Some find results working out at home

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Saturday, January 7, 2012
— Sarah Murphy of Janesville “pretty much” became a stay-at-home mom after her second child.

“It was just not feasible to get out and go to the gym,” she said.

Searching online videos, she discovered a workout program called “Slim in 6.” She gave the six-week program a try and “saw amazing things happen.”

From there, she was hooked. She started researching other home DVD workouts.

She’s now lost 100 pounds in a little more than a year.

As New Year’s resolutions help push people back to the gym, others are proving all they need to do is get off the couch in their own living rooms. The popularity of home workout programs such as P90X and Wii Fit have taken off, and local women who have succeeded say the convenience is nice, but you still have to be your own motivator.

Melisa McMahon started P90X, a 90-day workout, with a friend about two years ago and stuck with it for the full 12 weeks. They started again on and off over the last year.

McMahon described her and her friend as “average Joes”—mothers who work full-time, have kids to cart around, are average size and are “alright athletically.” They didn’t lose a ton of weight but lost inches—which was well worth it, she said.

Workouts such as P90X or Insanity don’t necessarily start out for the novice exerciser, but more for the seasoned exercise, said Cathy Grabowski, exercise specialist and personal trainer at Mercy Cardiac Fitness Center.

People who haven’t exercised before should start slow—10 to 15 minutes—then gradually increase, she said.

McMahon admitted P90X is difficult, she said, but people can make their own adjustments.

“You won’t be able to do everything they do right away, but you gradually will get there,” she said. “Motivation is key. Normally if one of us didn’t want to, the other would talk us into it.”

For general health benefits such as reducing blood pressure, cholesterol and stress, adults should get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise five days a week, Grabowski said.

More time is needed to achieve weight-loss goals, such as committing at least 45 minutes—but 60 to 90 is better—five days a week, she said.

A habit takes at least four weeks to start to build, Grabowski said.

“People need to remember to give themselves that time,” she said.

After having two kids and an appendectomy, Murphy never really thought she’d get her toned stomach back, and she was “partially embarrassed” to go to the gym. Working out at home also saved her time.

She had to keep pushing through the intense P90X workouts, she said, but she’s not on a program called ChaLEAN Extreme, which she loves.

Murphy held herself accountable by posting to friends on Facebook, where she started to realize she was inspiring others along the way. Her success led to a job as a paid “coach” at her company, which included leading free classes in the area. While she no longer works for the same company, she now authors a blog promoting healthy lifestyles.

The cost for DVD programs range. P90X, for example, is advertised online at $140, while the ChaLEAN Extreme program is advertised at $110.

Some programs call for free weights while others come with workout bands, she said. Others include a diet plan, she said.

Murphy recommends new exercisers try a beginner program, though she knows people who have lost 300 pounds starting with P90X.

“I think everyone just needs to find the program they’re going to like,” she said. “If you’re not going to enjoy it, you’re not going to stick with it.”

Workout tips

Cathy Grabowski, exercise specialist and personal trainer at Mercy Cardiac Fitness Center in Janesville, recommends these tips for people resolving to get in shape:

-- For a novice exerciser, talk first with your family physician about starting a program.

-- Set small, short-term goals such as wanting to walk up a flight of stairs without shortness of breath or walking a full mile.

-- Use the buddy system. Finding someone who shares the same goals provides accountability to keep each other motivated.

-- Variety is always the spice of life. Grabowski encourages people to try everything they possibly can, such as a new walking trail or route or a new video. She suggested checking out local libraries to find certain videos, or creating a trading system with friends and coworkers to find what you like.

-- Write down your exercises so you can track your progress.

-- Make exercise part of your routine, just like brushing your teeth. Write them on the calendar so you can’t schedule over them.

-- Accept that life is always going to happen, Grabowski said. Something is always going to come up to keep you from exercising, so if you can fit in 10 minutes here or a walk on your lunch, remember that something is better than nothing, she said.

Last updated: 7:35 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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