It's that time of year.

For a regular gym-goer like myself, I am not looking forward to it in the slightest. I go to a pretty popular gym already, where a lot of the free weights, squat racks, and machines, etc., are frequently taken.

YES, please get fit. We need more physical health in this country. Just don't take my machine.

Here are some of the best places you can shed those extra pounds in 2022.

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I'm 25, and I weigh more than I ever have. Granted, I'm 5'9 and 160 pounds of mostly muscle, but it's still true.

As a former Division I track athlete at UNI, I used to be skinny. My mom found a photo of me the other day from 2016 (when I had recently decided to quit track), and she said I looked like a little boy compared to what I do now.

At my peak track performance, I weighed 140 pounds. I mean, look at this picture my mom got of me during a run my senior year of high school:

Kathy Campbell
Kathy Campbell

Though I looked similar during my best days of running, this was before I even got particularly good at running track. I always ran distance, cross country athletes in Iowa run 5 kilometers or 3.1 miles. In track, I usually ran the 800-meter race. Prior to this picture being taken and my senior track season, my PR was 2:02. I also ran some 400s here and there, with my fastest open 400 being 54 seconds. I also ran a 52 second split in a 4x400 relay.

By a few weeks into the track season, after a generous amount of weight lifting over the winter (6 AM sessions on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings with a local sports chiropractor) we finally found out I should've been a sprinter all along.

At the end of the season, I finished with PRs of 11.25 seconds in the 100 (10th in 2A), 22.9 seconds in the 200 (would've been top 16), 49.22 seconds in the 400 (ran slower at the state meet, placed 4th), and 1:58 in the 800 (would've been top eight).

Here's a clip of me qualifying for the state meet in the 400 (and running 49.57), and breaking the then-school record of 49.72, set by former track and football athlete at Iowa State, Trever Ryen.

That, along with a regimented plan for stretching and mobility to stay healthy, brought the best years of my life in fitness and running.

I'm very grateful for those formative years of hard work and dedication to a sport I loved.

Shoutout to my parents, coaches, and Jamie Whitmer (aforementioned sports chiropractor) for getting me there.

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Maybe you cruise Craigslist from time to time, or maybe you haven't been on the page in about a decade. Either way, the "free" page is still alive and well. Here are some of the BEST free items you'll find right now on the Eastern Iowa Craigslist pages.

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