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Jerry Davich: New Year’s resolution need a boost already?

TerLittlejohn 34 Chesterttrainer fitness instructor James O’Connor Martial Arts   Fitness ChestertClassic Body Works Gym Portage Northwest Athletic Club

Tera Littlejohn, 34, of Chesterton, a trainer and fitness instructor at James O’Connor Martial Arts & Fitness in Chesterton, Classic Body Works Gym in Portage, and Northwest Athletic Club in Michigan City. | Photo provided

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Updated: February 4, 2014 6:23AM



Now that it’s Day 3 of your New Year’s resolution to become more fit, less sedentary and healthier overall, how is that working for you?

Have you already rationalized why you didn’t work out yesterday or even go for a brisk walk outdoors? Is that new exercise DVD still wrapped in plastic? Are you slinking back into your old lazy habits? Is your sofa talking seductively to you once again?

It’s OK, I understand. And I’m here to help.

I, too, need constant help, motivation and inspiration when it comes to staying active, getting in better shape and just breaking a sweat, especially in these winter months. So I contacted a handful of personal trainers, fitness experts and exercise gurus to offer their first-hand insights to the rest of us doughy schlubs.

“My advice to anyone interested in starting a healthy lifestyle is to first find a way to be held accountable,” said Tera Littlejohn, a trainer and fitness instructor at James O’Connor Martial Arts & Fitness in Chesterton, Classic Body Works Gym in Portage, and Northwest Athletic Club in Michigan City.

“Find a workout partner, hire a trainer, or sign up for a fitness class. Classes require attendees to be at a certain place at a certain time and give motivation to finish the workout. These are great ways to be held accountable,” says Littlejohn, 34, of Chesterton, who is a certified Pilates and Zumba trainer as well as a second-degree black belt and martial arts instructor.

“A lot of people are scared to sign a contract at a gym, but having monthly dues debited each month is also a form of accountability,” she added.

All of us have heard (or whined ourselves) that gyms are too intimidating, not to mention swarming with toned, tanned and tony bodies. I agree, often joking that they are filled with too many attractive people and too many unattractive mirrors.

But Littlejohn says there are alternatives galore if you look around. For instance, Extra Mile Fitness Co. in Valparaiso offers a beginners running program, and Sunset Hill County Park offers free wellness and fitness classes through the Porter County Parks Department.

“There are also great apps for Android and iPhone that can help track caloric intake and exercise,” she said, recommending her favorite, MyFitnessPal.com. “There is nothing that works better than consistency in a healthy diet and exercise.”

Another thing to keep in mind is a new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, saying our eating habits are influenced heavily by our need to fit in. In other words, there may be something behind the familiar phrase, “I’ll have what she’s having,” especially if she (or he) is thinner and in better shape.

The study suggests that healthy eating habits may be a societal norm, meaning we eat more — or less — when others around us eat more or less. So in addition to choosing what foods to eat, we should also choose the best friends or co-workers to dine with.

“Misery loves company and I see a lot of overweight, miserable people hanging out with people just like them,” warned Junior Wakefield, another fitness expert. “Good friends can often sabotage your good intentions. If you’re trying to lose weight, make sure everyone around you knows it and is there to support you.”

Littlejohn will offer more tips, ideas and also warnings about weight-loss scams on my Casual Fridays radio show at noon today on WLPR, 89.1-FM, streaming at http://lakeshorepublicmedia.org/local-programs/casual-fridays/.

I will also talk with other fitness experts, including James O’Connor and Troy L. Ford, who will tell us not only how to get started, but how to keep it going through 2014. That’s the real trick.

Maybe there should be a new fitness club called “Resolutions,” which is open only the first two weeks of January before closing down for the rest of the year, as the old joke goes.

Anybody can start this month with a fitness flourish, though I can usually spot them at my local Y sporting brand new workout clothes, determined looks and pounds of eagerness. Until, that is, they realized what a drag it is to walk, jog or run around a tiny track like a fat hamster in an endless circle.

By next month, if not next week, many of those eager newbies are long gone, swallowed up once again by their comfy couches, old habits and new rationalizations. Don’t let that be you.

Tune in at noon, or for my show’s rebroadcast at 11 p.m., and feel free to call in at 769-9577 with your questions and to win a free six-month, one-on-one training session.

Hutt, hutt ... move on

Dear fellow Bears fans,

If you’re still upset, angry or possibly livid over the team’s loss on Sunday, you’re probably not a fan but a fanatic and it’s time to move on.

I’ve been a loyal, diehard, knowledgeable fan for more than 40 years, but I’ve come to realize there are many more important things in life than a Bears game, a Bears win, or even a Bears championship. Really.

The team has moved on, its players have moved on, and it’s time for some fans to do the same thing. I suggest you pour your misplaced passion into something else, possibly volunteering, lovemaking or even household repair projects. Whatever.

I just got off the phone with a reader who would not stop talking about the Bears’ final game, its meaning and its shortcomings. You would think he lost a kidney, not the loss of a game from his favorite football team.

“You don’t understand!” he told me just before I hung up.

No, sir, you don’t understand. Go find something, anything, to be a new fan of — whether it’s your hobbies, your local food pantry or maybe your wife, who’s had to listen to you ranting and raving since Sunday evening, if not 1964.

Sincerely, a fellow Bears fan



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