Once again this January, many Weyburnites are making good on their New Years resolutions to get back in shape. In fact, gyms everywhere see an uptick in attendance in the earlier months of the year.

Sticking to it, however, gets you the results and ensures your proper self-care.

Ryan Fowler, Owner of Olympia In-Depth Performance, said making any level of fitness maintenance a lifestyle and a habit will improve your mental health in addition to your physical health.

“Build physical fitness, whatever that looks like, into your day-to-day routine, whether it's getting up in the morning and going for a walk, but doing that throughout the entire year, not just relying on the New Year's idea of, 'well, I'm going to do this for a new me'.” 

He said while there are always different ways to get into physical fitness training, whether it's finding a personal trainer, joining a group fitness class or competing in a sport, each one can help you to build the habits through consistency so that it becomes, 'just what you do'. 

“We know that physical fitness and physical well-being is linked to mental health and mental well-being, so our encouragement is always to get moving,” said Fowler. 

“Get your blood pumping. And always, you will feel better at the end of a workout than you ever did at the start of workout. You can work off stress. You can work off those Christmas dinners or those birthday suppers or whatever the case might be.”

But what about in spring, when fewer people are still sticking to their, 'new year new me' routines?

“We want you being physically active and taking care of yourself for the entire year, not just for one month. Any activity is better than no activity, whatever that happens to look like. If it's going for a walk in the morning with the dog or with a friend or just on your own, or it's spending a little bit of time doing some body weight movements just in your bedroom, up to and including going to the gym,” Fowler stated.

“There are lots of ways to take care of yourself, and to spend time on yourself, and value that time. We always hear, 'I don't have time for things'. There's lots of time in the day. Sometimes you just have to re-prioritize what you're spending the time on, to put value back into yourself versus some of the other things that you're doing in life.”

He said you just have to start, and the process of hiring a personal trainer or a nutritionist will actually improve your chances of simply showing up, because of a transaction, which includes appointments, leads to an ongoing sense of accountability. 

“You've got to walk in the door, you've got to pick up the weight, or you have to head out your door for the walk or jump on your bike and just commit to it and make it a part of what you do every day.”

Fowler noted they have group classes for those who like to have workout buddies. In fact, many find that having a workout buddy can also improve your likelihood to stick to a new routine.

“It's nice to have a training partner or a group of people that you work out with or you spend time with, because it is also a community, so we would always encourage finding somebody you want to spend time in physical activity with, so that you can socialize as well as take care of yourself.”

He said it makes the world of difference to be accountable to somebody else other than yourself, since, “Most of us are not 100 percent intrinsically driven, where we can do it ourselves without any accountability or without anybody telling us we have to do that.”

Supervisor at Olympia In-Depth Performance, Marnell Spencer, who is also a world champion power lifter, said having someone to help push you through when you can't make yourself do it is valuable, “But lots of people don't have that.”

She said brand new members are often very nervous walking into the gym for the first time. 

“They're very nervous to walk into a gym they don't know. You know what to do, what the machines do. And here, we're just very helpful, like somebody walks in, I will take you, make you feel super comfortable showing machines and help you start a little workout,” shared Spencer. “That's important for people to know that they can come here and there are staff that will make them feel comfortable and help them out to get started, and then going forward, it becomes a habit, and that's huge.”

“Yes, life gets busy, but you have to be accountable to yourself and look after your own well-being, and physical and mental, they're so intertwined.”

Spencer reminded that, while people can be self-conscious in the gym, the more you go, the more you realize everybody is just doing their own thing. “It's just really not that type of environment. We all started somewhere. I was that person that walked into the gym for the first time and was nervous too.”

As for nutrition, both Fowler and Spencer, who are also both power lifters, believe in 'eating' and not in 'diets'.

“That's the fuel for my body. Just like you put gas in your car, you have to eat. And if you only put half a tank of gas in your car, you're only going to drive for half as far as you would if you put a full tank in,” he shared, noting most people don't know what different foods provide which nutrients. “You need to work with somebody who has an understanding of that, who knows what amounts you need to intake to fuel your body and to fuel it well.”

Fowler is also the Director of Athlete and Sport Development for SBD Canada, where he works with elite athletes, who know a lot about 'burnout' in training.

“We're seeing peaks and valleys of the training process and of the physical fitness process. The important part is to view it like a marathon. And I tell all my athletes this, it it is a marathon. It's not a sprint. We're trying to build strength over time. You can't go from zero to 100, in the strength and physical fitness world, because there's always more weight to push, or there's always more time to go.”

He said it's better to start out at 20 minutes and the next month make a goal of 25 minutes, and so on, than to push yourself too hard at the beginning.

“The best advice I can give is hire somebody that's willing to or able to coach you and program for you, because they know what they're talking about, they know what they're doing, and you're then accountable for that. They can help you push through. We all see peaks and valleys. We all see plateaus in training. Marnell's gone through lots of them as an elite level athlete and we're coming out of one right now.”

For those who aren't elite athletes, Fowler reminds you just have to put one foot in front of the other, and simply begin.

“We learn to crawl, and then we walk. It's no different at the gym. You've got to walk in the door and go from there.”

Find Olympia In-Depth Performance online HERE.