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Stick to Fitness Resolutions with Grad's Solutions

Published in Suny Cortland, January 2014

A new year often brings new fitness goals, which typically means a bump in new gym memberships.

But if 25 years spent climbing the ladder in the health and fitness industry has taught Randy Sabourin ’88 anything, it’s that New Year’s fitness resolutions are achieved most often when they start with education and accountability, not simply pouncing on a discounted monthly rate.

“Just paying money doesn’t guarantee results,” says Sabourin, the owner of Metro Fitness in Syracuse, N.Y. “People don’t get shaped by osmosis.”

Sabourin, a former physical education major, would know.

He started Metro Fitness, located on South Salina Street in the heart of downtown Syracuse, in 1995 as a small personal training boutique to train people one-on-one. Over time, it has evolved into something much larger: a full-service health club that today employees a full-time staff of a dozen, including three who were educated at SUNY Cortland — Patrick Flaherty ’92, M.S.Ed. ’95; Anthony Romano; and Ashlea Youngs ’10.

January often brings a spike in interest largely because of New Year’s resolutions, Sabourin says. But his goal isn’t to create a revolving door-type gym that relies solely on over-selling memberships.

“Most of the time, what people are looking for is guidance and that’s what fitness clubs accomplish,” he says, opting to use the word club rather than gym because it implies inclusivity and service over machines and equipment.

Sabourin recently offered five general tips on sticking with a New Year’s fitness resolution, whether that newfound fitness routine involves walking a half-hour outside, working with a personal trainer or rotating the gym circuit:

• Set measurable, realistic goals.

“Number one, have a goal,” says Sabourin, who starts with an individual goal analysis for his clients. “Make sure it’s realistic and make it measurable.

“Don’t just say that your goal this year is to get in better shape. It’s better to say that you want to lose 20 pounds by March 1 or that you want to run a 5K this spring.”

• Be accountable.

Accountability can come in many different forms, Sabourin says. The highest form for most is a personal trainer, “someone who’s going to show up and make sure you’re doing your workouts especially if you have a busy lifestyle or a family.”

“But if that’s not within your budget, there’s nothing better than a workout buddy, as long as that person is motivated,” he says. “A workout buddy gives you motivation and a purpose to show up.”

• Give it at least one month.

Making it through the first 30 days of a new exercise routine is crucial, according to Sabourin.

“Statistics show most January new members fall through the cracks within a month,” he says. “That’s because you’re only seeing the negative side of fitness the first few weeks: you’re sore, you’re tired and you probably haven’t done enough to notice any measureable change.”

It’s common to expect instant gratification, although it’s often unrealistic. 

“If you can make it through those first 30 days, you’ll begin to see and feel change and those are positive reinforcements.” 

• Don’t be one dimensional with your approach.

The aspiring runner who sets out to run a 5K in the spring shouldn’t focus solely on running 30 minutes each day, Sabourin says. It’s just as important to recover and mix up activity.

“If you’re one dimensional, what happens is you can start to see stress injuries and overuse injuries,” he says, explaining that the key is cross training.

“Blending a variety of fitness activities in your lifestyle — running, yoga, weight-lifting — not only is that the best approach for your body, but also mentally you have less of a chance to burn out when you have different activities to choose from.”

• Find a hobby for the season.

It might sound elementary, but Sabourin, who resides in Brewerton, N.Y., stresses the importance of playing outside.

“You can’t fight the climate you live in, so you need to learn to embrace it,” he says. “You had better find a hobby that’s conducive for the season, whether it’s snow-shoeing or cross country skiing in the winter or getting your bike out or going for a jog in the summertime.

“You have to be realistic with your environment. The outdoors are healthy and you have to take what they allow you to do.”



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205 S. Salina Street, Syracuse, NY 13202
Ph. (315) 426-8917 
Fax (315) 426-0180
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6800 East Genesee St, Fayetteville, NY 13066
Ph. (315) 446-2638
Fax (315) 446-2651 
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