Custom workouts to keep resolutions

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Stay motivated: Participants, such as Inez Thayer, of Tinley Park, has her TRX suspension workout supervised by personal trainer Michael Hampton (in the mirror) at St. James Health and Wellness Institute in Chicago Heights. | Supplied photo

Keeping that weight loss resolution can be difficult. Running on the treadmill day after day is boring; weigh-ins at the gym are awkward; programs are expensive. But with its Resolution Solution plan, the St. James Health and Wellness Institute has eliminated all those hurdles.

According to Miguel Mancha, sales and marketing director for the club at 100 197th Place, Chicago Heights, the plan has been in place for several years.

The 10-week program comprises weekly challenges such as treadmill runs, swimming and participating in various classes offered by the club. The plan is customizable to the person, Mancha said. Those who start out a little more fit may take a longer treadmill run, for example. The point of the challenges is not only to motivate people to work out but to force people to do a variety of tasks so participants aren’t doing the same thing every time they come to the gym.

“A lot of people tend to do what they’re comfortable with,” he said. “After a while, it gets old. It gets stagnant.”

Many past participants have found an activity they really enjoyed that they would not have tried otherwise, Mancha said.

Weight loss is a common goal for individuals, but the program stresses loss in inches. Instead of weighing in, participants are measured around their midsection, where extra pounds tend to gather. The program includes nutritional education as well.

Keeping them motivated

Unlike some other resolution programs, the St. James plan is done at the participant’s convenience. Each person has a list of challenges and can complete them anytime they like, having a staff member sign off on the completion. Getting people through the door can be difficult, but making them accountable to the program helps motivate them to keep coming, he said.

“When you have set and structured things to do, it’s a little harder not to go,” he said.

Although there aren’t mandated times to the program, Mancha said participants often find each other and enjoy camaraderie as they check off tasks together. Having a workout buddy also makes people accountable — if someone is expecting a person to show up to the gym, the person is more likely to come, even if they don’t feel like coming, he said.

“It’s easy to quit a health club, but it’s hard to quit friends,” he said.

Inevitably, some of the more seasoned health club-goers take beginners under their wings, both in the program and at the club in general, he said.

Every year, at least a few people come back to the program to help them stick with their good habits or to try something new.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of shape anybody’s in,” Mancha said. “You could always get healthier.”

Any member of the club is eligible to participate in the program, and there is no limit to the number of people who may sign up.

For more information about the club and its programs, call (708) 755-3020 or visit www.sjhwi.org.