On Friday, more than 100 million Americans will make New Year resolutions. So it’s no surprise that “get fit” tops many of the same lists year after year. Fitness experts say if you’re serious about shaping up this time, start by trading in your impossible dreams for some attainable goals.

When it comes time to hit the gym even the most enthusiastic set themselves up for failure. Establishing attainable and realistic objectives is the key in making sure your New Year’s fitness resolutions are successful, according to Ted Tolleson, a NASM certified personal trainer and owner of Anytime Fitness in Bridge City and Vidor.

“Be patient. Don’t expected overnight changes,” Tolleson says, “New members often become discouraged when they don’t see results in a week or two. It is important to be realistic. We set attainable short term goals based on an individual’s long term desires.”

Tolleson and his wife Lori are partners in the franchise.

At a minimum, beginners should think in terms of working out three days a week for 30 minutes a day and expand their program later as fitness levels increase.

Results vary by individuals. “Don’t be a slave to the scale. Measure your results in how you look and feel. How do your clothes fit?” he says, “Just don’t get discouraged, if you have a good plan and you work the plan your body will respond.”

Sticking with the plan is key. ‘Establish realistic short-term goals. You are not going to lose 20 pounds in a week,” he says. Healthy weight loss is gradual – five to 10 pounds in a month with proper diet and exercise.

Tolleson suggests that clients start by beginning to modify their behavior first. Plan an exercise and nutrition program for a week then expand the plan to a month. Anytime Fitness provides a recommended calorie consumption and exercise plan to help new members get started.

If you are new to fitness programs, or haven’t entered a gym in years, the first step is to see your physician for advice on launching an exercise and nutrition program.

“After seeing the physician and getting their approval, think in terms of re-establishing your neuromuscular efficiency- that’s your brain communicating with your muscles,” Tolleson says, “You need an exercise program that has stretching, balance exercises, light resistance and cardio work.” 

A personal trainer is also an option for those determined to stick with New Year fitness resolution. “The more sedentary you have been, the better off you are with a trainer,” Tolleson says, “We are trained, tested and certified to know the most current techniques to get results quicker.”

Changes in lifestyle can insure that your fitness goals are achievable and lasting. Replacing fried and fatty foods with leaner protein sources and adding more fresh fruits and vegetables eventually become a part of a new healthier lifestyle.

A work out buddy can also help keep you on track according to Tolleson. “The days you don’t feel like going to the gym, your friend will. The days your friend doesn’t feel like going, you will. Hold one another accountable.”

Staying with a program can be more challenging for those who travel frequently. However, there is an Anytime Fitness center almost any where in the U.S. The franchise has over 1,000 clubs worldwide and growing. Other than the Bridge City and Vidor locations, a new location will open in Orange soon. There is also a location in Port Arthur and two in Beaumont. Other locations may be found at anytimefitness.com.

AnytimeHealth.Com, a part of the Anytime Fitness network, also provides Internet-based tools to track your nutrition and establish an exercise program.

According to Tolleson, from the mid-1980s to this new decade, the abundance of automation and technology has begun to take a toll on public health. Approximately 33 percent of individuals in the United States are considered to be obese. Modern training and fitness programs are designed to evaluate the individual, ascertain the fitness level and then progress the individual through stages and into physical fitness.

Making – and sticking to – healthy New Year’s Resolutions

Plan on getting in shape in 2010? Here are some tips to help you succeed:

A) Cut back, don’t cut out. Don’t set yourself up for failure by making certain foods off limits. It’s wiser to cut back on those items so you won’t feel deprived. You’re more likely to stay on your diet that way.

B) Make fitness fun. Find a physical activity you enjoy, from walking, hiking, jogging, dancing or swimming. The important thing is to get your body moving on a regular basis.

C) Stamp out stress. Stress can adversely impact your health. Keep a positive attitude, learn relaxation techniques, exercise regularly and eat well-balanced meals and get sufficient sleep.