FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- As New Year resolution makers enter their second week of progress, Fort Rucker's fitness program specialist offers some insight on how people can be successful in meeting their fitness goals.

According to Zea Urbiztondo, fitness program specialist, some common resolutions include running in a race, like a 5K or a marathon; losing weight, decreasing fat mass or increasing lean body mass; competing in a weightlifting competition; participating in a competitive obstacle-course race; or competing in a triathlon.

However, no matter the goal or resolution, Urbiztondo's advice is the same.

"It is important to set realistic and specific goals," she said. "If you want to lose weight, set your goal as 'lose 10 pounds' or 'increase lean body mass by 5 percent' instead of just saying 'lose weight.' When you establish vague resolutions, you are not setting yourself up in a successful manner.

"Another tip for keeping your resolution is by holding yourself accountable," she added. "Grab a fitness partner and motivate each other. Log your workouts and your nutrition in a notebook or an app so you can see your improvements on a day-to-day basis. Consistency is key and once you start seeing changes, it is more motivating to continue with your goals."

According to Urbiztondo, some additional things to consider are the available resources that can aid the fitness journey.

"What kind of equipment and classes does your gym offer," she said. "What kind of time commitment are you able to invest in your fitness goals? Do you have health issues that need to be addressed by your doctor before beginning a new fitness routine?"

Pitfalls can occur along the way, Urbiztondo admits. However, a bit of footwork prior to beginning a new program and improve the chances of success.

"Some common pitfalls that many people experience include not knowing what they are doing when they first begin a new fitness program, as well as setting unrealistic goals or trying to do too much too soon," she said. "Set achievable goals that are realistic for you. Survey your resources and the kind of equipment available to you.

"Get a certified personal trainer to show you how to use equipment or to demonstrate exercises you are not familiar with," she added. "Start small and progress in a proper and safe manner. By establishing smaller goals [like going to the gym three times a week, or adding an extra helping of vegetables every meal], you are able to build up a routine and the feeling of accomplishment helps motivate you to continue towards your bigger resolutions."

Proper nutrition is also an important factor in any resolution, according to Urbiztondo, and the advice of a registered dietician can be invaluable.

"The common phrase 'weight loss is 80 percent in the kitchen and 20 percent in the gym' demonstrates how important nutrition is to achieving success in fitness," she said. "Whether your goals consist of losing weight, training for an event, or increasing muscular strength, what you put into your body will affect everything you do. Food is fuel and you must treat it as such in order to get the most benefits from all the work you invest in the gym.

"The most important thing when it comes to nutrition and diet is to speak to a registered dietician," she added. "Doing simple things like portion control, tracking your food and beverage consumption, and substituting foods with a healthier option can all contribute to proper diet that will improve your overall health."

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, adult men and women should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio-respiratory exercise per week.

"This can include 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week, or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise three days a week," Urbiztondo said. "Adults should also perform resistance training for each major muscle group two to three days a week using a variety of exercises and equipment."

Not sure where to start? Urbiztondo recommends checking the group fitness schedule for classes available at the post physical fitness facilities for education options.

"Our calendar is filled with fitness opportunities and options," Urbiztondo said. "We have group exercise classes, races, accountability groups, personal trainers and fitness competitions.

"The Army Wellness Center is also a huge resource on Fort Rucker that can boost your fitness goals," she added. "They offer such services as nutrition classes and anthropometric assessments (such as lean body mass and fat mass ratio, resting metabolic rate and submaximal VO2)."

For more information, call 255-2296 or visit