Karen Shook’s training is geared toward her track and field pursuits. (Photo by Don Bodger)

How to make 2019 a healthy year

Motivation for exercising and eating right comes in different forms, here’s four who made it work

It’s the most wonderful time of the year when all those bad habits and indulgences catch up to us and creep into our consciences that it’s time to start doing something about it.

The dawn of a new year always brings aspirations for new beginnings, but most efforts won’t last long.

What people need is to take inspiration from others who’ve managed to buck the trend of supposedly starting fresh every Jan. 1 and maintained a training regimen throughout the year.

There are many examples at Chemainus’ Anytime Fitness, covering a variety of age groups so no one needs to feel intimated about being out of a place. There’s a place for everyone.

From Michael Wik, 22, and Becca Johnson, 30, to Karen Shook, 68, and Vern Shook, 77, they’ve all managed to stay on course with their exercise and nutrition regardless of the date showing on the calendar.

Anyone can start on the right path at any time, it just requires some dedication and willpower to make it part of daily life.

“A big part of it is a lot of people have a lot of fear of where they are in their own lives,” said Anytime Fitness general manager Nicole Cournoyer.

“When people do make that leap, it’s really nice to see, especially when they persevere and get the results they’re looking for. It can be something as simple as trying out a challenge and see if that works. That’s how you find what you like. Once you find what you like, it doesn’t feel like work.

“It’s OK to have trial and error. It’s not a waste of time and money. If you don’t try, you’re never going to make any kind of gain.”

Many people will start 2019 with good intentions of changing their unhealthy patterns, but those plans often fall by the wayside quickly.

It’s often not easy to make a dramatic shift from an established behaviour. The key, said Cournoyer, is finding something you enjoy so it doesn’t feel like working out.

Becca Johnson, 30, found she really enjoys working out at the gym and power-lifting, in particular.

Johnson of Saltair, who played rugby and soccer during her high school days at Chemainus Secondary School, got into a workout routine at Cournoyer’s home gym before Anytime Fitness opened two years ago.

“The last six months have been where I cracked down,” said Johnson. “We had a challenge and I figured out the nutrition part of it. That was always my downfall.”

The 30 Days of Fitness challenge featured 30 workouts in a certain period of time, running from just after Halloween to mid-December, and involved about 10 people.

Johnson has focused on goal-setting that’s working well.

“Her and I started training together,” said Cournoyer. “She wanted to learn the main power-lifting lifts.”

“I wanted to dead-lift over 200 pounds, we got to 235,” noted Johnson. “I was pretty happy about that.”

She also trained for the Edge To Edge 10K in Ucluelet and completed that in June.

At the same time, Johnson looked seriously at the balance of her food consumption, going with a ratio of 20 per cent carbs, 45 per cent fat and 35 per cent protein.

“I find the low carb works well for me,” she said.

“The last challenge was interesting with how people change their perspective with fat, in particular,” Cournoyer pointed out.

Understanding how fats and proteins work in the body is an eye-opener for many people.

“If you want to eat a certain way, you have to be active in a certain way to balance that out,” conceded Cournoyer.

Johnson is now at the stage where going to the gym isn’t a chore.

“I feel when the gym didn’t have power for three days I was getting antsy in my house,” she pointed out.

Michael Wik, 22, grew up in Fort St. John and relocated here after the oil industry crashed and he lost his job. His parents previously moved here in 2015.

Wik’s been a member of the gym from the beginning.

“Before I came up, I asked Nicole if there was anything I could do and set up routines,” he explained.

Wik goes to the gym five days a week for an hour at a time and has lost 30 pounds since he started training.

“His whole body definition has totally shifted,” Cournoyer indicated.

“For me, it was almost entirely appearance-based,” said Wik. “I never felt comfortable with how I looked.”

In taking the recent challenge, “it was hard, but it’s awesome – ecstatic with everything that’s happened,” he added.

“I was never a fitness guy before I started to come here. I want to keep going the way I’m going, losing fat and gaining muscle.”

Vern Shook, 77, and Karen Shook, 68, are focused on training to complement their running activities that works wonders in their performances. Karen is a member of indoor and outdoor relay teams with the Vancouver Greyhounds that hold Canadian records and Vern has a Canadian indoor relay record to his credit with Vancouver and Prince George teammates.

The gym is conveniently located close to their home. All they have to do is walk out the door and across the street.

The Shooks are on the go most of the year, but take the necessary breaks.

“You need to let things heal,” noted Vern.

They stick to their own program and find the gym offers a great support network and atmosphere.

“It’s a wide-open gym,” said Karen. “It’s not like the old-fashioned down in the basement thing. Nicole and the rest of the people around are so knowledgeable.”

The Shooks thrive on motivating each other.

“If one of us doesn’t feel like doing it, the other says ‘let’s go,’” reasoned Karen.

With so many track and field events plus the 55+ B.C. Games, they’re combating the effects of aging as much as possible.

“It’s hard to see yourself slowing down, knowing you’re slowing down year to year,” Vern indicated.

“You’ve got to keep going, otherwise you get worse,” Karen added. “You get slower faster.”

The bottom line it’s all about health, she reasons.

“It’s pushing the body,” noted Vern.

“One thing I really like about this gym, there’s a lot of young people but there’s a lot of us older people,” concluded Karen.

 

Vern Shook does his workout routine. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Working out always gives Michael Wik a lift. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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