Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Stirling Advice On Sticking With Fitness

Eight weeks. That is how long the average person sticks with a fitness program.

"The most common reason is that many participants tend to burn themselves out instead of approaching their fitness program in moderation," explains Maria DiMarco, director of spa and fitness at The Stirling Club. "Then they find excuses, complaining about the time commitment, muscle soreness, fatigue, and the lack of immediate results."

DiMarco's timeline corresponds to expectation cycles. Typically, new fitness participants experience excitement and elation within the first few weeks of a new fitness program, driven by inflated expectations. Unfortunately, unfulfilled expectations crash after eight weeks, before realistic exceptions take hold and fitness becomes part of their routine.

To get beyond the dip, DiMarco recommends the aid of a fitness trainer or an experienced friend. Not only does partnering with someone encourage motivation, but trainers are usually experienced in setting long-term goals that help people build into a successful program.

"At The Stirling Club, members can schedule a fitness consultation that is inclusive of a complete health and fitness assessment," we use these assessments to create a program designed to help people reach specific goals based on their physical abilities."

While each fitness program is customized based on those parameters, there are some programs that DiMarco says are especially worthwhile for beginners. One of them is Pilates, a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by gymnast Joseph Pilates in Germany. Pilates focuses on the core postural muscles (abdominal, pelvic, and lower back), which help keep the body balanced and provide support for the spine.

"It is especially beneficial because it can be included in a program for any fitness level," DiMarco said. "While Pilates is often used as part of rehabilitation programs, it can improve posture, strength, and flexibility for anyone."

The system was initially designed as part of a rehabilitation program for the many returning veterans. However, Pilates exercises also teach awareness of breath and alignment, which strengthen the deep torso muscles, and the importance of proper breathing, isolating muscle groups, and emphasizing form over heavy lifting.

The Stirling Club offers individual private instruction, using specific equipment designed for Pilates. Members may also take advantage of complimentary group classes with approval from a private instructor. The Stirling Club also maintains regular yoga, body sculpting, abs, indoor cycling, and Zumba classes.
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