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Local gyms, stores helping people begin fitness journeys

St. Joseph News-Press - 7/23/2022

Jul. 23—Kickstarting a fitness journey can be a hard process, but local stores and gyms are working to be a resource for those who are struggling to find a routine.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. obesity prevalence was 41.9% in 2017 through March 2020.

In order to promote health and wellness, gyms are encouraging people to come out and give their facilities a chance.

Justin Boyles, manager at Anytime Fitness, said that the hardest part is starting the process and sticking with it.

"The first thing that I talk to people about when they come in and talk about wanting to lose weight is their nutrition and their activity level," Boyles said. "Nutrition is really the foundation of becoming more fit and developing a healthier lifestyle. And then your activity level is honestly secondary. As long as you are moving, that's a great start. As you start to make more and more progress, then we get into more advanced moves, more advanced exercises, techniques, things like that."

And Boyles said he hopes going to Anytime Fitness can clear the air on some common misconceptions.

"I think, all in all, the biggest misconception people have is that when they come here, people are going to judge them or stare at them," he said. "In my experience, that's just not the case. We have a really supportive environment. I can't think of a gym in town that you're going to go to and be judged or shamed."

But getting into a gym and working out is not the only way to get healthy. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, 50% of people who start an exercise program will drop out within six months.

Local supplement stores, such as Fit Republic, are helping guests by not only finding the right products for them but also taking the time to be a proper resource.

Austin Evans, owner of Fit Republic, said his store takes the time to truly walk the customers through what they should expect on their journey.

"I think most of all, what we are is we're a resource to help people get started," Evans said. "When you go to start your health journey, you know, you don't know what you should be eating, what you shouldn't be eating. A lot of people have no clue. And so what we can do is sit down, go over a food list with you and give you some recommendations. So that way it's conducive to whatever exercise you're doing and whatever result you want to get and everything else."

Even local nutritional shops that offer teas and protein shakes are an additional resource, and although it won't solve all your problems regarding fitness, employees at Jo Town Nutrition like Faith Dryer said it's an asset to help keep you on track.

"I don't think by any means they're going to be the thing that helps you, you know, get the weight off like that," Dryer said. "But I do think that having assets like that will help keep you on track. You think like, 'Oh, today I can go get a protein shake instead of, you know, a greasy cheeseburger for lunch," or something like that. I think that it's a tool to help you stay on track."

For many gyms, nutrition shops and supplement stores, their goal is to offer support and be a resource for people.

"Education is what's lacking in so much of the journey of trying to get healthy," Evans said. "You know, people may kick it into high gear and say, 'I'm going to start going to the gym and work really hard.' But if the nutrition is not in place, if they're not getting the right amount of sleep, if they're overtraining their body and not fueling it properly, then it can kind of hinder your results. So our goal is to just educate you."


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