McALLEN — In a region with some of the highest obesity rates in the country, fitness professionals are encouraging residents to follow through on New Year’s resolutions and get moving.
It’s no secret January is the busiest month for gyms, trainers and the like as a large majority of the population resolves to lead healthier lives. And in the Rio Grande Valley, a large portion of the population is overweight.
The prevalence of obesity in adults in Hidalgo County is nearly 43 percent, according to 2016 data from the Centers for Disease Control. By contrast, the state’s overall adult obesity prevalence is about 30 percent.
“A lot of people invest in other things and there’s nothing more important than investing in yourself — getting healthy,” gym owner Roy Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez, who worked his way up from part-time employee to owner and operator of the Gym at Uptown in McAllen, encouraged people to simply take the first step.
“It’s always ‘I’ll start tomorrow,’” he said.
And while many take the step come January, many don’t see it through.
“Gyms will flood” Jorge Vela said. “They get people in the door, but they’re going out the back door faster than they’re coming in the front.”
Vela, the owner of Explosive Fitness, believes there are many factors that can determine a person’s success, and one of them is shortsightedness.
“When it comes to resolutions, I think people should try to think beyond just January. The month itself is so blown up,” he said.
Instead, Vela proposes a 90-day goal.
“In 90 days, if they can do something consistently, a lot of good can come of it,” Vela said. “In 90 days, we can make you a different person.”
“A lot of people want results overnight but obviously it takes a while,” Rodriguez said.
Vela, one of the first to start bootcamp fitness programs in the Rio Grande Valley, encouraged people to seek help from professionals. Personal trainers can become costly if you see them frequently, he said, but it’s not a requirement to do so.
Programs can be tailored and sessions can be held as frequent or infrequent as a customer wishes, said Vela, who has been in the fitness industry for 25 years.
“It is a very personal relationship,” he said. “We really tap into why they want to be there. We tap into the challenges at home. There’s a lot of challenges that go into someone’s success, and it’s not just showing up to the gym.”
Still, they said, any effort is a good effort.
“You’ve got to start somehow,” Rodriguez said. “It ain’t gonna happen if you don’t show up —whether it’s at the gym or at home, you got to start.”