Getting into gear for the new year

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Sacha Weis decided she wanted to lose weight and get in better shape.

So, the 35-year-old woman signed up for a fitness class through Colorado Northwestern Community College.

Three months later, Weis is 20 pounds lighter, and her waist is 4 inches smaller. She dropped from a size 14 to a size 10. "I just feel so much better," Weis said. "I got back into my skinny jeans."

Thirty-one percent of people are expected to make fitness resolutions for 2006, according to a projection study by myGoals.com.

The key to reaching these goals is making realistic objectives and easing into a workout routine, said Tammy Workman, manager of Trapper Fitness Center. "Don't set your expectations too high," she said. "Keep them reasonable."

Each January, Workman sees a dramatic increase in membership numbers, she said. Within a few months, gym attendance drops again.

Most people lose their resolve because they get discouraged easily, Workman said. They need to set a plan, try it for three months, then reevaluate it, she said.

Workman also teaches weight-training classes through the community college, and Weis said the course was a good motivator. "It was difficult in the beginning, but now I love it," Weis said.

Weis started the semester unable to complete 10 minutes on the cross-trainer machine. Now, she can do 50-minute sets.

Workman said building up from a reasonable starting point is critical to successfully reaching a fitness goal.

Because scales can be deceiving, she urges people to not focus only on weight. "A lot of people are just fixated on the scale," she said. People may gain weight when they work out because muscle weighs more than fat.

Body fat indexes and measurements are more accurate indicators of success, Workman said. A woman's body fat should be between 18 and 25 percent, and a man should have 8 to 15 percent, she said.

"It's huge when you can see all of them change -- the inches, scale and body fat," Workman said.

Caloric intake is another important part of the formula, she said. Exercising and watching food go together to make a fitness routine effective. "It's part of science," Workman said. "If you're going to intake a lot, you've got to output the same amount you're putting into your mouth."

For information, call Trapper Fitness Center at 824-6932.

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