Along with the New Year come New Year's resolutions.
The No. 1 resolution made by Americans this year is to lose weight. (Of course, these are the same Americans who made losing weight their No. 1 resolution last year!)
Being one of those Americans, I decided to seek the advice of a professional.
In a rigorous finger workout, I came across Mark Russo at www.numberonetrainer.com. With more than 80 hits a day, this Web site is AOL's No. 1 most-visited site in the world for weight-training.
"That's impressive," I think while my fingers go into cool-down mode.
Perusing the site, I read that this fitness plan will "show you exactly how to develop a dynamic body with no wasted effort."
The "no wasted effort" part sounded good to me. I have experienced the much pain, no gain workout syndrome before.
Reading on, I am promised that this program "works wonders for beginners and seasoned veterans in a very reasonable amount of time each week."
A double bingo for me! For beginners with a reasonable amount of time. This could be my year!
Surprise: Like every year with this resolution, my intentions are good, my effort is lacking. Then I learned that Mark Russo is from Boardman.
My innocent finger workout had tapped me into a proverbial fitness corner. It was almost too much for my cardiovascular system.
Relying on the culprits that had put me in this position, my fingers dialed the phone.
The voice on the other end boomed with enthusiasm. "This can work for you!" the voice proclaimed.
When I met Mark Russo, I realized his enthusiasm matches his biceps.
This 26-year-old has taken his interest in weightlifting and turned it into a bodybuilding science.
"It all started when I was 12," he explains. "My dad gave me a set of weights."
Immediately, Mark knew he had found his love.
Learning from mistakes: "I did a lot of things wrong," he confesses. But it was his mistakes that prompted him to research the error of his ways.
He talked with doctors, massage therapists and chiropractors. "They explained a lot about stretching," Mark recalls. "But nobody ever stretched."
Mark studied every muscle group in the body and the corresponding stretching exercise.
"I was getting stronger, and I was not sore," he says. That's when he realized improving his workout didn't necessarily mean working harder.
Mark continued his study of the human body and made other discoveries. He developed a program, for which he is living proof, involving five phases of workout.
Fueling up: "Diet is very important," Mark says. His "Creating a Dynamic Body" workout book explains in detail the keys to a healthful diet.
He warns readers that "fad, unbalanced diets are fraught with danger and result in you playing plant manager with the most complicated chemical/biological plant in the universe -- your body!"
"Creating a Dynamic Body" then shares the information Mark has researched about stretching, weightlifting and cardiovascular exercise.
Finally, he explains a novel concept to me. "Working out breaks down muscle tissue," he explains. "Rest builds up the muscle and enables you to perform really well the next time you go to the gym."
"You mean I don't have to take up residence at a gym to have a great body?" I ask in amazement.
His great, hulking arms on his hips, Mark laughs. (His arms don't jiggle when he laughs.) "You don't need to spend your whole life at the gym to get the body you want," he reassures me.
I think this year, more than my fingers are going to get a workout.
Who knows, I may even have a new No. 1 resolution next year! If the visits to Mark's Web site are any indication, other Americans will be resolving anew next year too!
XFor more information about Mark Russo's fitness program, go to www.numberonetrainer.com.