s what it’s all about, I’m getting my health back.”

It’s not just existing members who Preston helps whip into shape this time of year. The club typically sees around 10 new members join its ranks within the first few weeks of January, Preston said. This month, the Dowagiac Curves is offering to waive the service fee for women who have been a part of the club in the past, saving them between $49 and $99.

“If you’ve been a member before and you want to come back, now is the time to do it,” Preston said.

In addition, the club is offering its new “Curves Workout with Jillian Michaels” routine completely free of charge to non members throughout this week.

“Curves tries to make it as easy as possible to exercise, eat healthy and have a friendly environment to do so in,” Preston said.