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Is there a skinnier you trapped under all that holiday-cookie weight? Start working it off.

Escape trap of workout excuses

Experts share tips for fitness in new year

In his years of fitness experience, Robert Justice has heard thousands of excuses when it comes to putting off exercise.

Nevertheless, New Year’s resolutions to work off those holiday cookie calories make this the most lucrative time of year for the fitness industry and personal trainers.

Justice, membership director for Spiece Fitness in Fort Wayne, says there is an increase in people coming to work out beginning in December and at the first of the year.

A nationwide survey by the research firm Barna Group in 2011 found that the bulk of New Year’s resolutions are related to weight, diet and health.

Additionally, fitness clubs sell about 12 percent of their memberships in January, the highest volume for the year, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, which represents more than 10,000 fitness facilities.

But despite promises made and gym memberships paid, people still find excuses to weasel out of exercising.

“People blame everything on their kids,” Justice says.

The top three excuses Justice sees repeatedly are time, money and commitment, causing many people to abandon their fitness resolutions by mid-February.

“Most people in the new year want to change,” says Aaron Shively, an independent personal trainer who works at several area fitness clubs, including American Health Fitness.

But he says they have to make the decision to change.

When they’re ready, “they’re unstoppable,” he says.

“It’s a mental thing, more than a physical thing,” Shively says.

Several local fitness experts offered solutions for some of the most common excuses people give for not working out.

Excuse: I can’t afford it.

Solution: Justice says money is one of the harder excuses to combat. Some people just can’t afford a gym membership.

But Justice will ask clients about their habits, which if changed, can sometimes provide opportunities for extra money, as well as healthy benefits.

If you smoke, cut down on the number of cigarettes or quit altogether.

Like to eat out? Limit the number of times you eat out each week. Make a Starbucks run every morning? Think about how much that $5 cup of coffee is costing.

Justice understands the money thing, but “if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything,” he says.

Excuse: I want to wait until after the holidays are over.

Solution: Many people want to wait for the perfect time to start a fitness routine. “There’s never a perfect time,” says Jason Minich, founder of Catalyst Fitness in Fort Wayne. He says clients want to wait until the holidays are over before starting to exercise. “Why start the new year behind the eight-ball?” he says.

Adopting a new lifestyle change doesn’t mean there won’t be obstacles, Minich says. He tries to help clients learn to get around whatever obstacles are preventing them from working out.

Excuse: I don’t have time.

Solution: Justice says Spiece, as well as other gyms and fitness clubs, is open at different hours throughout the week, which provides even the busiest people time to work out.

The important thing is finding time for yourself and working with trainers to find a program that fits your schedule.

Shively says he tries to get clients to commit to 30 minutes a day, three to four times a week. That’s not a lot of time compared to how much time the average American watches TV each week (about 20 hours), he says.

Excuse: I don’t know what to do.

Solution: Minich says the important thing is to do a little bit more than what you are used to.

He says he understands that buying a gym membership and walking into a gym can be intimidating.

Minich says it’s OK to ask questions and for help.

Excuse: I can’t afford to get healthy.

Solution: “All you need is your body,” Minich says, adding that a person doesn’t have to buy fitness equipment or a gym membership to get healthy. He suggests doing such things as squats at home or going for a walk.

Shively says the No. 1 mistake people make is they eat too much. He says learning to reduce calorie intake will help in weight loss. He suggests eating five to six small meals a day, instead of three big ones.

Minich says what many people don’t understand is that you spend less on food when you eat healthier because you’re not wasting food.

The Scripps Howard News Service contributed to this article.

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