Getting back in shape

Motivation key to staying in the gym to fulfill New Year’s resolutions

Marshalltown resident Bill Earney enjoys getting in a workout, even with snow falling heavily outside. Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA Health and Wellness coordinator Curt Shaver helps several people get into and stay in shape.

With a new year comes an influx of gym-goers looking to get in shape for their New Year’s resolutions and exercise after holiday season celebrations.

“This is, without doubt, the time of year that we get a lot more people,” said Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA Financial Development Director Kim Jass-Ramirez. “We like to see it continue throughout the year.”

She said the New Year’s wave often continues through January and into February and March.

“We see them as people who are looking to reclaim their health or just get back into something, and we want to be able to support them throughout the year,” Jass-Ramirez said.

She said a 2014 YMCA study found that less than a quarter of respondents keep up their New Year’s resolutions, however. Therefore, motivation to keep up a new exercise routine is key.

Once a person decides to get into an exercise routine, YMCA Assistant Health and Wellness coordinator Keisha Lockhart said forming relationships and having fun can help keep them motivated.

“Making connections is a good way to stay motivated, whether it be through group exercise classes, personal training, even just finding a friend,” she said. “Then it’s fun, too, it’s not just ‘exercise time.'”

However, Lockhart said it’s best to ease into a new routine.

“It’s ok to start small, it’s ok to do that and to build up,” she said. “Really just telling them to listen to their bodies; that’s very important.”

Lockhart said it’s important to not become so sore that basic living tasks are difficult after beginning a new workout regimen.

Additionally, she said staff can give basic nutrition advice, and often recommend visiting as a healthy dieting resource.

Losing weight is one result that can come from an exercise routine, but Lockhart said there are many possible outcomes and goals.

“They’re all over the board: gaining strength, increasing balance, losing weight, just generally becoming more active,” she said. “Being able to play with their kids and grandkids; staying active and limber is a lot of what we see, and what people are looking for.”

Jass-Ramirez said the YMCA also offers virtual training in yoga, cardio, strength training and more. She said it’s good that the new year brings interest in getting into shape and being healthy.

“It’s just in our culture and on peoples’ minds, and just something they want to do,” Jass-Ramirez said. “For us, it comes back to relationships, that’s the main thing that we really try and focus on.”


Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or