Resolve to take baby steps to success


Have a little too much mashed potatoes and gravy over the holidays? Maybe too many hours in front of the television watching football instead of getting some exercise? According to, the most popular New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. The flip side of that is Time magazine’s online list of the “top 10 commonly broken New Year’s resolutions.” Topping the list, you guessed it: lose weight and get fit.

On the southern Kenai Peninsula, however, here are plenty of ways and plenty of support to turn that resolution into something that lasts a lifetime. 

“The biggest thing is to do something,” said Mary Jo Cambridge of Alaska Training Room. “Create some consistency in eating habits and workout habits. It’s can’t be something that’s faddy or the latest thing going on in Hollywood. It’s got to be something sustainable that you can do, a lifestyle change. Something realistic.”

Kellie Blue of the Bay Club has a similar message.

“I wish people would just quit beating up on themselves and make one or two changes a week, baby steps,” Blue said of starting small. “You want to make changes in a way that’s a total lifestyle change.”

As an example, Blue pointed to her 108-year-old grandmother.“Until she broke her hip a couple of years ago, she was walking three to five miles a day. She started out at age 90 with five miles and backed it down to three when she was 95,” said Blue.

Another key to a lasting lifestyle change is to enjoy what you’re doing.

“Maybe that should be the message: enjoy moving,” said Blue. “It should be fun. That and a clean diet and you’ve got it made.”  

Ex-Olympian Tela O’Donnell, who has designed Bay Club’s Fitness Camp 2014 to be offered Jan. 18-March 1, has included nutritional considerations in that program. 

“It’s not an eating-diet plan in the sense of restricting calories or tricks and gadgets, but a real plan about how you’re going to eat,” said O’Donnell.

“We’ll lay that out in a contract and work with each person individually to get a plan that will work for them.”

Frequently asked for diet tips, Chambers said it’s a matter of turning around a “living to eat” mentality to a “eating to live” frame of mind.

“You have to figure out what the body needs on a daily basis, not overeat, not binge and purge or starve,” said Chambers, who recommends viewing “Forks over Knives,” a 2011 documentary advocating a low-fat, whole-food, plant-based diet. 

“I used to be a person who absolutely loved to eat, but I was eating tons of meat, tons of dairy and it was terrible for my body,” said Chambers. “I think everyone has to get to a place where they’re eating small meals, more at the beginning of the day, less at night, and drinking lots of water.”

Following are some of the opportunities for Homer-area residents to raise their wellness quotient. There are activities for do-it-yourselfers  and those wanting a little help; sports to do on your own or with a trainer; events with flexible schedules and classes with set times; and fun to have indoors as well as out.


Alaska Training Room, 1067 Ocean Drive


Having begun offering supervised circuit training in June 2012, owner Mary Jo Cambridge has continued to add classes to meet the growing interest. 

“I’m trying to figure out what my next step is for my facilities,” said Cambridge. “I need a bigger place.”

The classes are taught in a group setting, with a focus on improving cardiovascular fitness and functional strength with locals’ lifestyles in mind. 

“We chop wood. We shovel snow. We ski. We swim. All of the stations are based on balance, coordination, core strength and posture. It’s all relatable,” said Cambridge. 

Class times are posted online and offer early as well as late-in-the-day flexibility to accommodate busy schedules. Cambridge’s clients range from 12 to 82 years old. Membership rates also are posted on the web.

Bay Club, 2395 Kachemak Drive


The Bay Club offers a full menu of fitness opportunities, including a heated pool, climbing wall, racquetball courts, aerobic rooms, cardio equipment, weight machines and free weights. The class schedule includes such areas as yoga, tai chi, Zumba, and aquatics programs. There are offerings for members, as well as non-members. Instructors match those just launching a fitness program with those who have been at it awhile.

“We have an open house on Jan. 18, in which there’ll be demos of all the classes,” said owner Kellie Blue.

The Bay Club Fitness Camp 2014 begins Jan 18, presented by Tela O’Donnell. It includes healthy eating habits, a fitness assessment, creating fitness programs and more.

“She’s an ex-Olympian and has a psychology degree and is combining that to help people start and initiate and maintain healthy exercise behaviors,” said Blue. 

City of Homer Community Recreation

Office located at Homer High School


Coordinator Mike Illg has created a program including ballroom dancing, Pilates, skiing and more. Office hours are noon-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, with the class schedule available online.

The annual ski and winter swap will be at the Homer High School commons, 5:30-7 p.m. Jan. 23, followed by the first night of the Telluride Mountainfilm show, at 7 p.m. in the Mariner Theatre. The second showing, with different films, is at Mariner Theatre at 7 p.m. Jan. 25. Admission is $10 per person, with tickets available at the Homer Bookstore and the Community Recreation Office.

Kachemak Bay Running Club, On Facebook

If you think running is a summer-only activity, visit the Kachemak Bay Running Club’s Facebook page to check out events like the Turkey Trot held the day after Thanksgiving.

A member of the Road Runners Club of America, the club promotes “activities, benefits and joys of running and walking for participants of all ages.”

Annual membership is $15 and the membership form can be found online at

Kachemak Nordic Ski Club

With a membership of about 300, Jan Spurkland, club president, said members range in age from 4 to 100. Trails include Baycrest, Roger’s Loop, Sunset off Diamond Ridge Road, McNeil Canyon, Eveline State Park and Look Out Mountain Trails near Ohlson Mountain.

“Skiing is such a great sport because you can participate in it at your own skill level as well as what works for you,” said Spurkland. 

An events calendar and membership information are available online. The junior Nordic program begins Jan. 11 for skiers 4-13 years of age. The annual Friday Night Lights ski is this Friday and Saturday, from 6-8 p.m. at the Roger’s Loop trailhead. Kids are free, adult members are $10, adult nonmembers are $20. It is weather dependent. Volunteer organizer Dave Brann stressed that pets be left at home and that participants — skiers and snowshoers — bring headlamps if possible.

Kachemak Ski Club, Ohlson Mountain Road

235-7669 (SNOW)

Facebook: Homer Rope Tow

Randy Wiest, club president, said a pre-Christmas work party has the rope tow ready to go. The only thing missing: another foot of snow. Season memberships are available, with lift rates $10 per day for adults and $5 for students. 

“We haven’t raised our rates in more than a decade. It’s almost like giving away the skiing experience,” said Wiest. “We just want people to come up and enjoy it.”

The club has approximately 100 members. The Ohlson Mountain run measures about 900 feet with a 300-foot drop and eight to 10 trails from the top to the bottom. During the 2012-2013 season, the tow was open 22 days. Skiing usually begins around New Year’s and sometimes continues to Memorial Day.

This year, Jake Worsfold will teach snowboarding beginning around Feb. 1. The cost is the lift ticket for the day.

Kate Kuhns Aquatic Center, Homer High School


The 25-yard, six-lane pool offers both a high and low dive, has handicap accessibility, a shallow-end splash slide and aqua fitness equipment. It is open year-round and has a water temperature in the 80s. The pool is currently closed for installation of a new filtration system and will reopen Jan. 6. A schedule can be found on the pool’s web page. Admission fees also are posted online for individual visits and plunge cards good for 20 visits.

Kevin Bell Arena, Homer Spit


For winter fun that’s indoors, consider lacing on a pair of skates — either your own or rental skates available at the rink — and take to the ice. Families and friends have turned out for Friday night skating, with the lights are turned down and the music turned up. Classes for all ages, open skate times and a busy hockey season keep the arena busy. 
See the online schedule for a time and activity that fits.