So how can you make sure your own fitness resolution doesn’t have dire consequences? “We’re conditioned to say when we feel the burn we should do more,” Mundinger said, which can put us at risk of going too far. Competitive group classes and overzealous coaches can also spur a workout that crosses the line.

Of course everyone says to listen to your body, but how do you actually know when you’re in dangerous territory? If you have something left, and someone’s screaming to keep going, shouldn’t you?

The red flag that you should put the brakes on a workout, Mundinger said, is when your form changes — or when you are compensating with different muscles or alignment — just to try to finish the workout. “When you do three sets of 15 and you hit rep 10 and you’re all of a sudden trying to alter your form so you can get through the reps, that is when you need to stop.”

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For anyone who’s ever been in a class and didn’t want to be the first to stop, didn’t want to look weak, that’s tough. But “be honest with yourself,” Mundinger said. “Who are you being a hero for?” Even if you don’t get rhabdo from overdoing it, ask yourself what you’re gaining, she said. Is it psychological? Is it so you can post an Instagram about your success? Because it’s not making you stronger. “There is nothing shameful in stopping because you’re tired,” she said. “If anything that is the absolute smartest thing you can do because you can again tomorrow.”

And if it’s the trainer or class instructor shouting you on? “They’re trying so hard to be motivators,” Mundinger said. “And we feel like we’re going to let them down and look lazy .” But even though “they’re drill sergeants, most of them are going to listen,” she said.

If they don’t? “They’re not holding a gun to your head,” she said. Also? “It might be time to rethink the trainer or the group fitness. It’s one thing to push and be motivating and it’s another thing to be dangerous.”

Key to remember in any high intensity workout, she added, is to “be sure you don’t do the same muscle group movement after movement after movement.” Be especially aware of any new-to-you exercise, another culprit in rhabdo cases. Mundinger worked with one client who got rhabdo in her arms from pulling the reins the first time she’d ridden a horse in years. Also be cautious after taking a break. I’d skipped my workouts during three weeks of travel before my overly ambitious return to the gym. Student athletes returning to tough workouts after vacation tend to land in the news when they get rhabdo. And be sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids, as being deyhrated can also be a contributing factor.

It’s just a workout

If you do see warning signs after a workout — like excruciating pain and soreness, massive swelling or dark urine — get medical help right away, said Mundinger. Now’s not the time to wait for your family doctor to fit you in. “You probably want to go to an emergency physician,” she said.

But you can avoid this altogether by being smart. At the end of the day, remember, “it’s just a workout and it’s just a New Year’s resolution and you’ve got 12 more months to reach your fitness goals,” Mundinger said. “You don’t have to meet it in week one.”

BETTER ways to tackle New Year’s resolutions

  • How to make your New Year’s resolution stick, according to psychologists
  • The 5-step plan this weight-loss coach uses to motivate her laziest clients
  • 7 (totally doable) New Year’s resolutions that will change your life
  • 3 ways to make your resolutions stick
  • Use micro habits to tackle big health and productivity goals

Want more tips like these? NBC News BETTER is obsessed with finding easier, healthier and smarter ways to live. Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

5 Tips to Achieve Your New Year’s Fitness Goals

It’s that time of year again…time to focus on your New Year’s resolutions. Many people begin an exercise program, but abandon it before Easter. However, you can increase your chances for long-term success if you follow these five simple tips to achieve your fitness goals.

More: How to Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Determine Your Readiness

Make sure you’re both physically and mentally ready to start an exercise program. Tell your doctor you want to begin a fitness regimen and you want to make sure you’re healthy enough to start. Once you have been physically cleared to proceed, consider your mental readiness. How likely are you to stick with an exercise program once you begin? While there are many factors to consider, three are most significant.

You are more likely to succeed if you:

  • Have confidence in your exercise ability.
  • Receive encouragement and support from those closest to you.
  • Participate in an enjoyable form of exercise.

More: 3 Tips to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolution

Create a Plan

Before you start your exercise program, answer three questions. First, when will you exercise? Identify three days and times that are convenient for you and stick with those days so you are working out at the same time each week. Second, what type of exercise will you do? The best type of exercise is one you enjoy. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing; pick an exercise that works for you. Choose from activities such as walking, cycling, running, swimming, weightlifting, skating, dancing, golf, handball, tennis and basketball. Third, how much time will you spend exercising? Start with as little as 10 minutes per session and slowly build up to at least 30 minutes per workout.

More: How to Balance Diet and Exercise

Bring a Friend

You may know someone who resolved to start exercising in the New Year. Begin your fitness journey together. It will increase your chances for success and you’ll have more fun. For this to work, you have to find an exercise that both of you enjoy. This might be a challenge, but it’s worth it since an exercise partner provides you with a support system, a positive social experience and inspiration. There will be times when you don’t feel like working out and a partner can be just the motivation you need to get going.

More: 7 Resources to Reach Your Fitness Goals

Take It Easy

Think of your resolution as a lifelong commitment to a healthier lifestyle. You are much more likely to be successful if you take it easy at the beginning. For instance, you may see people exercising at a very high intensity, but you should start with low-to-moderate intensity workouts. You may know people who train six days a week, but it’s fine to start with three. You may see people engage in a diverse array of physical activities, but a 15-minute walk three days a week is a great place to begin.

More: 3 Exercise Tests to Assess Fitness Levels

Be Realistic

One of the biggest problems with New Year’s resolutions is they can be extremely impractical. Setting goals is a great idea, but make sure they are realistic and feasible. For example, a goal to lose 12 lbs by Easter is both reasonable and achievable. So is a goal to complete a 5K run by tax day. Conversely, a goal to complete a marathon by that date is unrealistic and potentially unsafe for newbie runners. Think of it as if you were building a house. Start slow (i.e., low intensity and duration), develop a solid foundation of fitness and then build upon that foundation as your fitness improves.

More: 10 Tips for Beginners to Ease Into Running

Stay in shape in a fitness class.

Research shows that a New Year’s resolution can be very effective, as long as you have the right approach (you can watch the fun little video by Doctor Mike Evans at the end of this post to see why).

Here are my top tips on how you succeed with your New Year’s resolution!

Don’t just make a New Year’s resolution, make a plan

Whatever your New Year’s resolution is, chances are that it won’t happen unless you have a solid plan for success. So take your resolution a step further and write down a real plan for what you want to achieve and how you are going to do it.

Set realistic short-term goals

Getting in beach body shape before summer is a good New Year’s resolution, but it probably won’t make you actually get to the gym on a cold Monday in January.

If your goal is too long-term, you will always try to convince yourself that there is plenty of time left to reach it, so you might as well wait a few days to get started.

You will surely feel more motivated by then and have more time, right? Probably not!

Instead, set weekly goals that you can measure. It can be a number of times each week you work out, running a longer distance than last week, adding more weight to your lifts, losing (or gaining) a certain amount of weight, etc. Anything that motivates you.

Go for the low hanging fruits

If your New Year’s fitness resolution is a major lifestyle change, don’t try to do everything at once unless you are REALLY motivated.

It’s better to have a goal of working out twice per week and then doing it, than aiming for five workouts per week and not do anything after the first month because it’s too much for you.

Make a list of smaller things you know you can do, and work your way up to the big goals from there. The feeling of success and accomplishment you will get from reaching your smaller goals will help motivate you for the big ones.

Get help and support

Everything is easier if you do it with a friend. If you make your plans and set your goals together, you can also motivate each other and keep each other accountable when sticking to the plan becomes hard.

Even if you can’t find someone who shares your New Year’s fitness resolution, tell your friends and family what you are doing and ask for support. Just telling others what you are doing will make you more likely to actually do it.

If you want professional help and support, you can also sign up for diabetes coaching with me 😀

Bonus tip: Making a bet with a friend about who reaches their goal first can be a great source of motivation. Putting a nice restaurant dinner on the line (that the loser has to pay for) will make you work your butt off to win. Just remember to keep it friendly and only do it with someone you know will stay your friend – win or lose.

If you follow these tips, you will most likely succeed with your New Year’s resolution. If you don’t believe me, let Doctor Mike Evans explain the science of New Year’s resolutions and why you should have one:

Suggested next posts:

  • How to Set Realistic Fitness and Diabetes Goals and Find Your Positive Motivation
  • The 21 Best Diabetes Books

If you found this guide to keeping your New Year’s resolution useful, please sign up for our newsletter (and get a free chapter from the Fit With Diabetes eBook) using the form below. We send out a weekly newsletter with the latest posts and recipes from Diabetes Strong.

6 New Years Resolution Gym Statistics You Need To Know

Post-Christmas, many people are itching to make a fresh start in the New year. Especially when it comes to fitness. In this article, we’ll look at the new years resolution gym statistics you need to know if you’re a fitness business owner.

A survey conducted by NPR and The Marist Poll in 2018 showed that 44% of American adults said they were likely to make a new year’s resolution. Of those, a staggering 13% set out with the intention of exercising, making it the most popular resolution in the United States.

But that’s not all; the third and fourth most common new year’s resolutions were weight loss and healthier eating. That means that one in three resolution-makers hoped to achieve a health-related goal.

Of course, this is fantastic news for the fitness industry. Most fitness entrepreneurs start out to help people reach new fitness goals and lead happier, healthier lives, and as gym memberships begin soaring, January is your time to shine.

But as you’re probably aware, people’s intentions and people’s actions don’t always align. As the new year marches on, fitness goals can quickly fall by the wayside. And it’s the same every year.

But if you prepare with some killer strategies, your gym doesn’t need to be quiet at any time of the year. So, let’s take a look at some essential new year’s resolutions statistics and highlight how you can get ready for the influx of ambitious new members – and keep them motivated in the long-run.

Skip ahead to:

  • 80% of Your New Members Will Quit Within 5 Months
  • Group Fitness Can Slash Your Churn Rate by 50%
  • 12% of Sign-ups Happen in January
  • 56% Of Current Members Don’t like Your New Members
  • Your Website Traffic Can Jump by 40%
  • ‘Fall off the Wagon’ Day

1. 80% of New Members Will Quit Within 5 Months

Research suggests that 80% of January gym-joiners quit within five months. As a studio owner, this means you’ll be missing out on a huge chunk of revenue over the latter half of the year. And that’s not good. Especially when you consider that it costs five times as much to acquire a new member as it does to retain an existing one. Just think about that for a second – the average gym membership in the United States sits at $58/month. In real terms, that’s an extra $348 per lapsed client that you’ve missed out on by December.

So, is there a way to combat the drop-off of members? Yes, there is; build a member onboarding strategy. Welcoming your new prospects into your club with a well-designed onboarding strategy can supercharge your retention rates. And it doesn’t take a tremendous amount of effort either.

Retention expert Dr. Paul Bedford showed that as little as four sessions spread over the first few weeks of membership can boost retention rates by as much as 17% at the 6-month mark.

And he’s not alone in his research either – the IHRSA’s 2018 report showed that just two interactions between staff and members each month increased attendance in the following month and caused a 33% reduction in risk of members canceling their membership.

That’s an incredibly significant statistic when you also consider the research from Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, who found that increasing member retention rates by 5% increased profits by between 25% and 95%.

So, consider building a new member welcome-protocol to help gym members transition from outsiders to valued members of your community. Keeping just a fraction of your new sign-ups from canceling can be the difference between struggling to keep the lights on and making plans to expand into a new city.

2. Group Fitness Can Slash Your Churn Rate by 50%

In addition to a solid onboarding strategy, introducing your new members to group fitness classes is a powerful tactic that reduces the chances of them canceling their membership.

In one study conducted at Penn State University, researchers started people who hadn’t trained before on a 30-week group fitness program. During the study, the intensity and frequency of workouts increased each week gradually.

In studies where people train on their own, the increasing difficulty of the program usually causes about 40% of participants to drop-out. But in this group exercise study, an incredible 98.8% of participants completed the program – an adherence rate that had been virtually unheard of in other fitness studies.

To further hammer home the point, another key finding of IHRSA’s 2018 report was that class attendees are 56% less likely to cancel their membership than those who go it alone on free weights or other training equipment.

It’s clear that the social support and increased accountability of group fitness can be just the ticket to motivate your new clients to push through the pain and stick to their resolutions. Consider promoting and incentivizing new members to sign-up to group fitness and watch your attrition rate take a welcome dive.

3. 12% of Sign-ups Happen in January

As you probably well know, January is the busiest time of the year for gym owners and personal trainers. According to IHRSA figures, 12% of all sign-ups happen at this time of year – which is proportionally more than any other month.

That means that you need to be ready for an influx of customers. It’s essential to get your staff roster in place early. Have your equipment serviced and working correctly and ensure that your computer system won’t crash on January 3rd.

Start your marketing efforts early – but be smart about them. It’s tempting to offer a free trial to attract new members, but it’s more important that you value your business correctly. While it works for some, giving your services away for free can encourage trial hopping and devalue your brand. Offer incentives that provide value but require commitment. For inspiration, check out this article for three alternative methods to the free trial.

Depending on your capacity, it’s sometimes a wise move for gym owners to offer no discount at all. Think about it – the new year is a time when people want to exercise. You don’t need to seduce them with a financial incentive now – you can save that for later in the year when you don’t have mince-pie filled clients fighting to get through the door.

That doesn’t mean you should neglect your marketing; however – there’s no harm in positioning yourself as the place to be when January 1st rolls around. Just avoid competing on price because that’s a race to the bottom. Only certain business-oriented gyms are going to win.

4. 56% Of Current Members Don’t like Your New Members

Dedicated members who’ve been training consistently can suddenly find themselves queuing for the treadmills, unable to book their favorite classes, and searching to find clean towels in the locker room.

It’s no surprise then to discover that over half of your current members don’t like your gym’s new members. While there might not be dumbbells flying at heads, your dedicated followers do get annoyed with the influx of new trainees.

This means two things for you as a gym owner. The first is that you absolutely must not forget about your current members – as mentioned earlier, these clients are literally the lifeblood of your business. Do everything you can to accommodate their needs and make it known that they’re still valued.

The second is that you have to think of ways to reduce the friction between your new-fangled recruits and your seasoned veterans. Classes are a great way to break down barriers and encourage mutual support between the two groups – social media groups too can be great to bring people together and build a community.

But you might also consider hiring a few more part-time personal trainers to cope with the increased demand and ensure minimum disruption to your current members.

5. Your Website Traffic Can Jump by 40%

More and more people are using the internet to find services near where they live. See those peaks in the graph below? Those are considerable surges in the number of people googling the term ‘Gym membership’ in the first few days of each year.

You can bet your bottom dollar that a lot of those searchers are going to end up on your site. That’s why it’s essential that it’s optimized for speed and updated with the latest offers and happenings from your club.

Similarly, keep active on your social media channels because many of your future clients will be using their phones over the festive period. It’s the perfect opportunity to remind them on Facebook, through Instagram, and by tweet why they need to get off the couch and put the new workout gear that Santa Claus brought them to work.

It may also be worth dropping a little cash in Google Ads to capture the lion’s share of the traffic in your area. If you’re interested in exploring paid advertising strategies, check out our guide to Facebook advertising for small businesses.

6. The Second Saturday of February is Statistically ‘Fall off the Wagon’ Day

Is it possible to pinpoint the day when it all comes crashing down for a lot of people? It turns out it is. Foursquare and Citylab got together to identify a “Fall Off the Wagon Day” each year among gym-goers by comparing gym and fast food activity.

They defined the day as the point when the uptick in fast food consumption meets the decline in gym attendance — a pretty good definition by all accounts.

The report shows that last year, following new year’s day there was a trend; gym attendance shot up by 6% while fast food joints took a hit down 4.6% in visits. However, as willpower became depleted, the researchers saw the two lines on the graph move towards each other until they intersected – on February 9th, just 40 days into the new year, there were many abandoned wagons on the highway of fitness.

So, it might be worth focusing on retention in the early stages to stem the flow of deserters before the floodgates open. Consider running extra initiatives aimed at encouraging people to stick with their resolutions in February, like a fitness challenge. Organize free events, classes, and talks to keep newer trainees involved and appreciated.

In Summary

Fitness resolutions can be difficult for members to commit to at any time of the year. While it’s brilliant to see more people getting into fitness and joining your studio in January, it takes hard work from both you and your members to keep them there. They have to want to be there. But if their motivation wavers, it’s what you do to give them the motivation to keep working toward their goal.

While it’s inevitable that a chunk of your new clients will cancel their memberships, there are steps you can take to reduce the attrition rate. By putting a solid onboarding process in place and promoting group fitness to your new recruits, you’ll help keep the drop off to a minimum and maximize your profits over the year.

So if you’re not doing it already, now is the time to prepare for January 2020.

New year, new you?

Trying to Get in Shape in 2020? Here’s the History Behind the Common New Year’s Resolution

It’s that time of year again, when many Americans head to the gym in an attempt to keep a New Year’s resolution to exercise more. About 11% of gym memberships are purchased in January, more than any other month in the year, according to a recent survey by The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, and a recent YouGov poll found that, of the nearly 30% of respondents who said they are making New Year’s resolutions, 50% said their top resolution was to exercise.

While New Year’s resolutions in general are thought to date back to the ancient Babylonians, the New Year’s resolution to get in shape is part of a much more recent trend.

Most Americans didn’t see exercise as necessary until the mid-20th century, says Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, a historian and professor at The New School who is writing a book about the history of American fitness culture. Previously, food scarcity meant overeating wasn’t a problem for many people, and it didn’t make sense to try to burn off the few calories they could consume; besides, it was generally only the most well-off Americans who could afford extra exercise equipment. But industrialization changed the nature of work and food production. Fewer farmers in the field doing physical labor and more office desk jobs, later joined by the growth of automobile culture and suburban sprawl and the popularity of television, all led to more couch potatoes.

“You don’t see exercise culture taking off in the U.S. until after World War II, when there’s more widespread affluence,” says Petrzela.

And the change didn’t go unnoticed. After a 1955 report showed that 57.9% of American kids failed one or more of six physical fitness tests — versus about eight percent of European kids — President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued an Executive Order creating the President’s Council on Youth Fitness on July 16, 1956.

Among American leaders, the Cold War fostered the idea that the fitness of national defense depended on physically fit Americans.

“In a very real and immediate sense, our growing softness, our increasing lack of physical fitness, is a menace to our society,” President-Elect John F. Kennedy wrote in a piece titled “The Soft American” in the Dec. 26, 1960, issue of Sports Illustrated, calling on Americans to exercise more. “We face in the Soviet Union a powerful and implacable adversary…To meet the challenge of this enemy will require determination and will and effort on the part of all Americans. Only if our citizens are physically fit will they be fully capable of such an effort.”

This push for fitness led to an expansion of the President’s Council on Youth Fitness and calls for the formation of a White House committee on the topic under the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and an annual Youth Fitness Congress for state governors. The Kennedy Administration also mailed schools a record of “Chicken Fat,” a six-minute song composed by The Music Man composer Meredith Willson and performed by Robert Preston. Students in physical education classes did sit ups and pushups to the chorus “Go, you chicken fat, go away! / Go, you chicken fat, go!” A shorter version was mailed to television and radio stations.

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Some entrepreneurs and trainers played a key role in the rising exercise culture. The chain Vic Tanny’s Gyms is credited with popularizing health clubs and the idea of annual memberships to a gym in the ’50s and early ’60s. TIME called Vic Tanny’s the “biggest chain of sweatshops in the U.S.” by 1961, and joked that Tanny’s “sell is every bit as hard as his muscles.”

“He was a cold warrior. In the spirit of JFK, he saw starting these gyms as crucial for cultivating citizenry to fight the Cold War,” says Petrzela.

Meanwhile, telephone-operator-turned-female-bodybuilder Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton popularized weight-lifting for women in the 1930s and 1940s at Santa Monica’s” Muscle Beach.” In one famous stunt, she lifted a 100-pound barbell above her head while standing on her husband’s hands. She opened a gym for women on Sunset Boulevard and wrote a monthly column “Barbelles” in Strength and Health magazine. “In those days, lifting weights was considered unfeminine,” Stockton told Sports Illustrated Women in 2002. “People used to say that if women worked out, they would become masculine-looking or wouldn’t be able to get pregnant. We just laughed because we knew they were wrong.”

As notions of what women’s professionally capabilities expanded, so too did notions of their athletic capabilities. In fact, the growth of the women’s movement was closely related to the expansion of women’s workouts. For example, the founder of Jazzercise, Judi Sheppard Missett, credited the 1974 Equal Credit Opportunity Act with the success of her business, on the idea that when women didn’t need a man to sign off on their credit-card applications anymore, it became easier for them to go out and sign up for exercise classes. Jazzercise helped pave the way for today’s boutique fitness studios, and in the same era jogging also became popular among both men and women.

“Changing ideas of women’s bodies, and what they’re capable of, pick up speed in the ’60s and ’70s, and make exercise a more accepted and celebrated pursuit — going to the gym as a New Year’s Resolution being part of that,” says Petrzela.

At the same time, the ’80s and ’90s saw the expansion of a conversation about diet and fitness that continues today.

However, while the rise of exercise culture has led to fitness-focused New Year’s resolutions, that doesn’t mean exercise is actually a widespread hobby. “Only 1 in 4 U.S. adults and 1 in 5 high school students meet the recommended physical activity guidelines,” according to the CDC. Expensive boutique fitness studios are growing, but they are out of reach for the Americans who need to exercise the most, and investments in public parks and lower-cost exercise facilities are declining. Not to mention, research suggests most people give on their New Year’s resolutions by June.

But the relentless optimism exhibited each year in setting fitness resolutions may reflect an American ideal. Petrzela argues that a New Year’s resolution to get in shape “reflects a deeply held American belief in the individual ability to be self-made,” she says. “What is a more concrete way to be self-made and to show it than to remake your body? There are a lot of modes of self improvement, but the gym makes that commitment very visible.”

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Write to Olivia B. Waxman at [email protected]

New Year’s Resolutions: Think Beyond Joining A Gym

Is that really what your ideal goal should be, though, and if not, what other options do you have?

You might consider an approach which has been gaining momentum and providing sustainable results: health coaching. This is an emerging area in health and wellness which focuses on goal setting, motivation, programming, support and appropriate progressions to achieve specific and personal goals. This approach is not ‘therapy’ and is not intended for work with people suffering from clinical dysfunctionality. It is for people who have areas in their lives which are going well,

and who would like to grow in other dimensions, particularly wellness.

But, where would you start, and how can you create a New Year’s Resolution that sets you up for success? This time of year, there is a consistent pressure to “join the gym.” There are high end boutique options, discount gyms, and others that provide a broad variety of programs and offerings.

What is going to make a difference for you? Is the gym membership going to make you healthy? The answer is not simple. Only YOU can make YOU healthy. A gym might be the right space, but if you are struggling to make healthier choices, there is much more to consider.

Here are some tips:

  1. Partner with a certified health coach. This has become a common term, but be sure to check the training and credentials of your coach. If they use this title, they should have a certification from a nationally recognized program such as the American Council on Exercise.

  2. Set SMART goals. They should be thoughtful and help get you closer to your vision of good health. These are Specific, Measurable, Action oriented, Realistic, and in a Timely manner.

  3. Pace yourself! Small steps add up. If you try to do too much too soon, it will likely not be sustainable.

  4. Be ready to overcome barriers. Not if, but when. Develop your plan ahead of time and be prepared.

  5. Don’t give up when you have a lapse or setback, and don’t expect perfection. We all stumble from time to time and this is a natural part of lifestyle change. A good health coach can help you adopt a growth mindset and learn from each failure. Focus should on your positive progress and your learning from each experience.

So now what? Always remember your purpose and your “why.” You have the power within you to make this new year different. You are the one in control and have the answers within you. Be confident and take that first step to a healthier you.

Strategies to stay active

Here are some creative ways to stay active while all of the holiday leftovers are around:

  1. Get up and do something during the commercials.

  2. Take an indoor walk at the mile-long loop at Central Lakes College or in the mall.

  3. Make one healthy change to your meal or snack and rethink your drink! Often people don’t realize how many calories they consume through beverages.

  4. Partner up and find a buddy to provide support and be active with you. Group fitness classes can develop lifelong friendships and help make you accountable to others.

  5. Embrace winter. We have plenty of snow so get out and snowshoe or cross-country ski at the Northland Arboretum.

Wherever you are in your readiness, remember that lifestyle change takes time.

Allow yourself to work up through your goals gradually and safely. Remember that everything you have experienced up until now has been great learning. Use that, along with these tips, and you can get the results to be the real you.

New year resolutions fitness

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