HOW many times have you kicked off the New Year vowing to get fit? How many times have you rolled out a rigorous fitness plan that lasted all of, well, 3 days out 365? How many times have you signed your name on the dotted line of an expensive gym membership that you visited maybe a haft of a dozen times? And how many times have you promised to stay away from fried, greasy and cheesy foods, only to find that someone keeps sneaking them onto your plate?
The good news is that all of those other times were just practice. You can make healthier choices this year. Begin by setting modest goals that you can adhere to year-round--even through the frenzied holiday season, advises Gregory D. McCollum, co-owner of the Training Loft, a private personal training studio in Chicago.
"Start slowly, but do it with zeal," says McCollum, a certified personal trainer who has been in the industry for 14 years. "Ninety percent of all fitness programs work if you simply apply yourself."
Besides setting realistic daily and weekly goals, fitness experts advise people to rotate between cardiovascular, flexibility and strength training. "You will see a positive change in yourself by improving your cardiovascular health, increasing your flexibility and building up your strength," he says.
Find out your starting point through a fitness evaluation or a physical from your doctor. After that, don't be afraid to hire a personal trainer, or join a fitness group to help you get on track. Cardiovascular health can be greatly improved through regular fitness walks, runs and aerobic sports. If it's too cold in your neck of the woods for outdoor activities, consider taking the stairs at work and using the hallways at home to do lunges, which help tone the thighs and buttocks. If you have a fitness club membership, be sure to take advantage of the treadmill and stationary bike. If you are looking to tighten that …