Time to Become the Best Version of You

DSC_0019Everyone has his or her own unique resolution for the New Year, but let’s face it, almost all of us would like to be more fit. It isn’t an easy goal to achieve, especially if you don’t really know where to start. Fortunately, Jeff Howard and the rest of the folks at Baptist Health/Milestone Wellness Center are ready to make you, as they say, the best version of you for 2016.

To get a better idea of what guests can expect at one of Milestone’s many classes and exercise programs, I decided to check out instructor Jeff Howard’s Power Sculpt class on a recent Monday afternoon. I was taken to the class by a friend who is one of Howard’s regulars, and she warned me it was going to be much harder than I thought. I lift in the gym regularly, so I didn’t think I’d have much trouble. But I could not have been more wrong.

Howard walked into the packed class with a microphone and kicked the group into motion immediately. For a full hour, the class was nonstop – a comprehensive workout of lower and upper body that left me looking like a puddle on the floor once it was over.

Hollis Gargala and Remy Sisk after Jeff Howard’s Power Sculpt.

Hollis Gargala and Remy Sisk after Jeff Howard’s Power Sculpt.

While Howard pushed me through the class, which was based on a step platform and light dumbbells (they felt much, much heavier as the hour went on), he was not militant nor did he belittle participants when they had to take a breather. He encouraged in a positive but nonetheless tough tone for the class to push themselves as much as they could. Body types of all kinds made up the group, and while not everyone could do the entire thing without stopping from start to finish, the most important thing was that they were there, giving it their all and trying their hardest.

Taking part in a class like Howard’s Power Sculpt is truly a great way to launch your New Year’s resolution of becoming fit and healthy, as showing up for this class a couple times a week isn’t only effective but also realistic. “A lot of times people bite off more than they can chew,” Howard says of fitness resolutions. “For instance, some people will go from doing nothing to saying they want to work out seven days a week, and it’s just too much – it’s too much too soon. You’ve taken on something that’s not realistic.”

Instead, Howard recommends a more gradual approach to reaching fitness goals: “If you were honest with yourself and say you can do two days a week, then it actually becomes something that’s doable, and also, it becomes a habit. You have to do something for longer than six weeks for it to become a habit.”

Trainer Jeff Howard snaps a photo of class participants writing down their fitness goals.

Trainer Jeff Howard snaps a photo of class participants writing down their fitness goals.

And Howard works to enforce that principle in his class not only by motivating the group to come back week after week but also by personally holding them accountable. Throughout the class, Howard would often call out my name: “How you doing, Remy?” “If you work out with somebody, then you’re more consistent because you’re accountable,” he affirms. “So what I always try to do here in class is make them accountable to one another. That’s why I kept saying your name!”

While it’s important to be held accountable to others and yourself, it’s most important to tackle the resolution of fitness from a realistic mindset and set goals that are specific and actually attainable. “Be realistic,” Howard emphasizes. “Write down what you want. If you write it down, you can make it happen. But if you walk in and you’re ambiguous and say, ‘I want to be fit,’ what does that mean? If you write down three things that you really want like ‘One, I want to lose five pounds. Two, I want to be able to run a marathon. Three, I want to be able to fit in a size eight,’ then those goals can happen.”

If you’re ready to turn your resolutions into reality, Milestone is ready for you. It’s not going to be easy – trust me – but it will feel so good. I didn’t beat myself up for dropping out of moments of the class; I congratulated myself for giving it 100 percent and making it through the hour. And if I can do it, so can you. VT