By Rebecca Toth
Special to Niagara Frontier Publications
It's that time of year where everyone starts to put in the time at the gym to get their wishful "summer bod." Some people will put in hours at the gym to hopefully sculpt the body of their dreams while others will prefer sit and be content with "lifting pizza" from the comfort of their own home.
Everybody works out differently, has their own routines and takes their own amount of time when it comes to getting in shape. There's no time limit put on working out, and that's OK.
At the beginning of the year, many people will sign-up for gym memberships due to New Year's resolutions they want to fulfill and to see how long they will last following along their plan. There are also people who will open memberships later on, trying to beat the "Resolution Rush," or just for the heck of it.
"Towards the beginning of the year, we had close to 250-300 new members a month. Now we're about 180-200 a month," said Brianna, an employee at Crunch Fitness.
Within the Niagara Falls area, there are many gyms for the community to choose from. LA Fitness, Crunch Fitness (formerly known as World's Gym), Planet Fitness and other small, independently owned gyms are among those choices.
A favorite for many is Crunch because of the amenities it offers and what is included in each package.
The four-tier plans start with base, peak, peak plus and peak plus results. The base plan is the most basic plan, starting at $10 a month, and gives one use of the equipment throughout the gym.
The plans go up from there until one has use of the entire gym, fitness groups/classes, tanning/HydroMassage, etc., which is all a part the peak plus results plan.
With the male to female ratio in the gym, there tends to definitely be a higher percent of males in the gym at a given time, mainly using free weights, as compared to signing up and being a part of the classes that are offered.
Brianna said, "Men typically like to do their own thing. As far as classes though, definitely more women."
When referring to the "summer bod," many people picture more younger adults getting fit to look good for their summer days to be spent on the beach, and automatically think that is what the gym is filled with on a day-to-day basis. One would be surprised, though, because the age range is very mixed.
"We've got an 88-year-old women who takes the classes five days a week and we also have 13-year-olds that will come in and follow their parents to machines and do workouts," Brianna said.
The benefits of working out not only help one look good, but also feel better, as well. The image of looking in shape is just an incentive. The reason for working out is always to be healthier, but some people choose to work out in order to help with certain diseases they live with day to day.
"I have a severe case of Crohn's disease and my doctors recommended that I try to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle in order to stay healthy and stay in remission, and it seems to be working," college student Katie Snyder said. "I have always aspired to be stronger and that's what I'm striving for."
Working out for a little bit each day or even a week and starting to get into a rhythm going to the gym can make a huge difference.
Depending on what type of results one is looking for also depends on the amount of time one puts in to workouts, and how strict of a dieting plan one wants to follow.
For Mike Hull, he is following a strict diet and workout in order to "cut," a term that refers to leaning out muscles and shredding fat, as opposed to bulking. With bulking, one is working out to build more muscle, which is seen as a healthier way to gain weight.
In Hull's case, he said he spends six out of seven days at the gym, with one day being a rest day. During his workout days, he spends at least six hours there and, at most, 15 hours. In comparison to other diet plans of others, his eating habits are a bit different.
"I'm cutting, so my diet is protein-based and zero carbs to help my body burn fat cells for energy. I do intense weight lifting and cardio to achieve a lower overall body fat content," he said.
In another case, college student Brittany Rosso is also an avid gym-goer. She is looking to lean out, too, due to being a former cheerleader, where she used to build muscle easily. She also follows certain eating habits to coincide with her workout plan, but it's just not as strict.
"I usually don't have a strict diet. I know what my body needs to reach my goals, and how to accomplish what I want to accomplish," she said. "With that being said, I am generally a cautious and healthy eater, but I don't force myself to stick to on specific meal plan."
Often times, the type of diet and workout has to work with one's schedule and one's body. Not everyone can work with the same exact plan and expect the same results. One also has to make sure one is comfortable with what one is doing. This will help to achieve goals.
Katelyn Baran said she likes to involve a mix of cardio and free weights into her workout routine, especially HIIT workouts.
To some, these high-intensity interval training workouts are the death of working out. They are high-intensity exercises that are included in a routine to keep one's heart rate up. HIIT is a great option for those looking to burn fat quickly. (Click HERE
to find more information and a variety of sets to try on your own.)
After her morning workouts, Baran said she prefers easy ways to consume protein to help fuel her body.
"Normally I'll do smoothies, because I work out on the mornings, or protein pancakes with protein powder and with bananas," Baran said. "If it's later in the day, I'll do chicken, or tuna and with vegetables."
She said she has tried to meal prep in the past, but hasn't recently.
"Chicken is more expensive to buy, so I have more of a vegetarian diet with beans, chickpeas and tuna. I also try to have a lot of vegetables," Baran said.
A lunch meal made with an organic spring mix, chicken, sunflower seeds, chickpeas, and topped with a simple dressing. Also paired with an English muffin topped with organic hummus and sunflower seeds.
Agreed on by all: While one is working out, making sure one is conscious of diet and what one's body is consuming goes hand in hand.
Since Snyder started working out, she said, "I have started calorie and macronutrient counting everyday since I started this, and it really opened my eyes to how much I consume everyday. Ever since doing that and controlling my eating and macro intake, I feel like my workouts have been much more effective to my body."
If one wants to be healthy, it's not a one-sided relationship. One can't put all the work into working out and eat poorly, or vice versa. Although it's not a completely 50-50 relationship, one's diet is a tad more important.
Hull said, "Your diet is 60 percent-70 percent of how you are going to see results within the goals you make. Not just for cutting, but for working out in general requires a strict diet more so over lifting weights or exercise. You can lose weight, speed up your metabolism and become healthier just by eating right."
This article is part of a college journalism class project and is not intended to endorse any product, nor does it constitute professional health advice. Please consult your doctor before adding or subtracting anything from your diet or workout, and before consuming any item or product listed herein.