Weight gain the norm for Americans after the holidays

Between that Thanksgiving turkey and the champagne toast New Year's Eve, Americans gain weight. Weight Watchers manager Jane McDonald said much depends on the individual's lifestyle.

"In the most recent study, people with a healthy lifestyle didn't gain that much over the holidays, but they usually don't lose those extra pounds," she said. " Over the years, that adds up."

She said cold, gray skies and short days following the Christmas season exacerbate the problem, leading people to seek comfort foods to ease depression.

Many try losing weight on their own following the holiday season and there's a lull at Weight Watchers until mid-January. Business picks up when people realize they might need help and so begins mid-winter's round of carrots, celery and crowded gyms.

It's a commitment that usually lasts about two months, according to Brandon Straker, assistant manager of Carson City's Nevada Fitness & Aerobics, who said January through March is one of their busiest times and success depends on the level of commitment, setting goals and staying motivated.

"People often don't get the information they need to achieve the results they want and then get frustrated and bored," he said. "It's important for them to set goals and know what they want to achieve. Exercise is work, but when they start seeing results, it's fun."

According to Cliff Smith, of Silver State Fitness, Americans are the most out-of-shape people in the world and the problem has to be tackled on a number of fronts. Aerobic exercise, weight training and a change in eating habits are all necessary to control weight and maintain physical well-being.

"You can't do two out of the three and still expect results," he said.

For those who be tackling that bulge and hitting the gym next month, here's a brief summary covering some of Carson City's facilities.

-- Located on Research Way on the north end of Carson City, Nevada Fitness offers 35 aerobics classes and 11 spinning classes weekly, in addition to weight training, certified trainers, massage, tanning, saunas and more.

"We offer a variety to keep people interested, so they don't have to do the same thing every time they come in." Straker said. "And we have a number of machines so there's no waiting, even when the gym is crowded."

This building is currently undergoing a renovation and Nevada Fitness expects to add a second gym closer to the middle of town this summer.

The center is open from 4:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m on weekends. Prices can vary, but membership fees average between $29 and $49 per month. For information, call 884-3476, extension five.

-- Silver State Fitness is a small gym offering everything from aerobics, kick boxing and yoga to tanning, body composition analysis and full body massage. A physical therapist is on staff, nutritional supplements are available and there's a special corner for the children while parents exercise.

"It's a very clean, friendly, family-oriented place," Smith said. "We attract a lot of business owners, state workers, corporate members and senior citizens."

The facility is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A number of membership plans are available and $375 per year, or $31.25 per month, buys a single membership. For information, call 884-2955.

-- In addition to lap swimming and a therapy pool, the Carson City Community Center offers programs for those of every age, from weight resistance for seniors to a Ninja Turtles karate class for the 4 to 7-year-old set.

The Sweat Shop offers 22 classes weekly, including Senior and Health Smart classes at the Senior Citizens' Center.

Each regular adult class is a different challenge, offering endurance, interval training, muscle strengthening and flexibility on four levels: Slow, Super, Regular and Wet (water aerobics). The cost for walk-ins is $2 and $45 buys 40 classes, or $1.15 per class. For information on these programs and more, contact the Community Center at 887-2290.

-- American Fitness, previously known as Thatcher Family Fitness, is located at 627 N. Edmonds Dr. in Carson City. The business was recently purchased by Tony Nelson and he plans a complete renovation of the 4,000-square-foot building. The gym offers a wide range of programs, from karate and aerobics to personal trainers and weight-lifting competitions. Part of Nelson's program is aimed at Carson City's youth.

"I want to get the kids in here instead of partying, or on the streets," he said.

American Fitness is open Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. A one-year membership costs $249. For information, call 887-1872.


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