Sun Sailor Newspaper
New Year, New You
By Paul Wahl. Tom Lybeck has seen it before. The year dawns and people begin looking for ways to fulfill their New Year's resolution to lose weight and get in shape. Lybeck, fitness sales director for STEELE Fitness, said the key is to change your lifestyle and think long-term, rather than trying to undo years of inactivity in a few months. "Don't try to change the world in day," said Lybeck, 31, a Golden Valley resident and native of Fargo, N.D. "Set simple goals that can be acheived, create success adn build on that success." It takes commitment. "Schedule your workout on your calendar just as you would any other important appointment in your day," said Lybeck, who has been with STEELE for secen years. "Too often, other things win out over working out and that can be a big downfall."

Over the years, the focus of fitness has changed, Lybeck believes. The idea is no longer to train to ultra-train or train to run triathlons but to be more healthy and have enough energy to keep up with grandchildren. Babyboomers are impacting the fitness industry. Although clients come as young as eight and as old as 90, those in the 40-60 age range are most common at STEELE, nearly evenly split between men and women. "Maintaining their quality of life as long as they can in important to them,"Lybeck said.

Lybeck, who is 6-3 and played college basketball for the Concordia Cobbers in Moorehead, believes exercises that use a person's body weight for resistance, such as planks, pushups, squats and lunges. If you are hooked on machines, no problem. Advancements in fitness equipment have been steady, Lybeck says. One piece of equipment manufactured by Wisconsin-based Matrix Fitness offers users the opportunity to perform exercises that bulid specific muscles for individual sports such as golf and rock climbing. "Elliptical machines have come a long way," Lybeck said. "The older models you could just go forward, but the newser ones can work side to side and you can turn it into more of a stair-climbing motion." Even treadmills now come equipped with video monitors that simulare running along wooded paths or nature trails.

Another key is to incorporate variety to keep the body guessing. "You don't want to be doing the same old stale routine every day," said Lybeck, who holds degrees in exercise science and another in business. "Variety is a big part of the mental piece of fitness."

STEELE, which has locations in Excelsior, Wayzata, Edina, Minneapolis and St. Paul, underwent some of its own in 2013. The company was purchased by Snap Fitnes in September. STEELE is what is known in the industry as a "boutique" operation, which specializes in individual fitness instruction and training. Snap Fitness is one of the world's fastest growing franchisors of 24-hour express fitness centers.

Some changes have already taken place. The Excelsior center is now open 365 days-a-year where previously it was open for training appointments only. Snap Fitness plans to incorporate STEELE's training business into its clubs in Minnesota first and then expand nationally this coming year.

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