Resolutions cause gym attendance to rise in January

By Rose Schneider

With the new year comes many promises and updated personal goals. One of the most commonly shared seasonal ambitions is to get in shape.

Gyms and fitness centers across Manhattan have seen a rise in memberships since Jan 1. However, operators of the gyms add that they have also seen a variation in the people who are utilizing them. This is partially due to how each gym has marketed itself for the new year.

Wildcat Creek Golf & Fitness has had many families with parents in their 30s, 40s and 50s join. They’ve been running specials to encourage that type of enrollment.

“There has been a little influx so far,” Wildcat Creek personal trainer Andy Dervin said. “Near the end of January we see a significant rise in personal training.”

The university fitness center also sees a yearly increase in January’s activity.

“Historically, the month of January is the shortest month students are on campus but it is the busiest month,” said Clint Hafliger, associate director of facilities at Kansas State University.

Over the last five years the Peters Recreation Complex at K-State has seen an average of 3,000 students and faculty each weekday during the first two weeks in January, even though classes are not in session.

Hafliger has been at K-State for seven years and has seen the rise in January usage.

“It’s a very common New Year’s resolution; everyone wants to get in shape,” said Hafliger. For K-State, each year the increase in gym use holds until Valentines Day, then drops back down to normal, which is roughly 2,000 entries per day. It stays that way until early March when use rises, fluctuating between 2,600 to 2,800 people a day in preparation for spring break.

The university rec expansion project will open in late January. Megan Clark, K-State assistant director of fitness, anticipates new construction will help gym members stay in shape throughout the year because the building will have more room for fitness workshops and health orientated activities.

Many students choose to work out off campus, even though the university gives a free gym membership when someone is enrolled in six or more credits. In January, Manhattan’s Pro Fitness sees a rise in memberships of individuals in their 20s. That occurs again in February after financial aid comes through.

“People want to start the year off right,” Pro Fitness attendant Ryan Colvin said.

He said the majority so far have been males “who are looking to maintain their shape and progress forward from goals set in 2012 into this year.”

Colvin said more females use personal training services than males.

“About 50 percent of individuals stick to their resolution program for the rest of the year,” Colvin said.

For Max Fitness, January brings in new gym members ranging in age from teens to 90-year-olds.

“We try to fight the resolution fad,” said Max Fitness general manager Casey Matthiesen. “Working out is not something to do for three to six weeks, it is a lifestyle choice.”

Regardless of what gym is chosen, experts say it’s important to choose one that is right for you.

“Different people work at and need different fitness levels,” said Kevin Fately, president and owner of Wildcat Creek. “Individuals need programs that cater to their own speeds.”

Anytime Fitness employee Haley Meeks said that business sees a 50 percent increase in the first week of January, “however it usually will thin out within a month of they’re not regulars.”

One thing each gym stressed was the importance of being comfortable with the program to ensure each person achieves their goal; whether it’s gaining or losing weight, gaining muscle or simply getting toned. Knowing your goal will help you to succeed in 2013 to become a healthy gym regular, not another failed statistic.

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