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New year sees gyms packed

January begins, New Year’s resolutions are made and traffic at local gyms increases enormously.
“Participation doubles in January,” said Chip Stewart, manager of All American Fitness in Lincolnton.
In fact, sign-ups continue to climb throughout March. After a definite lull during the holiday season, people are ready to take off holiday weight and prepare for bathing suit weather.
“They’re thinking about springtime and wearing shorts and sleeveless tops and bathing suits — the whole nine yards,” said Vikki Husband, owner of Fit Dimension, a women-only health club in Denver.
Increased traffic can be seen as a blessing or a curse for those who workout regularly. On one hand, it may be harder to use the equipment you want. On the other, extra people could spark enthusiasm to get fit.
“The increased traffic, it just brings the place to a new level of energy,” said Ron Johnston, executive director of the Lincoln County Family YMCA.
At Fit Dimension, the added participation leads to friendly competition and support.
“I think it’s great,” said Husband. “I think people inspire one another, and they get in here and start working out.”
Those who want to avoid busy times at gyms should try to go between 8 and 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 4:30 p.m.
At the YMCA, traffic is high between 5 and 7:30 p.m., but the busiest time is early in the morning from 5 to 7:30 a.m.
“We have a morning crew that has been with us since we opened,” said Johnston. “They’re very, very committed. They have a relationship that goes beyond the exercise.”
Johnston says January is “definitely (the YMCA’s) biggest month.” While New Year’s resolutions account for some sign-ups, there is an added incentive — no signing fee.
Carole Cochrane, membership director at the YMCA, expects more than 300 people to join.
“We break all the records,” she said. “It’s like the biggest sale of the century.”
People who enthusiastically join gyms in January, however, can quickly become disheartened.
“A lot of women who are overweight, they want instant results,” said Husband. “And we have to reeducate them. It’s not something that happens overnight.”
Husband encourages these women to set realistic goals and not be too hard on themselves.
“It basically is a lifestyle change. People have to realize they have to get themselves into the habit of exercising,” she said. “It takes about 30 days for people to either break a habit or develop one.”
Another factor is diet. Logging in time at the gym probably won’t create miraculous results on its own.
“If people do the diet with the exercise, they’ll see great results,” said Stewart. “You have to do both.”
Husband notes another factor that helps those joining gyms in January stick with it throughout the year — self worth.
“There has to be a certain degree of acceptance before they begin,” she said. “If you’re constantly putting yourself down, you’re going to fail.”
by Sarah Grano

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