Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fits and Starts

A personal trainer once told me that gyms are as busy in September as they are in January.
Last September, my local recreation centre seemed to be much busier than it’s been during the first part of this month but suddenly, late this week, the place filled and serious sweat began to flow.
Part of the reason might be that a nearby travel agency is sponsoring a weights-and-measures challenge.
“Your buy-in gets you weighed, measured & photographed before and after [the program],” the flyer says. “Along the way get newsletters with tips and hints to keep you on track and motivated. The participant with the greatest overall results will be awarded a Flight Centre credit.”
If a six-pack (no, not the beer kind) isn’t enough motivation, the chance of winning $500 toward a vacation might do it!
At this time last year, my friend Lee McKenzie joined a walking clinic to prepare for her new fitness aim: completing a 10-km walk. But she’s been putting one foot in front of the other for a few decades, so why would she need a clinic?
“I was in no shape to do a 10-k walk,” she says, “so I thought the clinic would be a good way to achieve my goal. I don’t like exercise classes but this was different. It really was motivational, it was social.”
There was also more to it than simply putting one foot forward and then the other. Guest speakers talked about nutrition, staying hydrated, how to be properly fitted for walking shoes, and more.
“There was a lot of information,” Lee says, “and that suits me.”
Her payoff also included finishing a five-kilometre event in March, then two 10-ks later in the spring.
This January Lee has signed up again, with her sights set firmly on a triple finish line: a brisk 10-kilometre walk, a satisfying sense of accomplishment – and a lot of fun.

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