Gyms welcome newbies resolved to shed holiday pounds

If you added weight over the holidays and are looking to atone, welcome to the club.
Activity at a Planet Fitness on Altamont Avenue in Rotterdam is seen on Tuesday.
Activity at a Planet Fitness on Altamont Avenue in Rotterdam is seen on Tuesday.
If you nibbled your way through the holidays and are now looking to atone, welcome to the club: the fitness club, that is.
Regulars at Capital Region gyms know the drill, once the feasts are over and the calendar flips. For the next couple of weeks, there will be more competition for equipment.
People show up at the gym with every intention of shedding their holiday baggage, or keeping New Year’s resolutions about becoming healthier.
The first couple of weeks in January are when gyms and fitness clubs become crowded with newbies. Other unfamiliar faces are members who haven’t been in awhile and return for at least a few sessions with a renewed commitment, though usually it doesn’t last.
“We absolutely have seen an increase in folks coming in and signing up for membership, and for folks who may not use the club much, coming in and renewing their interest,” said Matt Wilcox, regional director of marketing for Planet Fitness, a national fitness chain with 11 Capital Region locations.
The problem is, while improving health is among the most common New Year’s resolutions, most of these people won’t be back after just a week or two. Every year, that’s the way it goes.
Wilcox wouldn’t say how many of the people who give it a try are likely to be retained long-term, but he confirmed Planet Fitness tries to keep them. The secret: being non-judgmental and working with customers to figure out realistic goals that they actually have a chance to achieve.
“We do find that a lot of customers tell us they would not be a customer if not for a judgment-free factor inside our walls,” Wilcox said.
“We don’t define what is healthy for [an individual]; we try to help them define their goal, and any healthy goal is fine with us,” Wilcox said.
Vent Fitness, which has four Capital Region locations, tries to integrate new members quickly.
It has a “30-day success” program that includes an evaluation by a fitness professional and meetings with a personal trainer and nutritionist, a dozen workouts in 30 days and a small-group training session.
“The whole thing is designed to help people get something back within 30 days,” said Jermaine Wright, Vent’s marketing and promotions manager.
Both a “new year-new me” attitude and a desire to lose weight are factors in the annual January uptick, Wright said.
“This year, we’re running this campaign about Vent Fitness being the promise you can keep,” he said.
January is also the most popular month of the year for people to join a YMCA. There, officials also said the way to succeed in becoming more fit is to set realistic goals.
The YMCA’s recommendation: Start small. To go step-by-step: 1. Get a gym membership. 2. Go once or twice a week. 3. Develop a routine. Pro tip: Join with a friend and support each other.
The Capital Region YMCA is waiving its joiner’s fee between now and Jan. 15, and if two friends join, they can get a 20 percent discount on their memberships.

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