Leaping Past the Hurdles

Motivation and realistic goals are only the start of your fitness obstacle course. Amber Ault reports on ways to achieve better results.

Motivation and realistic goals are only the start of your fitness obstacle course. Amber Ault reports on ways to achieve better results.

It’s a couple of months into the new year and time to check our progress toward keeping our 2009 resolutions to improve our health and increase our fitness. Are we inspired by those buff Obamas? Freaked by the fast-approaching pool party season? Oh, whatever will we wear to the GSAFE Celebration of Leadership? Let’s just take a mindful breath and consult with some of Madison’s fabulous fitness experts. What do they have to stay about staying on course toward getting healthier this year?

Change? Yes we can…but it can bite. When it comes to changing habits from passive to active, we’re like a bunch of grumpy Republicans getting used to the new game in town. Bradford Hastreiter, who recently set up a personal training practice at Studio Melt in downtown Madison, emphasizes how challenging it can be to become a body in motion. “We are creatures of habit,” he notes. “If you sustain the habit of sitting on the couch when you get home for work, it takes a lot of energy and commitment to change that habit so that you go to the gym or walk in the neighborhood for an hour.” Recognize that we can change, and that it takes work.

Location, location, location. Beyond inertia, are the issues of location and intimidation. “If the gym is ten miles away, if you have to go a long way to get there, or if it’s snowing out, it becomes a major ordeal,” says Sonya Barton, co-owner of Twisted Fitness, located in Ford’s Gym on the east side. Barton recommends finding a place to work out that is close and convenient, and where the vibe is a comfortable one for you. Many gyms and clubs offer one-week trial memberships to allow folks to explore the match. She even recommends calling in advance to chat with the staff, so that when you take the first big step through the door, you’ll already feel connected. Barton, whose business includes personal training, classes in mixed martial arts, and a most amazing $5-drop-in-twice-weekly abs class called Crunch Time, is all about the fit between a person and a place. “It’s hard enough for people to get themselves in the door,” she says, “so we do as much as we can to make them feel as comfortable and welcome as possible, and to ensure that they have fun.”

Set your own gay agenda. Having fun becomes easier when a person sets small goals en route to larger ones, says Josh Baszynski, a personal trainer who manages the new, woman-owned 24-hour Snap Fitness location on Atwood Avenue. Baszynski uses the “SMART” model for helping people set fitness goals. Goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. “Losing thirty pounds in a month is not smart, healthy, or likely achievable,” he emphasizes, so it’s important to create smaller benchmarks. Hastreiter, who uses a “macro-micro” approach to goal-setting, agrees. “A client may want to lose 40 pounds or to be able to bench press 150,” he says, “so we focus on losing 5 pounds in one month. After that, we set new goals that will allow them to go to the next step.” Great gains can be accomplished through focusing on small, incremental achievements. Otherwise, notes Barton, “it can be overwhelming.”

Yes, We Recruit! Each trainer I interviewed emphasized the importance of social support in staying on course toward our fitness goals. Whether it’s planning to meet pals to sweat it out at Barton’s Crunch Time, making a mid-night workout date with your partner at Snap! Fitness, signing up for the outdoor fun group Hastreiter is organizing for the warm months, joining one of Madison many sports clubs, or just being around other like-minded people dreaming of biking with their Sweeties while spinning away at the gym, recruiting support for your cause can get you there easier and faster. There may not be a toaster oven for the queer family member who brings out the most new fitness fanatics, but cultivating playmates has its own healthy rewards.