Last updated: December 31. 2013 12:25AM - 1971 Views
By Sara Pokorny Weekender Staff Writer



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It’s that time again: the time to embark on the path to a new you.


With the new year comes many resolutions to get fit and stay that way, but so many people seem to drop off a couple months in. So, what gives? How can you make this year be the year for you?


We talked to some locals who lead a fit lifestyle and did it all on their own through sheer determination. See how they work out, how they eat, and the advice they give to anyone looking to get on a healthy track – and stay there.


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Name: Lucy Howard


Age: 31


Hometown: Exeter


Occupation: Instructor at Pole Dance Fitness (419 Poplar St., Scranton, 570.909.9129, pole-dancefitness.com), yoga instructor at Balance Yoga and Wellness (900 Rutter Ave., Forty Fort, 570.714.2777, balanceyogastudio.net)


When did you decide to lead a healthy lifestyle and why?


I’ve always been really physically active. I did gymnastics, so as a child I learned from a very young age that you have to work hard to get results, and it was always something I enjoyed and got so much out of. However, as a young adult, I wasn’t very healthy. I would eat fries every day, I smoked cigarettes. I started gaining weight after I got out of gymnastics and wasn’t happy with what was happening to my body, so I really began to educate myself on better eating, and then I became physically active again.


What do you eat to stay healthy?


I don’t eat traditionally in the sense of, “OK, this is dinner time now, this is lunch.” I listen to my body and give it what I feel it needs when it needs it. Sure, getting used to vegetables and salads is tough at first, but once your body adapts and you get all that junk food out of your system, you become more balanced and you feel so much better. However, I never deprive myself of anything. If I really want candy and it’s a Monday, not the weekend, I’m going to eat it. It’s all about portion sizes. If you’re going to have a big dinner at eight at night with dessert after and then go to bed, it’s just going to turn to fat.


What do you do in terms of exercise to stay in good shape?


Fortunately for me I have an active job, so every day, whether I’m doing something for myself or not, I’m stretching, I’m moving. It’s important to get your heart rate up; some cardiovascular, even just twice a week, is really beneficial. I actually enjoy spinning twice a week. I love pole fitness, though, because there’s always something new to learn, some new goal to reach. Plus it’s done in a group, which can be very motivating. It’s an ongoing challenge; you’re inspired to get stronger, you’re inspired to be more flexible. That’s what’s kept me sucked into it for 10 years; there’s never a dull moment.


What advice do you have for someone looking to commit to being healthier?


You need to find what works for you. I feel like people get stuck or frustrated or uninspired. The reason I do this is because I enjoy it, it’s fun for me, so find something you actually enjoy and won’t dread having to do. Set realistic goals. So many people have the “all or nothing” mentality and then they don’t do anything.


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Name: Timothy Hlivia


Age: 41


Hometown: Shavertown


Occupation: My day job, I work as a probation and parole officer. My passion is owning Leverage Fitness Studio (900 Rutter Ave., Forty Fort, 570.338.2386, leveragetrainingstudio.com), where I get to help reshape people’s lives. I love what I do and am fortunate enough to be able to follow my dreams.


When did you decide to lead a healthy lifestyle and why?


As a child, I was into junk food; however, I always remained active in sports. In college, I decided to major in Exercise Science and my dream was to open a fitness studio.


What do you eat to stay healthy?


Eating well is always the most challenging. I eat well all year long but always give myself some leeway around the holidays. I don’t give up any foods that I enjoy; I just eat less of it when I want to get leaner. I always base my meals on protein-rich sources, eat plenty of fibrous carbs, and drink plenty of water. There’s nothing magic about eating well. The magic comes from being consistent and not starting and stopping a “diet.”


What do you do in terms of exercise to stay healthy?


I stay in shape by making sure I exercise daily, getting in three weight training sessions per week while supplementing that with some body weight cardio sessions, too.


What advice do you have for someone looking to commit to being healthier? Commitment is the name of the game in terms of getting and keeping the weight off. People always want to reinvent themselves at the beginning of a new year. My advice is to go at it slow, seek out a quality personal trainer, and get good advice. Most people expect too much too soon and often get discouraged and quit.


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Name: Megan Ruane


Hometown: Currently West New York, born in Mountain Top


Occupation: Bartender, GNC sponsored athlete, FitFluential fitness ambassador


When did you decide to lead a healthy lifestyle and why?


I decided about a year ago when my heart was broken. It helped to keep me distracted and focused on a goal. What I thought was my biggest downfall was my greatest success. I competed in my first fitness contest with only a nine-month transition. I won and never looked back. I found myself in fitness and helping others. This is my life now and I love what I do.


What do you eat to stay healthy?


My diet is pretty clean all around. I eat five to six small meals a day. Lots of protein. Veggies are my favorite (greener the better) and complex healthy carbs and fats, like almonds, avocados, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, brown rice. Find what works for you!


What do you do in terms of exercise to stay healthy?


I always switch up my workouts to keep it fun and challenging for me. You can actually follow my Instagram for daily workout motivation: Megga_fitness.


What advice do you have for someone looking to commit to being healthier?


It is important to stay consistent; a lot of people start with good intentions then give up. You need to keep moving forward even if you don’t think you see results. Believe in yourself. You need to want the change more than anything. Understand that everyone starts somewhere. Never be intimidated by anyone else; just focus on yourself and keep positive.


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Name: Brennan Morton


Age: 33


Hometown: Wilkes-Barre


Occupation: Coach at NEPA Crossfit (180 Courtright St., Wilkes-Barre, 570.579.3544, nepacrossfit.com)


When did you decide to lead a healthy lifestyle and why?


I was not a fit child. I went through a fat stage in high school, played a lot of N64, and did not exercise or play sports at all. My brother was team captain and I wanted nothing to do with his shadow or the labor of exercise associated. My freshman year of college, I had a professor who made a comment in class that if I continued down my current path I would be flipping burgers the rest of my life. The next day, I hit the gym with reckless abandon, and then could not lift my arms for about a week. I did bodybuilding all through college until I joined the Marine Corps. In the Marines, I was in a special operations unit and was introduced to CrossFit, which got us all in great shape in a whole lot less time than I had been spending bodybuilding.


What do you eat to stay healthy?


I basically eat a primal/paleo diet, which is not eating grains, high in protein and fat, and staying away from processed food. I still eat dairy, but it’s limited. I have lowered my cholesterol and lost body fat since starting the primal/paleo lifestyle and feel great. However, I still eat “cheat meals” when the mood hits me to keep sane.


What do you do in terms of exercise to stay healthy?


I primarily concentrate on CrossFit, which involves pretty much all exercise, from kettlebells to gymnastics to Olympic weight lifting to running and rowing, but I love to also do strict powerlifting for my secondary workouts just for the sheer thrill of moving big weight.


What advice do you have for someone looking to commit to being healthier?


Start small. Don’t try to bite off more than you can chew right off the bat. Too many people alter their lives so drastically and so abruptly that they burn out, fall off the wagon, and return to their rut. Start by changing one or two things, such as giving up soda for a month and joining a CrossFit gym. See how that works for you. The next month, try to lose grains and processed foods. Every month, take away one bad habit until you reach a threshold of what you feel is a lifestyle that you can actually live with for the long haul. You can always make adjustments later. Slow change tends to be longer lasting and garners better long-term results than crash diets that seem like a great idea but do not address the underlying problems that will resurface as soon as you stop torturing yourself. Rome was not built in a day and the best, most long-lasting results will happen slowly and with conviction.


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GET FIT CHECKLIST


The sheer enormity of taking on the task of getting healthy can be daunting, so we’ve compiled a little checklist of all the things you need to get you started on the right track.


A water bottle: Get a plain one, or get a fancy one that holds your keys, but just get one. Staying hydrated is a must, both in the gym and out of it.


A good pair of shoes: Depending on what route you’re taking, you’re going to want to find shoes that are perfect for your choice of exercise, whether they’re for running, lifting weights, or otherwise.


The right gear for the right exercise: And on that note, make sure you have specialty items you may need, such as a yoga mat, wrist wraps for weightlifting, or the perfect pair of headphones for running.


A revamped kitchen: Even if it’s starting small, filtering healthier food into your life will make a big change. Ditch the soda bottles or add some veggies where candy used to be.


Organization: A big part of getting fit and staying fit is mental, so having an organized lifestyle certainly helps. Since we’re a society so reliant on technology now, it only makes sense that there are plenty of apps out there to aid in this. Some good ones include: Endomondo Sports Tracker (for bikers, joggers, and runners to keep track of routes), FitBit (for recording exercises, foods eaten, and counting calories), Fitocracy (uses game-like stats to spur on friendly competition and increase your dedication to working out), or GAIN Fitness (lets you set and schedule routines for exercising at the gym, at home, or while on the go).


A positive attitude: After all, no one has ever gotten into shape while whining the whole way.

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