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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2011:01:25 00:42:04

Members of Brown's Gym, located in the Abington Shopping Center, Clarks Summit, go for a run on the gym's treadmills as a way to keep fit in the New Year.

Admit it, you've made the same New Year's resolution and, if you haven't yet, chances are you're going to make it at some point in your lifetime.

The resolution, of course, is to lose weight and become healthy.

When F.C. Organizational Products LLC, the official consumer products licensee for the organizational whizzes at Franklin Covey released their survey that polled Americans on what their top New Year's resolution for 2012 was, weight loss and wellness again clinched the top spot, reflecting a 10-year trend towards banishing the bulge. CNN, in turn, released its own predictions for the top fitness trends of 2012, and they are something that residents of the Abingtons will be able to find in their own back yard.

Zumba, the electrifying Latin dance-based workout that has taken the nation by storm, is considered one of the fastest growing trends according to the CNN survey.

"I think the reason why Zumba is so successful as a workout is because it is so much fun; it feels like a party," said Maritza Acevedo-Estes, who teaches Zumba at the Newton Recreation Center and is a substitute instructor at PRO Fitness in Moosic. "It doesn't feel like exercise. I have a lot of students come in that tell me that it does take time for them to motivate themselves to go to class, but once they are there, the hour feels like 20 minutes. They feel like they've accomplished something."

Acevedo-Estes explained that students in her classes range from ages 8 to 75, proving that the workout is for everyone. However, Acevedo-Estes does admit that the idea of Zumba can be a little daunting at first.

"I don't want people to feel intimidated because it is a dance aerobic exercise," she said. "The important thing about Zumba is to keep moving and the beat of the music is what gets you to move. It isn't a dance class, so don't tell yourself that you have two left feet and that you can't do it because you can. You don't need to be precise; as long as you're moving, you will get a great workout."

If Zumba isn't your thing, the No. 1 fitness trend for 2012 is the use of experienced, certified and educated fitness professionals, followed by strength training. One Abington-based business to offer these trends is Brown's Gym, located in the Abington Shopping Center in Clarks Summit.

Jim Brown, the owner of Brown's Gym, gave his advice to people looking to lose weight in 2012.

"One of the things that I see happen when people make a New Year's resolution to lose weight is that they come in the gym like a ball of fire and then, after three days, they are gone and we never see them again," he said. "That is of no use to them. People need to understand that to make a life change like this it does take time and work. There is no magic pill that will make you lose weight. You will have to sweat."

"I see a lot of people who are afraid to join a gym because they think that everyone who goes to the gym is in great shape," Brown continued. "What I say is, though, that everyone who has a gym membership is there for one purpose and that is to take care of themselves. Some things come easier to some people than they do to others, so you have to be happy with any baby step that you make. You're not going to be running a marathon in one week so don't have unrealistic expectations of yourself."Brown also suggested that people examine important variables when choosing the right gym, such as if the gym is open during hours that a person would like to work out; if child care is available if needed; what classes the gym offers; and whether the trainers are properly certified, such as through the American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM) or the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).

"The bottom line is, if the price is right but what the gym offers doesn't match up with your needs, then you're wasting your money regardless of the price," Brown said. "The human body is an adapting machine and it takes variation in exercise to make it need to adapt. The more variety you give your workout, the more results you will see."

For people looking for a different, yet challenging, workout to add variety to their routine, yoga might be the ticket.

"Yoga is amazing; it is all about having an experience and enjoying the moment," said Hilary Steinberg, owner of Jaya Yoga, 320 S. State St., Clarks Summit. "It is a practice, not a 'perfect'. How you react to what is happening on the mat is how you would react to what is happening in the world. It is all about what you want to get out of it and it works on your mind and body. If you're trying it for the first time, I would say not to expect anything, just go and enjoy it and have your experience."

"Yoga gives people permission not to think and to embrace the moment," she continued. "It allows the self to be grateful for who you are. People get different things out of their practices. It allows you to check in with yourself. Life is all about choices and there is no wrong way to do it. Yoga is about moving and breathing without compromising the body."

Steinberg also offered her own advice for people looking to commit to weight loss, health and wellness in the new year.

"I tend to stay away from the whole 'new year, new you' philosophy," she said. "I prefer to take the 'fresh year, fresh you' approach, meaning that you embrace your uniqueness throughout the year. My advice to anyone who wants to take on fitness, wellness or weight loss for the new year is to choose carefully. Treat yourself with compassion like you do the other people in your life. Forgive yourself if you make a mistake and learn to pick yourself back up again if you fall and move forward. There's a difference between making a resolution and embracing something. Try to embrace your new practice."

Finally, if enhancing your diet is a part of your 2012 health plan of attack, you might want to see what Everything Natural, 426 S. State St., Clarks Summit, has to offer.

"Here at Everything Natural, we are just a group of normal people who want to live a healthy lifestyle and who want to help other people do that as well," said owner Barry Kaplan. "If you want to have optimal health or just focus on self-improvement or illness support, we can help you. People are finding that natural food stores and holistic health care are valuable assets in their lives and research is showing that what we offer here is part of a healthy and normal diet. It isn't unusual by any means."

Besides offering a wide selection of health food, Everything Natural also has wellness and fitness classes, including hatha yoga and svaroopa-style yoga.

"If you make small changes rather than a huge resolution to improve your health, you will find that you're more successful," Kaplan said. "A big resolution is unrealistic but a gradual one is more effective. Make your change, make a plan, and be positive about it."