109ers seek out health clubs to fulfill New Year’s resolutions

             Joan Parker sits on a bench in the middle of Jody's Gym, 3548 South Hills Ave. in the 109, like she has done every day at 9 a.m. for two weeks. She twists from side to side holding a medicine ball, strengthening her core.

            "I didn't make a resolution because you don't keep them," said Parker, who is retired. "I just thought I better come over here and get something done."

            Losing weight and getting fit typically rank at the top of New Year’s resolutions in the United States.

            Parker drives from her home on the far west side of Fort Worth to Jody's Gym every morning. She said she comes because her brother is a member at Jody's and because she enjoys the smaller, user-friendly atmosphere.

            "It's not the little size-two girls showing off in front of the big weight lifters," Parker said. "I'm not going to go to [a bigger health club] or someplace they have a pool. I'd rather have this."

            At the beginning of a new year fitness centers is the 76109 area see a population increase. People who want to feel better about themselves physically start to trickle in. Many times, it becomes a challenge to keep the New Year’s crowd from dwindling.

            "Constant reinforcement," said Jody Norman, owner and personal trainer at Jody's Gym. "You have to do testing to show people results and they're going to continue to do things that they see positive results from."

            But Parker said she continues to come to Jody's because of the camaraderie and because the more structured atmosphere.

            "I don't trust myself," Parker said. “[Coming to the gym is] more organized, more specific and laid out."

            At Jody's Gym, people who sign up get a consultation meeting to talk about goals and then strength and standards testing to check the abilities of the individual, said Norman.

            Similarly, Jon Murray, owner and personal trainer at Fitness Solutions, 3501Blue Bonnet Circle, said he likes to clarify his clients’ goals and then match that up with what they're willing to do.

            Murray said it is unproductive for people to start exercising because they feel bad about themselves.

            "It's like they get here and create all these expectations and they pay money and now they have to see some kind of result," Murray said. "Just relax, see where you are and be willing to do this for the long term and then just take it one step at a time because it's an easy process."

            Carolyn Critz has been training with Murray since October 2011 and said she feels like he incorporates more into his workouts than meets the eye.

            "I think working with somebody one-on-one is really beneficial to me because there's something behind what he's doing that I don't understand working out on my own," Critz said.

            She said Murray is educating her about what exercises work to improve the muscles she uses in daily tasks.

            "One of the things he has told me is that he doesn't train the elite athlete, he trains the common man," Critz said. “The things I do there are going to work for me in the long run."

            Murray said the thing that sets Fitness Solutions apart from other gyms in the area is his emphasis on the safety and effectiveness of movement and meeting people where they are physically.

            The assistant director of fitness at the TCU Recreation Center, Ryan Keller, said the way to get people comfortable in a gym is educate them.

            "I think one of the biggest things is to teach them realistic timelines," Keller said. "So people know what to expect and they don't get too far ahead of themselves."

            He said a lot of times people who start New Year’s resolutions want results in two weeks and when they don't see any, they quit all over again.

            "We don't want people to just come in, be told what to do and then leave," Keller said. "We want them to do it, enjoy it and learn something so they can take that with them once they leave.

            Norman agrees. He said giving people the tools by providing them with information is the way to keep someone consistent.

            Parker said the most important thing she has learned at Jody's Gym is staying on track to see results.

            She said, "Consistency is supposed to be what tells the tale."