Gone are the ornaments, the tree, the decorations, the lights, the holiday gatherings and the constant flow of delicious foods. Too bad everything about the holidays isn’t gone, namely that holiday weight.

With losing weight and increasing exercise being two of the top 10 most common New Years Resolutions, many of you are thinking about this right now.

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Did you know that those people who work out alone are only half as likely to succeed as those who have a work out buddy or someone to encourage them and to be accountable to? Half! But that’s okay. Because many of us have also resolved to spend more time with family and friends or make new acquaintances and friends. How great is it that by combining two of your resolutions you are practically guaranteed better success with both! Really, when you live on our beautiful island, you don’t have an excuse. Even in the worst of weather you can still exercise. There are many different kinds of free ways to exercise and some great resources if you want to seek professional assistance.

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Whether you are looking for a workout buddy, simply wanting to be more active and fit, or wanting to be more social, may we suggest:

  • Start regularly attending specific classes at Risner gym, Foster Fieldhouse, Kinser Gym, or the gym nearest you.
  • Find an online support group. Many are free. Some offer extensive services. is a free and interactive website which allows you to input exercise time to calculate your calories burned, foods for calories consumed.  If you go to groups there is one specifically for Okinawa where you can discuss foods, exercise or diet questions or find out what others are doing around the island to stay fit. There are plenty of other online information and support groups for those of us who live on Okinawa such as OkinawaHai Fitness Fanatics.
  • Join a 12-week Reebok Boot Camp program. We’ll be doing a post specifically on this later on. Simply put, you go every day to work out with the group, you receive dietary help, and you workout with the same group of people so you have that support built in. Plus, all the growling, hard work you do together often leads to great friendships. There are several programs out there, the one linked above is just one of them.
  • Begin Karate classes. As Okinawa is considered by many to be the home of karate, living here provides a great opportunity to learn a new sport while working out.

I know that I just named a few of the things which are available and there are tons of other resources and activities to help us all. So I’m calling on all of you, for your fellow readers benefit please let us know of other ways that you know of to stay active around our island.

Remember, you are more likely to succeed if you have someone you are working out with. You’d be surprised at just how many people would like a workout buddy, so go mingle!


  1. Getting and staying in shape is a lifelong committment. The only way to lose weight is to take responsibility for yourself! Our health is our most important asset. For many people, being overweight is associated with being uncomfortable in their own skin. To assist with weight control; keep a daily food journal and every time the urge to snack is felt, first drink a large glass of clear water. This simple act will help you to eat less. Water will soon become one of your best friends. The major reason so many people in America are overweight is because we eat too much for comfort! It does not hurt to treat ourselves with something special once in a while, what is necessary is that we limit our portions and do not overeat! It is also necessary to keep our body properly hydrated, so drink a full glass of water with each meal or snack. Being overweight ******, but after reading a book, I lost 85 pounds! Words can not express how good I feel! This is a comment which I recently received about the book Lose Weight Using Four Easy Steps

  2. Melissa…Courtney and the Risner both have a co-op childcare service where everyone shares duties and then has their own time to privately work out. You can check into that service by contacting those fitness centers. Kadena has a parent/children room which kids under a certain age can go and hang out in with you while you work out. It’s divided and there are a few cardio machines in there, a tv and a few toys for the kiddos. You just have to sign in and out at the front desk. I think the age is for kids under either 9 or 10. I just can’t remember. But, it’s a great option for a little gym time. I highly recommend as well. I love that site. It makes tracking everything so much easier and has excellent info on it everywhere you look. There are healthy recipes, articles, blogs, etc. I love the recipe calculator on the spark recipe site. I’ve been in the process of re-working old family recipes for about 6 months now using it. I had no idea how many calories were even in some of the stuff I was making before. It was eye-opening to say the least!:) I hope the site never starts charging for it’s service. It’s amazing and it’s great that anyone can use it.

  3. honestly I didn’t read all those comments, I work out regularly both on my own and with Stroller Strides and I honestly prefer the group work out because I get just as much work out and an hour of socializing too. just a thought

  4. Athleticgirl has hit the nail on the head with her comments. Pedometers can be picked up in the “Four Seasons” section of the PX/BX inexpensively. You don’t have to go whole hog and get a pricey one to still have the benefit of knowing your step count for a walk or for the day; there are some for every budget these days. If a reader has an iPod Nano, there’s actually a pedometer built in (go into your menu and into the fitness option) – whenever you sync your iPod it can automatically send your records to Nike to track it for you if you like. (I just got one for Christmas and was shocked to find that!)

    For those rainy days, there are also walking videos – personally I prefer Leslie Sansone’s DVDs. Some of the libraries might have them but you can also get them at a good price over on Foster Library has a fairly decent range of DVDs for workouts – everything from walking to yoga to Tae Bo and more, even some pre and post-natal DVDs for the new and expectant moms in the mix. (Be sure you get your OB or midwife’s OK before starting an exercise routine though – safety first!)

    I have been “skinny fat” all my life and during my hubby’s recent deployment took the opportunity to change my ways. For a couple hundred bucks I was able to put together quite the workout area in our house because I prefer to do my exercising alone when the kids are in bed, but some folks will need the motivation of the gym facilities, or will prefer to be outdoors hiking, biking, or scubadiving. It just took a few steady weeks of working out and I started to feel the results (health-wise and strength-wise) and I was hooked – now I’m in school to become a certified fitness trainer. (Sounds like Athleticgirl knows that drill! *grin*)

    If resolutions are what gets you started, that is AWESOME – but to keep going, check out some books about eating clean, get your family involved, and try to figure out a way to make the workouts suit your lifestyle and schedule. One of my neighbors rides bikes to school with her kids, then rides a few extra loops after they are dropped off before she comes home. Some of us enjoy the camaraderie of walking together, others will dig the Stroller Strides program (no childcare necessary – your baby is in the stroller with you, and as you get stronger and more fit, your baby is growing and challenging you with more weight to push!) My kids even challenge me at home – my daughter saw me doing deadlifts of the laundry basket one day when I was just starting out, and asked if I could lift her little brother in it. I couldn’t at first, but as time has gone on, now I can – and I’ve even worked my way up to being able to lift her – an eight year old!

    If you must, start out with walking to and from the front door. If you’re in one of the townhouse style units, you’ve got your own Stairmaster built right in. One step at a time and before you know it you’ll be doing intervals like Athleticgirl described – Okinawa’s a beautiful place to get fit and bikini season lasts a lot longer than in many US states, so we’ve got some great motivators around here – you can show off your buff new bod anytime. 😉

  5. Athleticgirl I have to tell you that I hope all of our readers click on the comments and read the information you posted above. You hit on some great topics: take it slow, plan carefully, utilize your resources, do it the smart way, it takes time, etc. I really think if everyone who made losing weight a New Year Resolution followed your advice there would be a lot more people actually succeed. Thanks for the tips and the information, I know I appreciated it and I’m sure other will too!

  6. My sincere advice is to, first, gather the support of family and friends. Tell them how important it is for you to get healthy and ask them for encouragement.

    Second, depending on how overweight or out-of-shape you are, talk to your primary care provider and make a visit to the HAWC. Your doctor can give you healthy diet advice and the HAWC offers so many services-Most Health and Wellness Centers can even help you select the right kind of supportive athletic shoes for your foot.

    New Year’s resolution dieters/exercisers often fail because they irrationally throw themselves into diet and exercise. They want to start full-force and the result is total burn out. As an alternative to jumping right into the gym (where users really need to have a good knowledge of what each piece of equipment does for your body to get any benefit from it), try power walking. It’s easier to establish the habit of exercise via power walking because your workout is just beyond your front door. Walking is great here on Okinawa because the terrain is so varied. Maybe look into a pedometer that keeps track of how far you’ve walked or go to the track where the distance can be easily measured. Treadmills don’t offer as good of a workout but, if Okinawa has a rainy spell, it’s an alternative to walking in the great outdoors. After you’ve warmed-up to exercise, set increasingly harder goals for yourself. Mix running into the walking, etc.

    Finally, realize that miracles don’t happen overnight. Healthy weightloss takes months, sometimes years to accomplish and that depends on how much you need to lose. Remember that everyone is built differently.

    JaNae, I’ve been into sports and athletics ever since I was little. I was fortunate to have an active family, so exercise is second-nature for me. I decided to turn my passion into a career as an aerobics instructor.

  7. There is definitely a spike in gym attenders in January. Sadly, I think that the scenario you described is a fairly common occurrence although I am not sure if all January Gym newbie’s are a result of guilt and regret. You sound like you are a regular exerciser and have got a lot of drive and motivation. For the handful of January Newbies that really are trying to make a life long change, do you have any suggestions that they may use to not be discouraged, advice that could help them work towards real change in their life? How have you managed to continue to attend the gym after your first time going?

  8. I highly recommend that individuals NOT use a New Year’s resolution as their reason to lose weight. This is what happens: For six weeks after New Year’s, fitness centers everywhere are crowded, full of people who “resolved” to lose weight and get into shape. Then they all drop off the bandwagon and few, if any, continue on to get into shape. Don’t believe me? Ask anyone who is a regular at a fitness center.

    New Year’s resolutions are rarely made because of deep personal reflection, but rather guilt and regret (not a good way to start a huge commitment like exercising, modifying your diet, and getting into shape). Instead, set up an appointment with a health professional to help you set long-term, healthy goals for yourself.