It's time to get the weight off. Time to strengthen the legs. Time to tone up.
But how do you start?
Taking the do-it-yourself method has its advantages. It can be done in the home, may be accentuated with online help and is cheaper than other options.
But maybe a gym experience is the right fit. It offers a chance for new friendships, accountability and a wide variety of equipment.
And using a personal trainer also has its positives. It offers one-on-one instruction, a customized program and personal motivation.
The Times Free Press discussed the three general methods of fitness with Kevin Harvey, owner of Scenic City Boot Camp, Chris Bearden, personal trainer at The Rush Fitness Complex and Harold Flemister, co-owner of Stat Fitness.
DO IT YOURSELF
Suggested equipment: Set of dumbbells ($20 and up at WalMart), exercise ball ($9 and up at WalMart).
Starting from scratch: "Start a walking program," said Kevin Harvey of Scenic City Boot Camp. "Even if it's only a football field or less, that's how you start."
Using what you have: "Learn a lot about your body and how to manipulate it," he said. "Use your couch or a chair with your feet on the [exercise] ball."
Suggested exercises: Squat, wall-ball squat, squat curl press, abdominal crunch, plank with an exercise ball, any type of lunging.
One-day splurge: Hire a personal trainer for one day, then follow the trainer's advice.
Low-cost option: Chattanooga Fitness Center at Warner Park, which offer a wide range of equipment and classes and is open six days a week. The cost is $1 per visit.
General advice: "Anything that going to tax their body [is important]," said Harvey. For instance, "a push-up works the entire body."
What does a gym offer: "You connect with other people," said Chris Bearden of The Rush. "They keep you accountable, keep you coming in. Accountability is the number-one thing. You also meet new and interesting people; you form relationships [and] friendships."
How often: If starting an exercise program from scratch, he suggests a visit at least twice a week.
Cost incentives: Rush, for one example, is offering new clients five days free or an introductory membership of $12 for January.
How to start: "I always stress the importance of getting to know your core (your body minus your head and limbs but including your shoulder and hip joints)," Bearden said. "Just getting your center good and tight and familiar with moving around at the starting point [of an exercise program is important]."
What to do: "It's important to be trying different pieces of cardio [equipment], to get familiar with the gym, to ask questions," he said. "The more questions [a trainer] answers, the more [a client] asks, and the more we'll answer."
If money is no object: "We go the whole nine yards," said Harold Flemister of Stat Fitness. "We see what goals [the clients] have in mind [and] take a comprehensive approach. We try to show people a lot of function and movement."
Home or gym: "We normally work in a space with someone," he said. "If a client needs to do it at home, we're willing to come."
Motivation: With a personal trainer, "they're more apt to put in the work," he said. "It becomes a commitment. Most times, if they seek out my help, they need the motivation and the education behind the exercise and fitness."
Process: "In the beginning you're going to see some results," he said. "Eventually, you may find yourself being stagnant. Then you move from stable to unstable (exercises). The more muscles that come into play, the more you burn calories and the more your strengthening stabilizes."
Frequency: "I recommend in a month no less than two times, up to three or four," he said.
Cost: $40 an hour, with discounts for more frequency in a month.
Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...