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Fitness Newsletter | December 2011 | 
Make Your Resolution Stick!
by Robert Arbogast, Fitness Recreation Specialist

Healthy ResolutionWe'll soon be ringing in the new year and for many of us, that new year comes with a resolution fresh on our mind. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, about 50% of Americans will make at least one New Year's Resolution this year. As you might expect, the list will include weight loss goals, desire to exercise more, quit smoking and do better financially. Unfortunately, less than 10% of all resolutions made will last more than a couple years.

So how can you buck the trend and make your resolution stick?  Here's one simple piece of advice, especially when thinking about those health and wellness goals: set yourself up for success by resolving to make changes that you know you can do permanently

As a member of the Fitness Unit, I'm privileged to work in a recreation center and come in contact with dozens of people on a daily basis. People are constantly telling me their fitness stories, both the successes and the failures. I also hear tons of resolutions made in the past and plans that caused them to last or fail. At the center of almost every failed resolution is a plan that they knew could only be temporary. 

Here's a radical example. Do you remember the cantaloupe diet that was popular back in the 80's? Did people really think the key to long term weight management was eating nothing but cantaloupe? Probably not. People go wrong by thinking that if they can just sacrifice and get the weight off, then they'll be able to maintain it. Unfortunately, our bodies don't work that way. All of the research suggests that to make real, lasting changes, the process needs to be gradual and in moderation.

It works the same for exercise. In January, the weight rooms and classes will be packed with people that are excited about the possibilities for a new year. I admire their enthusiasm, but remember the advice. When coming up with a plan, think long term. Look for the activities that fit you and your schedule permanently. If you know you're not a morning person, don't plan on being at the gym at 6 am every morning. If you don't like running, don't plan on running every night. That's not to say that you shouldn't try new things, but be realistic and set yourself up for success. Remember, it's all about making the resolution stick. Big goals and changes in January are great, but I want you to become one of the long-term successes.

Need a little kick start for your resolution? Join us for Passport to Fitness on January 14 at five of our recreation centers. Sample a flight of land and water fitness classes for FREE!

You can also speak with any member of the fitness team at our recreation centers for advice on what classes might help you reach your goal. If you need a little extra motivation, personal training might be a good idea for you.

Wishing you a healthy 2012 and beyond!  
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Save the Date!

Passport to Fitness

 January 14, 2012  

9 am - 12:30 pm 


Enjoy a morning full of FREE sample classes during our Passport to Fitness event on January 14, 2012. Bayside, Bow Creek, Great Neck, Kempsville and Princess Anne Rec Centers will offer a variety of mini-classes including ZumbaŽ, RIP, Kickboxing, Core Balance, Tabata & more! Also, Kempsville will be offering water fitness classes! 

"Don't be too concerned about what you eat between Christmas and New Year's, be concerned about what you eat between New Year's and Christmas" 


- Author Unknown 

New Fitness Classes for January



Body Transformation - January is a great time to commit to yourself and invest in a healthy lifestyle. Our Body Transformation classes will not only provide you with great workouts but also give you the tools and knowledge you need to continue your healthy lifestyle once the program ends. We have four different tracts for you to choose from: Cardio Training, Strength Training, Dance Fitness and Cross Training Plus. You pick the class that appeals to you, commit to yourself and we'll take care of the rest.

Check out the Winter Catalog (Body Transformation begins on page 4) for specific class dates and times. Registration begins Saturday, January 7. 


RIP - Are you tired of the same old strength training routines? Do you like the energy of a group class but want to be able to challenge and push yourself to get stronger and leaner? Then you should try RIP. Our newest 60-minute strength training class takes traditional exercises such as squats, chest presses, lunges and bicep curls and matches them with high-energy music and a motivating instructor. Adjustable weight barbells are used so even the most well-conditioned athlete can challenge themselves. Guys, if you've never tried a group fitness class, this would be a great place to start!

Look for RIP on Bayside and Princess Anne's group fitness schedules in January.

Looking for a Challenge? Try Tabata!


Intense WorkoutInterval training workouts alternate segments of higher intensity exercise with lower intensity exercise or active rest. Studies have shown that interval training burns more calories and fat post-workout, making it a great format for weight-loss. It trains your cardiovascular system to work more efficiently and the varying intensities reduce the risk of over-training. Also, it's just more fun and helps prevent burn-out from constant repetition.


One style of interval training that is quickly gaining in popularity is Tabata. This format gets its name from Dr. Izumi Tabata, a former assistant coach with the Japanese speed skating team. Although Irisawa Koichi, the team's head coach pioneered the idea for the training, it was Dr. Tabata who analyzed the performance of the athletes and documented its effectiveness.


Dr. Tabata's findings and the more recent research studies have been remarkable. Well-conditioned athletes have seen tremendous improvements in their performance. To see dramatic improvement in individuals that were already in good physical condition is a definite testament to the effectiveness of the workouts.


What Makes Tabata Different? First of all, the lengths of the intervals are much shorter than those found in traditional interval workouts. The high intensity interval is only 20 seconds long followed by a rest and recovery interval of 10 seconds. This 20 seconds 'on,' 10 seconds 'off' pattern is repeated eight times using the same exercise to make up one block of Tabata. 


The second factor that makes Tabata unique is the intensity of the 20 second intervals. Participants should reach an exertion level of at least 8 or 9 on a scale of 1 to 10.  In other words, for the 20 seconds you will be working at maximum effort. 


Tabata can be adapted to almost any exercise. Traditional cardio exercises like sprints or jump rope work great. Basic strength exercise such as squats, push-ups or burpies work well for a mixture of strength conditioning. Remember the goal is maximum effort, speed and safety, so no heavy weights. If the format is followed correctly, you will reach the desired level without them. 


Where is Tabata Offered? We are excited to start offering a registered class called Tabata Express at Great Neck as part of our early morning fitness lineup in January. It's a ˝ hour of intense, small group training that will get your day started off right. Check out our Winter Catalog (page 6) for class times and dates. Registration begins Saturday, January 7! 


We have also adapted the Tabata format to the water at Bow Creek. You'll find Aqua Tabata on our group fitness schedule on Monday nights at that location. The same high intensity principles apply; they've just been adapted to the water. 


Is Tabata Right for You? Because this type of interval training is intense and will push you to your exercise limits, there are a couple of things to consider before you give it a try. Participates should have a base workout plan established before adding this to their routine. They should be free of cardio risk factors such as unchecked high blood pressure and obesity and they should be able to perform a wide range of basic functional movements without joint pain. This format would not be suitable for beginners. It is also recommended that this type of training only be done 1 to 2 times per week. It should serve as part of a balanced workout schedule and not as your sole source of exercise. 

Please Note Our Upcoming Facility Closures 


All Virginia Beach Recreation Centers, Owl Creek Tennis Center, and staffed City Parks & Facilities will be closed on December 23, 25 & 26 and January 1, 2 & 16. They will close at noon on December 24 and at 5 pm on December 31. Neighborhood parks and canoe/kayak launches remain available for use. 


Don't forget that your membership is good at all six Virginia Beach Recreation Centers! If your usual center is closed for maintenance, take the opportunity to visit another center. Use this locator to help you find one!

Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation believes all of our diverse citizens have a right to participate in community recreation and we are committed to creating equal access for everyone who may have a challenge or barrier. If your child requires additional support, we can help.  Learn more about our accommodation and inclusion services.
We welcome your comments and questions.  Feel free to email us at
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Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation is accredited by CAPRA,
the certifying agency of the National Recreation and Park Association.