January begins, New Yearâ€™s resolutions are made and traffic at local gyms increases enormously.
â€œParticipation doubles in January,â€ 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.
â€œTheyâ€™re thinking about springtime and wearing shorts and sleeveless tops and bathing suits â€” the whole nine yards,â€ 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.
â€œThe increased traffic, it just brings the place to a new level of energy,â€ said Ron Johnston, executive director of the Lincoln County Family YMCA.
At Fit Dimension, the added participation leads to friendly competition and support.
â€œI think itâ€™s great,â€ said Husband. â€œI think people inspire one another, and they get in here and start working out.â€
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.
â€œWe have a morning crew that has been with us since we opened,â€ said Johnston. â€œTheyâ€™re very, very committed. They have a relationship that goes beyond the exercise.â€
Johnston says January is â€œdefinitely (the YMCAâ€™s) biggest month.â€ While New Yearâ€™s resolutions account for some sign-ups, there is an added incentive â€” no signing fee.
Carole Cochrane, membership director at the YMCA, expects more than 300 people to join.
â€œWe break all the records,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™s like the biggest sale of the century.â€
People who enthusiastically join gyms in January, however, can quickly become disheartened.
â€œA lot of women who are overweight, they want instant results,â€ said Husband. â€œAnd we have to reeducate them. Itâ€™s not something that happens overnight.â€
Husband encourages these women to set realistic goals and not be too hard on themselves.
â€œIt basically is a lifestyle change. People have to realize they have to get themselves into the habit of exercising,â€ she said. â€œIt takes about 30 days for people to either break a habit or develop one.â€
Another factor is diet. Logging in time at the gym probably wonâ€™t create miraculous results on its own.
â€œIf people do the diet with the exercise, theyâ€™ll see great results,â€ said Stewart. â€œYou have to do both.â€
Husband notes another factor that helps those joining gyms in January stick with it throughout the year â€” self worth.
â€œThere has to be a certain degree of acceptance before they begin,â€ she said. â€œIf youâ€™re constantly putting yourself down, youâ€™re going to fail.â€
by Sarah Grano