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Local Fitness & Nutrition Experts On How to Commit to New Year Resolutions

It's January and that means New Year's resolutions are in full swing, or already broken.

For many, the top goal is to be healthier and in better physical shape.

These resolutions are typically a good decision and when followed, they can make us feel better about ourselves. The problem is when these efforts fizzle over time until you're back to square one. Fortunately, some local health experts have tips to keep you moving toward your own personal fitness goals.

Joe Daniels owns Swing This Kettle Bell Fitness Studio in Latonia and has worked with a variety of clients to help stay on track. He recommends that those who haven't exercized in some time ease back into a doable routine rather than plunge head first into an intense workout regimen.

“Maybe you've had a pattern of doing things for 25 years and we're going to fix that in five weeks or five months? It's not just physical, it's still the habit, it's the environment around you and the people around you,” Daniels said. “We can be mentally strong, but isn't easier when you have a support system?”

Daniels uses the analogy of getting back into shape as how a person enters into a pool of cold water. Some people are brave enough to plunge right in, but most start with their toe in the water and ease the rest of themselves in slowly.

Joe Daniels talks with RCN's Bryan Burke:

“I would recommend the toe approach because we don't know what's in that water,” he said. “Every organism is individual. The experiences they've had, injuries they've had, education, everything. I would recommend going in slow. Start light. Let's say you've done very little in the last couple of months. Getting out and walking is better than doing nothing at all. You don't want to get up and start doing sprints. Start light because you can always add more. It's very hard to jump in and back off of something you've done. Put the toe in, put the ankle in, see how you adapt and see how you feel. The whole thing about exercising is about adaptation. I can try to run through a wall to get to the other side, but there might be a door 10 feet away. You might want to take a look around and see if there is a door there.”

For others, the idea of joining a gym and being around really fit people all the time becomes daunting and intimidating. The genuine interest may be there, but it's easy to get psyched out by the low body image we sometimes have of ourselves.

“Body image is huge and I don't know many people who don't deal with it,” said Daniels. “It's usually easier to do things when other people are there so large group class fitness has become a lot more popular in the last five or six years. The problem is when you're following a whole lot of people, you may be tempted to try something that you're not really ready for. I think that's the wrong approach for people who haven't done anything in very long time.”

Lauren Pax talks with RCN's Bryan Burke:

Living a healthier lifestyle doesn't always lead to increased exercise though. Lauren Pax is a certified health coach in the area who promotes a variety of ways to live healthier, but she also promotes setting realistic goals.

“I think it's all about the small wins,” Pax said. “I think everyday you can incorporate a little more wellness throughout your day and I recommend that a person adopt an 80/20 rule, so try to focus on 80 percent of the time and then be allowed to cheat 20 percent of the time. We're all human and if you push yourself too far, you're going to push yourself off the deep and you're not going to be motivated at all.”

Pax said that there are a variety of ways a person can improve their health, many of which they may not have thought of for themselves.

“With my specific health coaching approach, I like to incorporate detoxing your entire environment. Whether that is your personal care products, your beauty products, or the cleaning products you use in your home as well as stress. It's a lot more than just food. I like to focus on a very holistic approach that gets rid of the bad and restore the good.”

That being said, quality foods is a terrific starting point for people looking to become not only more fit, but also less sick and less stressed.

“I feel if you are focused on eating well, you don't have to necessarily have to push yourself to burn off all of those calories. To me, it's not about calories in and calories out, it's more about the quality of the food you eat. If you're more focused on that, you will be amazed at what you see in the end,” Pax said. “I think there are ways to incorporate those cheats in a healthier way. For instance, let's say you love pizza but you really want to avoid that thick crust that is full of gluten and a lot of calories. You could easily incorporate a cauliflower crust. So there are a lot of ways to cheat without giving in to those temptations, because once you do, you will only want it more.”

Daniels agrees with much of that and also recognizes how inundating the marketing of food products can be to consumers.

“We are what we eat, not what we lift. We are pushed entirely too many carbohydrates for doing so little. I know people who are eating a marathon runner's amount of carbs and a lot of people don't even know the difference,” he said.

For those looking to improve their overall health in 2016, the first step toward setting and reaching an attainable goal is to simply cook more often at home.

“Don't necessarily grab that bag of chips just because it is right there in front of you,” said Pax. “Get excited about preparing a meal at home with your family and just be present in each moment, rather than just skipping to the next thing.”

Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor