It’s that time again: New Year’s. Time for resolutions.


Resolutions are as easy to make as peanut butter sandwiches. Unfortunately, they as easy to break as opening that carton of Blue Bell in your freezer.


This year, things could be different. This isn’t just the start of a new year. It’s the start of a new decade. A new century. A new millennium! More importantly, it could be the start of a new you.


Getting in shape has never been easier. All across Lake Highlands, gyms and walking trails, trainers and treadmills are all waiting to give you the shape you want — the shape you promise yourself every year you’ll get.


To accomplish your goal, Jenni Leal, a physical therapist at Presbyterian Hospital, recommends you get in at least three to five cardiovascular workouts along with three days of weight training each week.


You can always get those workouts in free by walking or biking around White Rock Lake or circling the track up at the school. The new Lake Highlands YMCA, which just opened, has many fitness options. Or you might find the idea of joining a health club enticing. Working out in a gym is one of the easiest ways to exercise since a club provides a structured environment that motivates you once you get there.


This is a good time of year to take advantage of special, reduced rates at health clubs all across Lake Highlands. Most have extended their Christmas specials, and many will negotiate if you enjoy wheeling and dealing.


Once you’ve signed up, you might want to use your savings to invest in a personal trainer. After all — you’re after results. It’s far more important to do a few exercises with the proper form than to do lots of repetitions (reps) incorrectly. Don’t waste precious workout time with sloppy, imprecise moves.


While it looks impressive to see the burly guy with the tattoos rapidly clanking weights, all that turbulence signifies little. It doesn’t mean he’s building muscle. While his style might wow a novice, the truth is all that weight, noise and grunting may not be accomplishing much.


And, while it might seem the faster you go the better, it’s actually harder to go slowly (try it) and usually, the harder the better. Plus, speed through your reps and you’re more likely to injure yourself. Sore muscles that got that way from a proper, robust workout are good. Torn ligaments and banged-up joints from improper workouts aren’t.


Charles Roblee, a popular trainer at the Fitness Factory in Casa Linda, recommends you get in eight minutes of cardiovascular activity when you start your workout to warm your muscles and elevate your heart rate. Then lift some weights. Once your weight training’s over, get in another round of cardiovascular exercise to burn fat when you’re done.


“Women are often reluctant to lift weight,” Roblee points out. “They’re afraid they’re going to bulk up and look heavier.” In fact, just the opposite is true.


“Women don’t have the hormones it takes to bulk up,” he says. “By doing several reps using low to moderate weights, women will be lean muscles with eye-catching definition.”


Lifting weights burns fat-burning muscle. Cardiovascular workouts burn calories.


You’d think that would do it, but the bad news (for us chocolate lovers anyway) is that you can’t eat with abandon and still look hot. At least most of us can’t.


“There are a lucky few who can eat junk food and still look good,” says Kari Devillers, a nutritionist at Doctor’s Hospital. “The danger is that if they eat high-fat diets, even thin people can end up with blocked arteries, even cancer.” And most of us can’t take in more than 2000-2500 calories a day or we pack on unwanted weight.


That eating thing is the trick. “Why toil to burn off fat if what you eat just puts in all back on?” Roblee asks.


So. You’ve been promising yourself this time you’ll get with the program and get in shape. This is the year. With healthy eating and regular exercise, you will get the results you want.


Just get going — the clock is ticking.