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Fitness centers make health a habit
Memberships rise with start of new year
Gym WEB 1
Brandon Allen, left, runs on a treadmill at Gold's Gym. - photo by Autumn Vetter

Chris Wyke works out five or six days a week at Anytime Fitness on Freedom Parkway.

“I do it all,” he said, while adding 25-pound weights to a squat machine Tuesday. “Some days I do weights, some days I do things to improve my speed, some days cardio.”

Starting next week, Wyke likely will be joined by many more in their own personal quests to get in shape.

The new year, with its resolutions often centering around losing weight and getting into better shape, makes this an especially busy time for local fitness centers.

Paul Grimm, who runs the personal training program at Anytime Fitness, said the gym’s new member sign-ups typically triple in January compared to any other month.

“After the new year there’s always a huge number of people thinking about losing weight and getting healthy,” Grimm said. “This is the biggest time of year for the fitness industry.”

Jared Pirtle, general manager of BodyPlex on Bethelview Road, agreed.

“January is the No. 1 month and February is the second biggest month for new memberships,” Pirtle said. “Our new memberships are more than double what they are the rest of the year.”

Pirtle said many of those new members will stick around for the entire year, while others won’t.

“About one-third of them will only use the first 90 days of their membership,” he said. “But overall, our attrition rate is pretty good. Throughout the year we have about two and half new member sign-ups for every cancelation.”

At Gold’s Gym in Cumming’s Tri County Plaza, owner Tiffani Hartley hopes to inspire endurance through a special program.

She said the gym will offer a 12-week challenge beginning Jan. 9.

“It’s a great way to start the new year,” Hartley said. “We welcome the whole community to participate whether they are Gold’s members or not.”

Hartley said the challenge is for anyone with any fitness goal.

“It could be losing weight from the holidays, getting ready for a marathon or someone just wanting to get off medications,” Hartley said.

At Anytime Fitness, Grimm hopes to retain new members through personal training.

“Most people who try to go it on their own will start, then stop, then start back,” he said. “If they get into the personal training, they’re about 90 percent more likely to stick with it consistently.”

He noted that the personal approach is important to know what works.

“One thing that works for one person may not work for someone else since everyone’s different,” he said.

Hartley said often people will get in a workout rut.

“People come in and do the same exercises over and over again, and when they don’t see results they give up,” she said.

“That’s why we try to offer a lot for them, whether it’s new [exercise] classes or nutrition information.”
Pirtle said people can give up for a variety of reasons.

“They might not see the results they would like as fast as they would like, or they just don’t stay motivated, or they have very busy schedules,” he said, noting BodyPlex tries to offer variety to keep members coming back.

“We’ve added some new programs and some new equipment. We’re excited for the new year.”

As for Wyke, he’ll maintain his fitness routine even if some new members won’t.

“I’ll see a lot of them in here in January,” Wyke said. “They’ll stay for a month or two and then most of them will be gone.”