Volume 92, Issue 56

Thursday, January, 1999

in the books


Shaping up the new year

Old habits die hard, no matter what the season

We resolve to...

...keep our resolutions

Shaping up the new year

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette

I'M GONNA JUMP MY WAY TO A NEW BODY. Aerobics classes at Campus Rec are busting at the seams as half the student population has resolved to finally get those buns of steel.

By Ciara Rickard

Gazette Staff

Watch out – here comes the annual new year's fitness club stampede. It's resolution time and, as usual, getting fit and losing weight is at the top of many people's lists. The aerobics classes are packed, the weight rooms are overflowing and staff at the gyms are reeling from the influx of new and old members, determined to get their bodies in shape.

"There's a general increase in the new year, in memberships and people who have had memberships all along, but haven't been using them in a while," says Tanya Facchin, a fitness trainer for Good Life Fitness. "For the first month there are some lines for machines and a little crowd control, but it's not too bad."

Most clubs have to step up their class sizes and the number of classes they hold to accommodate the increase in numbers. Facchin notes that the schedules are also reduced over the holidays as people are busy travelling, celebrating and eating, adding further motivation to getting in shape.

"We get about a 40 to 60 per cent increase [of people using the gym] in the new year," says Shelly Hansford, sales manager for Good Life Fitness. "There's also an increase in new members. In December we average about 45 new members per month and in January, about 130 new members per month."

The increase is spread over pretty much every aspect of the gym, Hansford says. The weight rooms, aerobics and fitness classes are all more crowded than usual. However, towards the end of March and the beginning of April, this increase in the fitness buffs dies out as people's resolutions die out.

"We can see it," Hansford says. "People start coming less and less and then they just don't stick to it."

Campus Recreation also sees an increase in people working out in January, as students rush down to the basement of the University Community Centre to work off the turkey, puddings and pies, as well as to reverse the effects of sitting for two weeks watching television.

"There usually is a major increase in January," says Michelle Drury, membership services assistant co-ordinator at Campus Recreation. "The only problem with the increase is congestion around the front door, counter and in the change rooms. Our peak time is around 4 or 5 p.m..

"There's a gradual drop in numbers from early February until slack week and after slack week it goes back to normal. It dwindles again during mid-terms and exams," Drury adds.

For those who desire an alternate route to exercise, the place to go is weight loss clinics. Determined to lose weight after the holiday binge, thousands of people head to Weight Watchers in the new year with goals of trimming down.

"People tend to flock in at the end of January," says Marguerite Neri, general manager for Weight Watchers in southern Ontario. "We usually find we'll end December with about eight or nine thousand members and by the end of January, we reach about 20,000."

Though the highest peak in membership is in late January, there are peaks and valleys throughout the year. Still, many people maintain their dedication while others tend to phase out.

Meeting sizes also increase. "We'll go from about 30 people to anywhere from 60 to 125 people in the class," Neri says.

Many people don't maintain their new year's resolutions past February or March, as discipline can be a near-impossibility when school work is piling up. So how do you get yourself to the gym often enough to see some results?

"Once you get into a routine, it's easy. It's when you keep breaking routine at the beginning that you fail," Hansford advises. "If you say you're going to work out three times a week, set up a schedule and stick to it. The first six weeks are crucial. If you're faithful, you'll succeed."

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