Stick to a plan for success

Matt Gentry, Lenoir City Fitness owner and personal trainer, right, spots Jason Rooker while he lifts weights.

With a new year comes many looking to achieve 2020 exercising goals.

Local fitness experts often see a boost in membership at gyms in January as people look to get in shape.

“I’ve been in the industry, not just Gold’s, but I’ve been in the industry for about 17 years and people just want to see a change,” Lindsey Talley, Gold’s Gym personal fitness trainer, said. “They get in a rut and they just want to see a change with their bodies and their minds and some people get depressed. I think that’s just a reason why they want to see a new change and a new them.”

For Lenoir City Fitness, an influx of new memberships totals about 5-7 each week for the first two to three weeks, Matt Gentry, gym owner and personal trainer, said. That number falls shortly after that in part because people fail to get into a routine.

“I’d say about six weeks at most, which is unfortunate because if you hit that two-month mark, eight weeks of consecutive coming in and everything, you’re set into a routine and you’re less likely to drop out of that routine if you come in for eight consecutive weeks and make it basically a ritual.”

Gentry believes some set goals that are too lofty, which could lead to giving up.

Setting achievable goals can lead to a fruitful experience. Short-term goals are the “puzzle pieces” to something bigger, Gentry said.

“I myself, and my clients as well, we’ll set weekly goals — whether it be weight loss, muscle gain, a number on the scale, whatever their goal might be — we’ll set weekly goals as well as monthly and then an individual goal further down the road to where they want to be,” he said.

Especially for newcomers, Gentry recommends starting simple with circuit training or using the gym’s basic machines.

“Even if you’re a newcomer, if you’re looking for just weight loss, which is last time I checked is 80 percent of people come into the gym for weight loss,” Gentry said. “If you’re looking for weight loss, if you’re very heavy or very overweight, obese, 10 pounds a month is healthy. That’s what’s recommended starting out, and the thing is the more weight you lose the harder it is going to be to maintain that 10 pounds a month mark.

“People need to change that and realize that, ‘I lost 10 pounds from January, February, if I lose 8 (pounds) from February to March I must doing something wrong,’ that’s not always the case,” he added.

Find something you enjoy and stick with it, Gentry said.

Exercising with another person also goes a long way in staying committed. Talley recommends a trainer.

“We keep up with their programs. We keep up with everything so they don’t have to think,” Talley said. “They just come in and we tell them exactly what and how to do it and make sure that they stay in perfect form and keep up with their progress.”

Mark Sundie initially tried working out alone before seeking help from a trainer. Sundie went through three trainers before finding Gentry, who since November 2016 has helped him go from more than 400 pounds to 212 pounds.

Getting into that initial routine was difficult.

“It is for anybody who’s just getting started out just trying to get into shape, especially if they’ve led a very unhealthy lifestyle for a long period of time, which I did,” Sundie said. “My situation I think is a little bit different because I weighed 400 pounds, I had all kinds of health issues and I got to a point where if I wasn’t going to do something I was going to die. So I kind of wised up and Matt wasn’t the first trainer I’ve had, I’ve had trainers before him, but I basically got a trainer, I learned how to eat right, how to exercise properly, get into some kind of routine. I had bariatric surgery, too.”

He hit his weight goal a little more than three years ago and has kept it within five pounds since.

“In my mind it’s actually three pieces of the puzzle of getting healthy,” Sundie said. “One is diet, two is exercise and three is commitment. You got to be committed to the programs you set for yourself, whatever it is. ... I don’t ever want to go back to where I was, so that’s motivation enough for me to stick to my three elements of my program, which is diet, exercise and commitment.

“I go to the gym at least five times a week now, three times with a trainer and two for cardio, and I keep my diet under 2,000 calories, somewhere around 2,000 to 2,500 calories,” he added.

Exercise is important, but diet is key.

“There are some trainers that have an 80-20 nutrition to exercise. I’m more of 60-40 of nutrition and exercise,” Talley said. “As long as the person feels good and they’re eating as clean as they possibly can, I deal with a lot of people that have actual jobs and it’s really hard to eat clean-clean. So not being hard on the individual, just making sure that they are actually eating and trying their best to take care of themselves and getting in the gym at least three to five times a week.”