Before New Year's resolutions are dashed and discarded, consider Michelle Artist.
She's planning to tackle a relay race across the state of Iowa in the summer. A 340-mile race. Over three days. From Sioux City to Dubuque.
If you goWhat: Appreciation Fitness Days Open House, offering free exercise classes, personal training sessions, child care and use of cardio and resistance equipment
When: Saturday, Jan. 7 through Monday, Jan. 9
Where: Wheaton Park District's Parks Plus Fitness Center, 1777 S. Blanchard Road
Info: (630) 871-6713 or www.parksplusfitness.com
Why would she do that?
She claims it's fun.
But her real motivation lies in a moment when doctors feverishly worked to resuscitate her.
The Wheaton woman lost consciousness after losing over two liters of her blood during labor four years ago.
Most patients rarely survive that level of physical trauma.
But Artist's rigorous fitness routines saved her life, doctors told her after successfully delivering her fourth child.
"My body was able to tolerate it," Artist said.
Her survival reminds her to continue pushing herself during her workout regimens. As a personal trainer at the Wheaton Park District's Parks Plus Fitness Center, she's also pushing her clients in her "Fun with Michelle" boot-camp class.
It all started with a group of women looking for a healthier lifestyle.
"They're up for anything," Artist said.
So much so that they shove Artist's car in the fitness center's parking lot during classes. They run and perform lunges in nearby Seven Gables Park. And they haul tires.
For the past six years, Artist has marveled at the physical transformations at the fitness center: from breast cancer patients gaining more energy to one man's 50-pound weight loss. And lots of dropped pant sizes.
Her basic boot camp class will be one of several free exercise classes available at the fitness center Saturday, Jan. 7, through Monday, Jan. 9. It's an event designed to encourage locals to stick with those lofty New Year's resolutions.
On Jan. 7 and 8, visitors can receive free sessions with personal trainers. The weekend also will feature free use of the cardio and resistance equipment, including new treadmills and elliptical machines installed this week, said Jen Saylor, the fitness center's assistant manager.
For parents, the fitness center will offer free child care while they exercise for some of the group classes and personal training sessions.
And the goal?
"You'll feel better about yourself," Saylor said.
For a full schedule, visit www.parksplusfitness.com or call (630) 871-6713.
5 quick tips for getting in shape
Personal trainer Michelle Artist offers five tips for getting in shape:
---- 2. Speak with a professional about tailoring your fitness and diet routines to your physical body and needs.
---- 3. Delete one unhealthy food choice from your diet once a month.
---- 4. Schedule and record fitness and diet regimens.
---- 5. Encourage and motivate yourself daily.