New Year’s resolutions vary for exercise industry insiders

January 1, 2013

By Lillian O'Rorke

January is the time when many people set a goal to lose weight and get in shape. What about fitness buffs? They already spend tons of time in the gym and have bodies to prove it. So what resolutions do they make for the new year?

“I think the New Year’s resolution for anybody that is already fit is probably just trying to stay fit,” said Allen Kuhl, a personal trainer at Gold’s Gym in Issaquah. “Most people think that for people who do this all the time, it becomes easier … but we’re no different than anyone else. We want to eat bad food.”

For Kuhl, who competes in bodybuilding and can bench-press 500 pounds and squat 700 pounds, staying on top of his workouts is important, but the 28-year-old also has another resolution this year. At 5-foot, 7-inches and 260 pounds he’d like to de-bulk a bit to 210 pounds.

“Being bigger takes away from what I want to do, wakeboarding, snowboarding, hikes with the girlfriend, anything like that becomes really difficult,” he said. “It’s a hard balance to do the whole gym thing. Many people don’t have the time to get in, and the people that are in all the time, like us, we’re trying to get out and have a normal life.”

Kuhl’s co-worker Brian Leron said he’s also making the resolution to make better use of his time outside of work by spending it with friends and family or doing things that he enjoys, like playing basketball.

“We’re here 13-plus hours a day and don’t have much social life outside of the gym,” he said. “Get home, got to eat your dinner and got to pack your meals for the next day. It’s kind of depressing when you look at it.”

But just in case that resolution fails, Leron, 25, has another goal for the year:

“To beat out Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Brad Pitt and George Clooney as the sexiest man alive.”

As the assistant manager at Eastside Kickboxing, Anna Butler leads fast-paced, high energy workouts. But the 40-year-old wants to ease up in 2013.

“My resolution again this year — I don’t know how good I was at it last year — is just to slow down and enjoy life,” she said. “Slow down and not take things too seriously, enjoy time with my kids. I think we get so busy just going through the day-to-day activities that we kind of forget that really it’s about the little things.”

Butler already tries to devote weekends to family and preserve meal times, but this year she is upping the ante by treating her goal the same as she would working out.

“I think you’ve got to plan it into your schedule, just like you would schedule exercise on a weekly basis,” she said. “When you have that appointment with your family, just like you would if you had an appointment at the dentist, honor that time.”

With family also on his mind this year, personal trainer and manger at Fitness Together, Jeff Rupp, is taking on coaching his 6-year-old son’s basketball team.

“Coaching is on my big to-do list,” he said.

The 31-year-old also wants to eat healthier.

“I kind of do opposite of what bears do. I eat like crap during the winter and in the summer time try to burn it off so I have my beach body,” Rupp said, explaining that his pastime lately of watching football mixes really well with pizza and nonclear liquids.

“My strategy is to make more packed lunches and know what I am going to eat in the day, and drink more water,” he said.

Healthy items for the lunch box, he added, would be a bagel with low-fat cream cheese, nuts or trail mix for snacking, a sandwich and a lot of water.

Not everyone sets New Year’s resolutions and Dave Young, owner of Gravity Janes, is one of them.

“I gave up New Year’s resolutions a long time ago,” he explained. “I’m in the business of accommodating everybody else’s resolutions. My sense is that whenever it occurs to you that you need to make a change in your life, you should make the change then.”

That’s exactly what the 59-year-old personal trainer did a few months ago when he realized that he wasn’t a great communicator

“It just seems like I’m constantly evolving,” Young said. “I’ve been working on communications — communicating better with people, listening skills, really taking the time to explore what it’s like to communicate better … maybe I don’t listen to people as carefully as I could.”

Norma Stephens also doesn’t make promises at the first of the year.

“I can’t remember the last time I made a resolution, probably in my 20s,” said the co-owner of Curves in Issaquah and a personal trainer. “So many people lose sight of their resolutions and once they’ve slipped, then they just allow it to pass and fail.”

Instead, Stephens sets goals because, she explained, those are things she can continue to work on and eventually hopefully reach. While the Curves coach doesn’t need to slim down, her goals do include maintaining her current weight. They also include keeping her strength up.

“I’m 60 years old. I want to be able to play with my grandchildren,” Stephens said. “Not just play. I want to go up the ladder and down the slide, hang on the monkey bars. I want to get on the floor with them and, most importantly, I want to be able to get up off that floor without grunting.”

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