Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

January 8, 2014

Another New Year, a 'New You'

By Rob Cox Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — GREENSBURG — In the wake of the biggest collective winter-weather brain freeze to hit the area in two decades, it might be understandable if Decatur Countians forgot or discarded their New Year’s resolutions altogether.

Decatur County Family YMCA fitness coordinator Deena Hamer, however, is doing her best to thaw out those frozen noggins and motivate Decatur Countians to remember: The disappointment of not reaching one’s fitness goals will linger far longer than any bout of chilly weather.

With a “resolution” of helping Decatur Countians achieve a fitter 2014, Hamer formally launched the Y’s annual “New Year, New You Transformation” on Tuesday; the launch was moved back a day due to the arctic weather. “New You” is a wellness program designed to motivate participants to exercise and eat a more healthy diet.

For Hamer, the New Year may well be the most optimal time on the calendar for a program like New You.

“When the New Year comes about,” she explained, “people seem to suddenly realize they haven’t been giving it their all in regards to keeping fit and eating right. People find themselves slacking off through the holidays and the New Year comes like a wake-up call, motivating them to get back to the gym.”

She continued, “Many people make various resolutions – cut out fast or fried foods, stop drinking soda and so forth; but they don’t really know how to go about achieving those goals on their own.”

That’s where New Year, New You comes in. The program is designed not only to motivate participants, but also to educate and get them exercising and dieting correctly and effectively based on their own individual needs.

To that end, the program includes a free personal-fitness session with Hamer herself or with YMCA trainer Anthony Meek. First though, participants do a “weigh-in” session, which incorporates a fitness evaluation and health assessment. Each weigh-in includes a body-fat measurement, as well as measurements of resting-heart-rate and blood-pressure. Those same measurements will be taken again at the end of the 10-week program – March 18.

During the personal-training session, Hamer or Meek will construct a personalized fitness plan for each participant.

To make the program interesting and fun, Hamer has structured New You like a game. Points are awarded for weighing in each week, for exercising, for keeping a weekly food log, for sampling various YMCA classes, for participating in the program’s various weekly challenges, and for losing weight and body fat.

“We encourage participants to try a variety of classes,” Hamer said. “That’s part of what makes the program fun. We’ve got a lot of interesting classes to choose from, too – yoga, aqua aerobics and aqua arthritis are just a few.”

Other classes available to New You participants include Zumba, indoor cycling, pilates, yoga, and spinning.

Hamer is a big advocate of keeping a food log. “It’s proven that if you write down the things you eat-and-drink on a daily basis, you’ll have an easier time losing weight,” she said. “Weight loss is significantly more attainable using a food log. We encourage participants to keep a log throughout the entire program, but we’re also making it our ‘challenge of the week’ a couple of times.”

She added, “We don’t ask you to go into a great deal of detail in the log. There’s no measuring or calories estimates required. We just want participants to be aware of what they’re putting into their bodies.”

Program participants will also receive points for participating in separate YMCA events.

The program’s nutrition classes, which start Jan. 16, will cover a host of topics, including nutrition, effective and efficient workouts, supplement use, overeating, food labels, and avoiding workout plateaus. An entire class will be devoted to keeping a food log. For the first time this year, nutrition classes will be held at Decatur County Memorial hospital.

Fitness sessions, meanwhile, will be held at 8:15 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, or at 6:30 p.m., Mondays and Thursdays.

New You strives to coax participants “outside of their boxes,” and out of their comfort zones, Hamer added, by prompting them to try new routines and exercises in the gym. That’s why there’s an emphasis on sampling various YMCA classes. Structuring the program like a game is an important element in helping participants make working out a habit.

“When you make a program like this fun – like a game,” Hamer explained, “participants are more likely to stick with their workout routines after the program ends.”

In the first two weeks of New You, the fitness coordinator added, it’s extremely important to help participants find “a workout niche — something they really like or even love.” Participants who last the first two weeks are much more likely to stick with the program and to then develop long-term lifestyle changes after it ends. New You’s emphasis on variety and on trying new activities is designed to help participants find that niche.

Participation in the program is $30 for current Decatur County Y members, while the nonmember fee is $110. The non-member fee includes a full, 10-week membership to the YMCA, granting non-Y participants a place to work out and earn points.

Latecomers are welcome to join New You anytime for a prorated fee, but should keep in mind that, regardless of start date, the program ends on the same day for everyone – March 18. That means the later someone joins, the fewer opportunities he or she will have to accrue points, making them less likely to win.

For Hamer, getting into better shape, eating better and developing lifelong healthy habits are prize enough in themselves. Still, she acknowledged, “everybody likes to win prizes,” and the rewards are one more aspect of New You designed to make the program fun.

The first-place New You winner will receive $100 or a six-month Y membership; the second-place winner will receive $50 or a three-month membership; and third-place will receive $25 or a one-month membership.

Additionally, each participant who completes at least 7 of the 10 weigh-ins will take home a free tee-shirt.

Hamer hopes to guide participants to develop realistic fitness goals and then see them reach those goals by sticking to the program.

“You might have to step it up and work a little harder than you thought your would to attain your goals,” Hamer said, “but goals are attainable if you’re patient and if you stick with it.”

For more information on the Decatur County YMCA’s New Year, New You Transformation, call 663-9622.

Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011; robert.cox@greensburgdailynews.com