New Year’s resolutions seldom stick. How can a longing for fitness become a lasting lifestyle change?

Local fitness trainers say the answer lies in employing a good coach who will not only offer encouragement and accountability but also will keep workouts fresh and interesting.This could be a personal trainer, who may come to a client’s home or community fitness center, or it could be an expert trainer at a local gym.

“Many people make a resolution, and by the end of January, they’re already bored of it,” says Estero personal trainer Kari DiPaolo. “Having a personal trainer is going to keep it exciting and fun and get you results more quickly.”

Often, people don’t know how to make a systematic plan for weight loss and strength training, DiPaolo says. They fall into doing the same exercises every time they visit the gym. This results in some initial weight loss and then a discouraging plateau as the body adjusts to the workout.

“It’s not as easy as you think to join a gym and try to lose weight,” adds DiPaolo, who has been coaching clients in healthy lifestyles for about 20 years. “I’m a very big believer in a systematic approach to training.”

DiPaolo often works with clients from her “home base” at Snap Fitness. Although one of the gym’s selling points is 24-hour access, DiPaolo doesn’t recommend beginners go it alone.

Along with the likelihood of losing resolve, workout newbies also may injure themselves. She compares joining a gym without a trainer to racing down a Black Diamond slope the first time you put on a pair of snow skis.

Estero resident Whitney Wolfe recently signed up for Boot Camp at The Training Box, Home of CrossFit Estero. She knew she wasn’t ready for lifting heavy barbells or flipping tractor tires, but the Boot Camp program allows her to do strength conditioning on an entry level. Coached by gym co-owner Marcus Watts, Boot Camp offers professional training in a community atmosphere.

“I’ve done a lot of working out on my own, but I thought this was something that would push me more,” Wolfe explains. “The people are so nice here; the community is amazing.”

It’s that sense of community which motivates many CrossFit enthusiasts to come out to classes each week. Christianna Ziccardi, a biology major at Florida Gulf Coast University, was an athlete in high school and says she missed the energy of participating in team sports. In CrossFit, participants are only competing against their own records; however, the program has a team feel. Everyone cheers when one member achieves a goal.

“The community energizes you to come, and your friends keep you accountable,” Ziccardi says.

Despite CrossFit’s image as being extreme fitness, Training Box is a place for “regular people,” adds Watts. To make the gym less intimidating, the owners are in the process of changing its name to Evolved Fitness. They don’t want to scare away beginners who may want to start with Boot Camp or other trainer-directed fitness classes.

“Anyone can come in off the street and do the boot camp program,” assures Watts, an extremely tall and jovial coach who played collegiate basketball for FGCU and professionally overseas. “We don’t want anyone to be intimidated. We just wanted to offer more — more classes, more community, more equipment, more space and more for all levels.”

Lexi Lopez, who joined Boot Camp last month, says she’s loving it: “I work my a** off! It’s like you have a personal trainer, and it’s affordable. You will never get this by yourself.”

Whether fitness seekers join a gym or work one-on-one with a trainer, the key to success is maintaining enthusiasm through a supportive, professionally led program. In the longterm, results come from healthy lifestyle changes, not from annual resolutions.

Estero Fitness Facilities

CrossFit Estero/The Training Box

17011 Alico Commerce Ct., Suite 508, Ft. Myers


Don’t let the name scare you. CrossFit promises “no egos or judgement,” just a community of fitness enthusiasts who like a good challenge. Soon be known as Evolved Fitness, this gym will continue to be the home of CrossFit Estero, but it also offers boot camps and other classes for those who aren’t into pumping iron and hauling tires.

Pure Barre

21740 S. Tamiami Trail, Suite 113


Strength and definition is what it’s all about at Pure Barre, where workouts involve small, isometric movements. Don’t let that fool you into thinking this is easy! Pure Barre is designed for women of all ages and offers sweat-inducing, “boutique-style” workouts with small class sizes and a retail store with high-fashion workout wear. The slogan: “See you at the Barre!”

Snap Fitness

20041 St. Tamiami Trail, Estero


Located near the Estero Walmart, Snap Fitness offers memberships with no contracts, high-quality equipment and 24/7 access at any Snap Fitness location worldwide. This is good for frequent travelers or people with crazy schedules. Personal Trainer Kari DiPaolo runs about 50 percent of her business out of the Estero Snap Fitness, while the other 50 percent consists of visiting clients in their homes or community clubhouse facilities. Contact DiPaolo at (203)913-9427 for more information.

West Coast Fitness & MMA

8121 Rosie’s Ct., Estero (Broadway Avenue and U.S. 41)


This martial arts based fitness program offers an upbeat atmosphere with professional coaches. “Fitness Cross Training” classes use plyometric, gymnastic and yoga moves to help clients tone up and lose body fat. Novices, intermediates and pros can all take the same classes, ramping up intensity based on personal goals. A weight loss program is specifically designed for women, while the strength program emphasizes proper form and correct mechanics.

Other Area Gyms:

  • Anytime Fitness, Bonita Springs – 239.494.1427
  • Around the Clock Fitness, Ft.  Myers – 239.243.8142
  • LA Fitness, Gulf Coast Town Center – 239.344.9600
  • Planet Fitness, Ft. Myers – 239.466.5391

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