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One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to exercise more.

While many people create this goal when the new year is new and full of possibilities, just as many find it difficult to stay dedicated. According to Ed King, owner of Kings Gym in Bedford Heights, and Steve Sova, owner and treasurer of Health and Fitness Equipment Centers in Eastlake, the success lies in making fitness a lifestyle change instead of just a resolution.

“It is more of an interpersonal issue,” Sova said. “Whatever it takes to be and stay motivated to get fit is an individual thing. What we like to do is find out what those motivations are and why people come to our store. And then we do our best to help people make a decision suited for them.”

At Health and Fitness Equipment Centers, which sells commercial and residential exercise equipment, there is an influx of customers every year. Within the first two weeks of January, most people that come in are looking to get on top of a fitness-related resolution. But even though so many people have the right idea, there is still that struggle to stay on track, Sova said.

“For a lot of people, their true colors come out,” he said. “They want to do it but lack the motivation to follow through. This is a total lifestyle change, and if you’re going to make this choice, it has to be a lifestyle change. When people come here, we want them to know they’re going to use their equipment and make a commitment to exercise – not to just use their new fitness equipment as an extra coat hanger.”

King noted many people struggle with a lack of motivation.

“When people miss a day, they get discouraged and fall off of their routine,” he explained. “It’s about making it a priority. If you make it secondary, it’s never going to be long-term. You have to embrace it.”

The first step to making it a priority is setting realistic goals.

“To be motivated, you have to have goals you want to accomplish,” King said. “And a big part of that is keeping your goals realistic. Some people get going too quickly and start strong, but after three months, they’re worn out and give up. As a rule of thumb, you have to understand you’re in it for the long haul. Pace yourself and know you don’t have to do it every day.”

During the pandemic, many gym goers found their neighborhood centers closed for a good part of the year to slow the spread of COVID-19. While many of those centers are open again, no one knows if or when they may close again. On top of that, winter weather can make it hard to get outside to work out. So, with all of these circumstances stacked against someone looking to get fit, King said success also comes from feeling comfortable with your fitness choices.

“I signed up a guy recently that came from a corporate chain and didn’t feel happy with their COVID-19 protocols,” he said. “Kings Gym is family-owned, and we go above and beyond with our protocols. And that is something important to me as an owner. It is about setting that standard and making people feel comfortable in their choice to keep fit. If they don’t have those options and feel comfortable, they won’t go. Feeling comfortable goes a long way in staying motivated, where the odds of success are much greater.”

And for those working out at home, keeping fitness goals lies in feeling good about your chosen equipment.

“I would recommend buying equipment that is going to be easy to use, hold up well and not give you service issues down the road,” Sova suggested. “No matter what you like or prefer, you want equipment you can rely on and stick with through your lifestyle changes.”

If this is your first time considering this type of resolution, King said the core principles are the same: finding a facility that fits your needs with the right staff.

“Someone completely new doesn’t know what is good or what is bad, and whether or not a facility is doing the right thing for you,” he said. “So, someone new to this should ask around and find the facility they think will fit them and simply try it. And if it works, commit to it. But, know there is no shame in admitting something doesn’t work for you and trying something else.”

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