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A new year is a chance for a fresh perspective, and each year at Life Time, we celebrate that opportunity with our Commitment Day festivities. In 2020, we’re making it about something more.

As a new decade rolls in, we’re encouraging you to commit to one positive action — for your health, for your loved ones, or for your community. We truly believe that it’s about progress, not perfection, and that real change happens one step at a time.

So whether your hope is to run a marathon, feed your family better foods, lift 10 more pounds, or volunteer more, your commitment to taking one positive action can make a big difference. Because one is the beginning of two good choices, three healthy meals, five more reps, and a community of thousands strong.

We talked with five Life Time experts from across the country to learn what they’re planning to commit to this year, including the steps they’ll take to get there and how they plan on staying committed. We hope they inspire you just as they inspired us!


1. Positive Action: Train for a 5K after a health setback

Elizabeth Rodriguez, personal training manager at Life Time in Chappaqua, N.Y.

Running or walking a 5K is a great way to try distance running and improve your endurance. Many runners sign up to simply cross the finish line, others race against their personal best time, and still more compete for fun with a friend or family member.

“Almost exactly a year ago, I had surgery on my back, so this past year has been about patience and baby steps,” Rodriguez says. “My ultimate goal is to race 10-milers or half-marathons again, but I’m choosing a 5K as my positive action to get my wellness motivation going. I want to focus on self-care, breath, and mobility work while I’m working toward my goal and getting myself back to my ‘new’ race shape.”

Rodriguez says sticking to her 5K training will come down to support and setting even smaller goals of progress along the way.

“I plan on setting shorter distance goals each month to work towards my 5K, and I’ll rely on my community, husband, and group training classes like GTX Cut to help me build up my strength,” she says. “I’d advise anyone coming back from an injury or looking to succeed in a 5K to formulate a plan and pinpoint the areas they think they might need help. Then, find resources or a community to support you — that can help keep you accountable and on track.”

Want to run or walk a 5K as your positive action?

You can register now for the Commitment Day 5K on January 1, 2020. If you’d like some help getting race-ready, try using this 5K training plan.


2. Positive Action: Achieve maximum squat weight

Miguel Ortiz, personal trainer at Life Time in Sandy Springs, Ga.

Squatting is a foundational weight-lifting exercise. It strengthens your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves while relying on your core for stabilization. For strength trainers who are consistently lifting to achieve new personal records, the amount of weight squatted brings some serious bragging rights along with athletic benefits.

“My goal for 2020 is to build up a squatting weight from 265 pounds to 360 pounds — or twice my body weight,” Ortiz says. “To achieve this heavy gain, my training will include focused squatting at least three days per week in addition to Alpha Strong workouts three times per week.”

Ortiz believes the key to sticking with an aggressive training regimen is to find a likeminded team that boosts accountability and morale.

“When you surround yourself with people who lift you up when you’re down, it’s not only encouraging, but it also creates focus and drives behavior, which will keep you pushing forward,” says Ortiz.

Want to have a strength-training goal be your positive action?

Start by making slight increases in your reps or weight load each week. Then, pay attention to how your body responds — if you don’t feel like it’s a good session to increase your weight, try to do an extra rep or two instead. Seemingly small improvements can lead to big gains over time.


3. Positive Action: Replenish with quiet, self-care activities

Marie Urban, regional small-group training coordinator and national new club opening small-group training specialist at Life Time based in Basking Ridge, N.J.

Self-care is simply the notion of caring for yourself. That may include getting a massage, eating nourishing foods, or reading a good book — whatever feels replenishing to you. But many of us often neglect this aspect of our routines and instead prioritize our to-dos or others’ needs above our own.

“You cannot be of service to others if your own vessel is empty,” Urban says. “My commitment to myself, my family, and friends this year is that I will ensure I’m mentally, physically, and emotionally strong enough to take care of their needs.”

She currently focuses most of her self-care efforts on being physical health and strength by dedicating time for her workouts. “What I don’t do enough is bring the energy inward to replenish my thoughts and priorities,” says Urban. “People need to take time to focus on their mental health without feeling guilty.”

For her positive action, Urban intends to practice more quiet, self-care activities that she finds fulfilling, such as meditation, hiking, yoga, and spending time in the sauna. And she knows if she participates in these with a friend or partner with like-minded self-care goals, it will help her stay accountable.

“I get bored with things pretty quickly, so I will try and change up my routine to keep it fresh,” says Urban. “For example, sauna in the winter, yoga in the spring, and hiking in the summer. Don’t be afraid to change your positive action if you no longer find it fulfilling.”

Want to make self-care your positive action?

Take inspiration from this list of self-care ideas. Try different activities to find what feels most restorative to you and then make space for them in your daily life.


4. Positive Action: Reignite an old fitness passion

Emily Booth, national indoor cycle education manager at Life Time in Westminster, Colo.

As a trainer and educator for Life Time members and instructors across the nation, Booth is an enthusiastic advocate for committing to positive change and helping people achieve their goals. Consistency is the key, she says. But when it comes to one of her own great passions — distance running — Booth struggles with holding herself to the same standard.

“I used to run every day, but after a few years of consecutive setbacks — such as injuries and a busy travel schedule — I found myself lucky to run even once or twice a week,” she says. “I realized I did a terrible job of taking my own advice as it relates to consistency and doing the things we know make us feel better.”

Booth’s positive action for 2020 is to reignite her passion for running with a commitment to consistency. She plans to run three times each week, no matter how short the distance.

“It’s not about how far, how fast, or how long I run. I’m just going to run — consistently,” says Booth. To stay motivated, she plans to mark off the days on a big calendar in her kitchen.

“There’s something very satisfying to me about physically writing down my plan, looking at the week or month, and seeing the days crossed off,” she says. “I’m also planning to place some of my most prized medals and awards in prominent places around the house to remind me of what I can do when I’m committed.”

Want to take up a previously loved sport or activity as your positive action?

Booth recommends choosing one action to move you toward that outcome. “The smaller the moves are, the easier they are to accomplish,” she says. “And when you accomplish a small goal first, that will become your motivation to take on the next one and so on.”


5. Positive Action: Complete a triathlon

Xiomara Colon, member onboarding manager at Life Time at Sky in New York, N.Y.

Some people set a goal to run, some to bike, and others to swim. Triathletes do it all consecutively, and for Colon, it’s a positive action that she’s excited to return to after recovering from a devastating ACL tear in 2015.

“My favorite thing to say about triathlons is ‘I’ll get back there some day’ or ‘This will be the year,’” she says. “It feels like 2020 is the perfect year to complete my first one since I got sidelined.”

Motivating her goal is the memory she has of the last time she competed in a triathlon and the excitement she felt in the last 20 seconds before she crossed the finish line. “You prepare for months to feel the emotion of that finish,” says Colon. “Being proud of the discipline and dedication it takes to get to that moment will keep me on track.”

Colon wants people to know they don’t need to feel intimidated by the idea of attempting their first triathlon.

“Training is right there at many of our Life Time locations,” she says. “We have the best tools to get anyone going, including guidance from fitness professionals and metabolic testing that uses science to optimize your conditioning for the bike and run portions. It all starts with one step.”

Want to make training for a triathlon your positive action?

Talk to a personal trainer or visit the Fitness Desk to find out if there’s a triathlon training program available at your club. Interested in gearing up for a race on your own? Try these 4 drills to improve your transition time or add two 30-minute strength-training workouts into your weekly regimen to make you a stronger competitor.


No matter what goal you set for the new year, making a commitment to complete it, being thoughtful about a plan, and taking it one step at a time can go a long way toward helping you achieve it. For more on why this approach leads to success, read this advice from Bahram Akradi, Life Time founder, chairman, and CEO.

To help jump-start your motivation, we hope you’ll join us for our Commitment Day festivities that kick off December 28 and go through January 5. There are a series of fun events, classes, family activities, and more to choose from; learn more about Commitment Day 2020 and find a list of all the events here.

Lindsey Frey Palmquist
Lindsey Frey Palmquist

Lindsey Frey Palmquist is a senior copywriter at Life Time.

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