Goals, fun key to fitness

News Photo by Darby Hinkley Gina Smigelski participates in a pilates class on Wednesday at Bay Athletic Club in Alpena. Since taking control of her own health, she has lost and kept off 60 pounds and is now training for her sixth marathon.

ALPENA – Making New Year’s resolutions isn’t for everyone, but those who have resolved to be more active in 2019 can find support through varied workouts and fitness buddies.

The key to a successful fitness plan is to find something fun that you can look forward to doing on a daily basis. It’s also important to surround yourself with others who have similar goals, according to Sarah Morrison, communications director at Bay Athletic Club.

“Nine out of 10 people fail at a goal sometimes because they didn’t have fun,” Morrison explained on Wednesday. “If you do not enjoy what you’re doing, you won’t stick with it.”

She said there are so many different ways to work out that there has to be some kind of workout that appeals to each person individually.

“So much of it is changing your mindset, what you think about fitness,” Morrison said. “If you always tell yourself, ‘Oh, I hate working out, I hate working out,’ you’re gonna hate working out.”

But if you find the right type of workout, you will start to enjoy it and want to keep doing it.

“If you want to change your health, if you want to change a habit, that also involves changing some of the thoughts in your head,” Morrison said.

She said if you hate running, don’t run. Do something else. If you hate weight-lifting, try a pilates class. Meet with a personal trainer.

“The first thing they’re going to ask you is, ‘What will you enjoy? Let’s build something around that,'” Morrison said of BAC personal trainers.

She added that making goals is essential, and even if you don’t reach the goal you set right away, making any progress is success in and of itself.

Gina Smigelski decided more than a decade ago that she needed to make some fitness moves to improve her health and quality of life.

“I’ve lost a total of about 60 pounds, and I’ve pretty much been able to maintain that over the past 10 or 11 years,” Smigelski said on Wednesday morning before her pilates class at BAC.

She was overweight when she was younger, and when she became a mom 21 years ago, she found it hard to keep up with her son as he grew into a toddler. She would get fatigued easily and finally decided to try something different.

“I always liked to run,” she explained. “So I would do that early in the morning so nobody could see me. And I started watching what I ate. And as soon as Bay Athletic Club opened, I joined the gym.”

She said she struggled with keeping on track when she was on her own, so she got a personal trainer and joined group fitness classes to have others help motivate her to stay focused on her fitness goals.

Smigelski noted that sometimes not being active can become a negative cycle, but when you make yourself start a new, positive habit, both physical and mental benefits abound.

“I found that when I worked out, I wasn’t as tired,” she said.

Her current goal is to run a personal best time, or personal record (PR) in this year’s Detroit Marathon, which will be her sixth marathon.

“My best time was four hours and 35 minutes, so I want to beat that,” she said. The marathon is in October.

She said establishing a daily fitness routine is a key to success.

“To me, when I first started, I kind of made it a normal routine, like brushing my teeth,” Smigelski said. “You know, you don’t go a day without brushing your teeth, so I’m not going to go a day without doing some kind of physical activity.”

She said fitness tracking devices such as Apple watches and FitBits help set daily goals.

“I’ve been tracking my steps for over a year now, and I find that motivating,” she said. “I’ve got to get at least 10,000 steps in a day. And little friendly competitions. I’ve got some pretty competitive friends.”

She said if her app or program shows her that one of her friends worked out for an hour that day, or has more steps in than she does, it motivates her to get up and get going.

Smigelski said the group fitness classes help her feel like she doesn’t need to be intimidated by learning a new activity or how to use a new fitness machine.

“It’s fun getting to know the people in the classes,” she added.

She just retired, and she is adding more fitness classes, and spending more time learning how to cook healthy meals at home.

Morrison said any time of year is the right time to make new fitness goals.

“If a New Year’s resolution is what motivates you to take some action with your health, awesome,” Morrison said. “You know, we don’t always see a huge rush at New Year’s because people are coming all year long. It’s always a great time to take care of your health.”

BAC opened Jan. 16, 2006. The club is celebrating its 13th birthday next week. Celebratory activities are planned at the club all day on Wednesday, Jan. 16.

For more information, call 989-356-5600, or go online to www.bayathleticclub.com.