A new year brings new goals: Working out on a budget

The new year is a time for reflection, growth and setting new goals. New Year’s resolutions vary from year to year, but each is personalized. Some are attainable like doing the dishes each night, while others are more hopeful with less practicality like winning the lottery. Despite the wide spectrum, there are a few resolutions that have stayed popular throughout the years.

According to a survey conducted in 2019 by international research data and analytics group YouGov, out of the United States citizens who make New Year’s resolutions, 50% commit to exercising more and 49% commit to saving money. 

Senior Sean Clark prefers to create more practical New Year’s resolutions that he can put into practice over a period of time. Clark said he tries to make a simple resolution each year so it is not too complicated. 

“I usually try to make one simple resolution or just something that I can work on,” Clark said. 

Clark previously contracted COVID-19 and decided to use his New Year’s resolution to kickstart the return to his typical fitness regime.

“I recently got over COVID, and the biggest thing about COVID is that it kind of wrecks you energy-wise, so getting your energy back up is very vital,” Clark said.

The statewide restrictions of the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) limit the potential for indoor gyms and fitness centers to reopen, causing individuals to adapt to new workout conditions. 

Clark intends to use Planet Fitness as his main source of exercise in the new year for a variety of reasons. Due to Flagstaff’s transmission rates, gyms are allowed to operate if they follow AZDHS guidelines. 

He said Planet Fitness is a cheap option and the basic $10 plan allows members to utilize a bunch of different machines that cover almost every muscle group.  

 Clark was especially passionate when stating the high cost of having an at-home gym. He compared the price of a $20 free weight to the $10 monthly membership at Planet Fitness. Clark said he believes the better deal is to simply pay for a gym membership instead of buying free weights individually.

Sophomore Holly Hansen has consistently made New Year’s resolutions since the beginning of high school.

Hansen said she plans on being consistent with her resolutions throughout the year. She said she likes to think of resolutions as ways to build new habits into everyday life, which helps her implement them in the coming months. 

If some resolutions are not upheld for the entirety of the year, that is OK with Hansen. She explained that if her resolution made her better, then she is accomplishing the ultimate objective. 

“I know I’m growing, even though I might not be achieving a specific goal,” Hansen said. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, NAU’s Campus Recreation has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic, forcing students to find other ways to exercise. 

Since Clark lives off campus he said he plans to use an off-campus gym, so the closure of  Campus Recreation does not affect him. However, he said if he was still living on campus he would have a different response. Clark said if Campus Recreation had closed during his first three semesters at NAU before he had a car, he would have had to rely on running around campus for exercise. 

Hansen agrees with Clark that the closure of Campus Recreation is an inconvenience. Hansen said she had a whole plan laid out for living off campus this year that relied on the Health and Learning Center (HLC) being open. She said she planned to wake up at 6 a.m., go to the HLC, do a two-hour workout, come home, shower and go to class. 

Campus Recreation has tried to adapt to these unfortunate circumstances, and assistant director Paul Rehn said Campus Recreation is working to determine how to open the facilities in the safest manner possible.

“As we receive new information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state/local authorities and campus partners, we’re making adjustments to our response and opening timelines,” Rehn said via email. “Once we’ve established an official reopening date, we’ll be updating our website and social channels.

As of January, Campus Recreation allows students to reserve time slots at the South Fields Complex. This facility was closed for the winter session but will reopen Jan. 25. Students can reserve their time slot on Campus Recreation’s online portal

Hansen said she has thought about going to reserve a time slot, but she would rather go on her own time. 

Rehn said when the facilities eventually reopen, students can expect to see enhanced cleaning protocols, an additional separation between machines and the continuation of reserving workout times.

As college students, saving money and budgeting is a large part of life. Hansen said the cost of a gym is a huge factor in picking one out, and Clark said he has plans to get a part-time job to help pay for his additional finances.

Hansen’s workout routine involves deadlifting, which makes it harder for her to find a gym that has those capabilities. 

“I was really counting on going to the HLC to work out because I lived in the Honors College last year and they had [a fitness center], which was super nice,” Hansen said. “Since I don’t have a lot of weights or anything at home, it’s been kind of difficult for me to work out.”

Clark said finding fitness centers that have flexible hours is another obstacle he has to overcome. 

“There are a lot of great aspects of my apartment gym, but it’s just because of COVID that it isn’t 24 hours like it usually would be,” Clark said.

However, Campus Recreation has made strides to incorporate exercise into the virtual space and be more accessible to everyone. Rehn explained that Campus Recreation is offering virtual fitness opportunities, including Zoom classes and YouTube videos which will be available throughout the semester.

Rehn said NAU’s Wall Aquatic Center and Recreation Center tend to see an increase in visitor participation at the beginning of the semester and at the eight-week mark. 

As students transition back into the routine of college life, individuals will have to be creative to find new ways to exercise while staying safe and simultaneously saving money. Through the pandemic there are still those who make both practical and hopeful resolutions, and those who are willing to put strength behind their goals.