Are Your Fitness Goals Lifelong?
Meredith Nelson, M.Ed.
PrimeTime Fitness, Inc.
I am often asked if the membership at PrimeTime Fitness grows in typical gym fashion – peaking during the new year as people make their resolutions to lose weight and get in shape, and just before summer, when bathing suits begin to be pulled from the depths of dresser drawers.
My answer usually surprises those who ask. PrimeTime Fitness isn’t like most gyms, as our membership is consistent throughout the year. True, summertime often finds our members traveling and not in the gym as often, but guests hoping to maintain their routine while vacationing tend to make up for the void. Aside from that, our membership remains fairly steady year-round.
People tend to be puzzled by this untypical consistency in a gym. But it makes sense: PrimeTime members and clients aren’t there to achieve certain weight-loss goals or to look great for a special occasion. Instead, they are there because fitness is a daily habit. Just like brushing their teeth, exercising is just something they do! PrimeTimers know that staying active needs to be a lifestyle, not a short-term commitment to achieve an immediate goal – although several people do reach those smaller goals in their lifelong quest to become (and stay!) healthy and fit.
Why aim for a lifestyle change, as opposed to a short-term goal? Part of the answer lies in what those of us in the fitness industry refer to as “the principle of reversibility.”
So you hit the gym hard for eight weeks or so to get in shape for that special occasion, to look great in an outfit, or to reach your target weight. Good for you – you reached your goal, and now you look and feel great! It’s time to take a break from the gym, right? Your body deserves the rest!
You couldn’t be more wrong. Although you lost fat and gained muscle during your attempt to reach your goal, once you stop, that muscle growth quickly reverses and you begin to lose strength at about half the rate at which you gained it. So after eight weeks of hard work and hours in the gym, about half the strength you gained will be gone in another eight weeks unless you continue to perform the appropriate exercises. And since your muscle mass makes up your fat-burning “machine,” with half your muscle strength you‘ll be putting the fat pounds right back on.
So perhaps it’s time to take a hard, realistic look at your fitness goals. Are they long-lasting goals that you can stick with for years to come, like our PrimeTimers and their workout regimens? Or, once you reach your goal, will your old behaviors and patterns quickly return? If your reasons for exercising are short-term (like a special event), then your success will likely be short-term as well.
Meredith Nelson, M.Ed, is the owner of PrimeTime Fitness, Inc, in Mt. Pleasant. Certified through AFAA in Group Fitness, ACE as a Personal Trainer and Medical Exercise Specialist, and TPI as a golf fitness professional, Meredith has been bringing fitness to the East Cooper area for over twenty years. Since 2000, PrimeTime Fitness has catered to the mature exerciser and offers personal and small group training, indoor cycling, yoga, golf fitness training, monthly gym membership, and more. Meredith can be reached with your fitness questions at 843-883-0101, or Meredith@primetimefit.net.