New year means new focus on fitness for some


At A|M Fitness on West Main Street recently, Cheyenne O’Donnell works on getting in shape.
Local gyms are preparing for an influx of new customers to coincide with the New Year and are hoping they can keep everyone committed to a healthier lifestyle.
“The New Year is always the busiest time for us,” said Elisabeth Roberge, owner of Fitness XPlosion in Plainville. “Everyone wants to get in shape but that dies down. We want people to know that healthy living is a year-round choice, not just for a certain time of the year.”
Many of the “resolutions” that come with the arrival of Jan. 1 have to do with losing weight and getting in better physical condition. Consequently, gyms see a rush of new members. However, getting them to stick with it is the challenge.
“We definitely see a spike in member traffic and that continues into February,” said Kurt Lindboom-Broberg, a trainer at Cardio Express in Southington. “A good number of them make it a habit, but the majority usually leave after anywhere from a week to three months.”
When the holiday season ends, busy work schedules resume and this can often compel someone to abandon the New Year’s resolution. Lindbloom-Broberg said that for many people, only a small amount of free time is available each day and they want to devote that time to something more relaxing. Other times, the amount of work required to lose a significant amount of weight simply becomes too daunting.
“The size of the task they’re looking at can be intimidating,” Lindboom-Broberg said. “They think of losing something like 50 pounds all at once rather than breaking it down. We try to tell them not to focus on that absolute number.”
Gyms have noticed this pattern over the years and often cater to newcomers with specific classes or special events. Roberge said that her gym tries to keep things interesting for newcomers by having a wide variety of workouts and scheduling good-natured competitions.
“We always suggest having short-term goals,” she said. “Without that, it seems very difficult and people can get discouraged. Another important point is that it’s not just exercise that’s important, but your diet.”