The January gym boom (and bust)
If you’re headed to the gym this month, you’re not alone.
Fitness centres across the city are reporting membership-sales increases and larger class sizes as Kamloopsians re-dedicate themselves to their fitness regimes or test out new ones as the calendar flips to a new year.
“I think our largest amount of new memberships come in January,” said Meghan Drew, manager of the North Shore YMCA-YWCA, who estimates between 300 and 400 new members sign up in the first month of the year.
Linda Stride, health and sport development supervisor for the city, reports a similar surge of interest at the Tournament Capital Centre, with memberships and drop-ins on the rise.
However, Stride said, the January gym boom doesn’t last through the winter for many.
“Generally speaking, the facility is busier for the next six weeks, then it starts to drop off,” she told KTW in an email.
“Similar to other fitness facilities, some people stick with their newly established routines while others [a large majority] drop off.”
At the Y, Drew said it’s also unlikely every new member will stick with their fitness plan.
“It depends, right?” she said. “There isn’t a large population, I think, that particularly likes to go to the gym and do a workout — like a walk on the treadmill or a weight-training workout. It’s a very small population.”
At Gold’s Gym on Laval Crescent in Sahali, personal trainer Sandra Labbe typically sees two types of people flock to the facility in the new year.
While the gym gets its fair share of fitness newbies, it also welcomes an influx of past members who have “fallen off the wagon.”
Labbe said those who are re-committing to a fitness plan tend to have the best luck sticking with it.
“If they’ve never actually done the gym thing before, it’s much harder because it’s so new, right?” she said.
“It’s definitely much more challenging if you throw yourself into something brand new.
At The Yoga Loft downtown on Seymour Street, owner Marcia Wilson said her four month-old studio was the busiest it’s been since she opened the day before she spoke to KTW.
While Wilson is planning a yoga challenge, where students commit to five weeks of three-, five-, or seven-day practices, she said she’s also taking steps to avoid the midwinter burnout.
“What’s really typical at this time of year is that people will set goals and they’ll move into something really, really gung-ho and then not be able to sustain that over time,” Wilson said.
“And, that’s a really typical New Year’s resolution manifestation.”
Wilson is encouraging her students to set realistic goals, even as they are challenging themselves.
“Seven day a week challenges, they’re hard,” she said.
“You have to give up a lot within the rest of your life to be able to accomplish those.”
Once the studio’s challenge ends, Wilson will encourage people to scale their yoga practice back about 25 per cent.
She recommends setting realistic limits — and challenging them every so often — regardless of the workout routine.
“I used to do a lot of triathlons and, when we planned our training year, we moved through cycles.
“You don’t just train all out all the time,” she said.
“You would move through these periods of time where you’d train more intensely and other times you might back off.”
For those headed to the gym for the first time, Drew and Labbe suggest taking some time to get to know the space before hitting the treadmill.
“A lot of gyms, and especially Gold’s, if you sign up, you get an hour with a personal trainer,” Labbe said.
“Don’t skip that.
“Do it, really do it, and talk with somebody about what your goals are and are they realistic or not and what you want from the gym.”
Drew also advises newcomers to investigate classes, which many gyms offer free or at reduced rates for members.
Bringing company can also improve your chances of sticking with a plan.
“Everything is so much better if you’ve got a buddy to hang with,” Labbe said.