Resolution-keeping program faces dwindling numbers

The Campus Recreation Center (Campus Rec) is offering Healthy Resolutions 2009, a free fitness incentive program to inspire students to get healthy. However, the turnout for the program has decreased.

Despite the incentives offered, attendance among the 75 participants has been low. Seven participants attended the first “Get Started Right” workout class — the second class had four attendees.

“The thing about (New Year’s) programs is that people are (enthusiastic) in the beginning and then fade out,” said Fitness Graduate Assistant Nakreshia Causey. “We’re trying to create programs that will keep people committed throughout the entire program.”

The program, developed by Campus Rec Fitness Coordinator Anne Friesel and Causey, motivates participants to earn points for working out.

“We wanted to create an incentive to keep them (working out) at least through the first couple of months,” Friesel said.

The six-week program began Jan. 20 and will last through March 3.

Of the 15,410 members at Campus Rec, 75 signed up for the Healthy Resolutions program. However, Causey said low numbers of participants are generally expected for New Year’s programs.

The average turnout for past New Year’s fitness programs has been approximately 100 members, she said.

“Normally the people that sign up want to learn how to work out,” Causey said. “The other (members of Campus Rec) are the ones that already know how to work out, or think they know how to work out. So they probably wouldn’t think that the program would benefit them.”

Campus Rec posted flyers around the gym and printed announcements in Note-A-Bull News, the USF student newsletter, to advertise the Healthy Resolutions program, Causey said. The majority of participants are either new members of Campus Rec or current members who rarely exercise and are looking for extra encouragement.

While this is the first year Campus Rec has offered the Healthy Resolutions program, past New Year’s programs have had similar goals.”We try to develop something that can help them not only during the New Year’s, but after the program is over,” Causey said. “We have a lot of new people in the beginning of the year, so it helps them know how to put a program together.”

Throughout the program, participants can earn points for various activities — completing cardio workouts, resistance training and participating in the group fitness classes. Also available to participants are specialized “Get Started Right” workout classes and workshops.

“The workshops really break down what your cardio and strength training should consist of,” Causey said.

The “Get Started Right” workshops are only available to Healthy Resolutions participants. In these classes, participants can have all their fitness questions answered by a certified personal trainer.

Once the program is complete, the participants’ points will be counted and the top four earners will receive prizes — Target gift cards, a one-hour massage at Campus Rec and a one-hour personal training session.

For active participants like Rachelle Price, a graduate student studying public health, the prizes are not the only motivation for joining Healthy Resolutions.

“I have high blood pressure, it runs in my family. I want to exercise because it will help me lower that, hopefully,” Price said. “That’s part of the reason I joined, but I also feel like I need to be healthier.”

Another goal of the program is to expose participants to the variety of activities offered at Campus Rec, Causey said.

Participant Melissa Matson, a graduate student studying physical therapy, said she has taken full advantage of this opportunity.

“I think that it’s helping me to see more things that (Campus Rec) has to offer. Like different aerobics classes that I had never gone to before,” Matson said. “This (program) has given me the motivation to try them out. I went to the deep-water aerobics class last week and I really liked it. I would have never tried it otherwise.”

Merlene Ambroise-Walker, a senior majoring in gerontology and pre-nursing, use to come to the gym on and off again in her freshman year, but now she is going everyday.

“(The program) motivates me to keep going, because a lot of times I’ll stop and go,” she said. “So this time, I have an incentive.”

Even though attendance is low, participants that have been attending the classes regularly are already beginning to see results.

“I’ve been a lot more regular with my exercises, I’ve been exercising four to five days a week now,” Matson said. “I feel better, I have more energy and I feel better about myself.”