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Each January, many people resolve to be a bit healthier, with losing weight, quitting smoking, better eating and more activity topping some New Year’s resolution lists.

Local fitness center proprietors and clients have some tips for those getting started on personal fitness goals.

Laura Hulleman, the owner of Impact Fitness, a training studio on Eighth Street in Baraboo, said she tends to see a lot of new clients at the first of the year.

The studio, open three and a half years, offers small-group classes, circuit training and personal training sessions as well as a simple gym membership option.

“The biggest thing is, it’s about the lifestyle,” Hulleman said of New Year’s resolutions.

People with goals of getting fit and losing weight have to make changes in multiple areas to see results, she said. Understanding nutrition, activity and the mental aspects of well-being are key.

She advised people to start with a manageable change that they’ll be able to continue.

“If you can’t do it long-term, then don’t start,” Hulleman said.

Sometimes joining a gym or fitness center can provide support and accountability, she said. Finding a trainer or

coach in tune with one’s own goals can be important, too.

“It’s about starting where you are right now,” she said.

The gym is gearing up for its Baraboo’s Biggest Loser challenge, a city-wide weight-loss competition for members and non-members that runs from January through April. In exchange for a $45 entry fee, participants receive healthy lifestyle coaching and tips, weigh-ins and entry into community fitness activities.

The club then donates money back to area schools’ physical education programs based on community participation, Hulleman said. The individual who loses the most weight overall also receives a cash prize.

Hulleman said sometimes a competition can be a good way to get motivated.

“(People can) use it as a starting point to continue on their fitness journeys throughout the rest of the year,” she said.

Rob Jordan, the owner of Baraboo Health & Fitness on Broadway Street, operating since 1997, said membership numbers tend to go up at the beginning of the year.

“There’s always that flux of New Year’s resolutions,” he said. “People want to better themselves for the following year.”

The 24-hour facility offers full weight training and cardiovascular equipment, locker rooms and showers. No fitness classes are offered, but personal trainers are available for a fee, and training to orient members to the gym’s equipment is included with membership.

“I would say just not to put too much on the plate all at once,” Jordan said of approaching a New Year’s resolution or fitness goal.

People can burn out easily, he said, and some are more likely to stick with a gradual change and small, achievable goals.

“Make it fun, and make it something that they enjoy,” he said.

The club doesn’t do any advertising and hovers right around the 400-member mark to keep equipment readily available for clientele, Jordan said.

James O’Neill, who owns It’s All About You yoga studio with his wife, Tatsiana, said the facility sometimes gets new members interested in yoga and Zumba, a Latin-dance inspired workout routine.

The business, operating in town since 2008, offers the first week free to newcomers and the first class package purchased at a 50-percent discount so people can try out the offerings to see if they like them.

The studio, located on the same level as the Garden Party Café on Oak Street in downtown Baraboo, offers mostly beginner classes, with a few intermediate level and more advanced options.

Yoga promotes total-body wellness, O’Neill said.

“Yoga is one of those practices that can affect every single facet of your life,” he said, citing benefits such as improved mood, reduced anxiety and blood pressure and better balance, mobility and flexibility.

Among his pieces of advice for people seeking to better themselves in the new year are to work on eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and to take on some form of exercise.

Sherry Henseler, 46, is no stranger to New Year’s resolutions. She started making an effort to lose weight in 2011, and joined Impact Fitness last year.

So far in her journey, Henseler has lost close to 100 pounds.

“I had been diagnosed with chronic fatigue and (fibromyalgia),” she said of her start with exercise.

Her doctor told her to begin with five minutes of physical activity every other day. When 2012 started, her goal was to do 30 minutes, three times each week. Last year, Henseler ran her first half marathon.

“I’ve been carrying the extra weight for 20 years,” she said.

Henseler said her goals are to lose another 50 to 80 pounds and to improve her health and the way she feels. When she started running, she weighed 260 pounds.

This year, she hopes to run her first marathon in May, continue healthy eating and try snowshoeing and kayaking.

Henseler said working with others and training with Hulleman have kept her accountable.

“She knew me; she knew my story,” she said.

Her advice to people starting on their own fitness journeys would be to tackle one thing at a time, no matter how small. Get started, keep focused, and reevaluate every month, she said.

Henseler, a registered nurse, also is pursuing her own life- and wellness-coaching venture on the side, hoping to help people with goal-setting. At work, she said she feels a deeper connection to her patients and their efforts to lead healthier lives.

“It’s amazing,” she said of the transformation.

Follow reporter Annie Getsinger on Twitter @WisKidReporter or send e-mail to

Reporter for Capital Newspapers