Gyms pumped for onslaught of new members

Longtime exercisers ready to welcome recent converts who resolve to get fit

By Andy Matarrese, Columbian Breaking News Reporter

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Most of the racquetball courts, exercise machines and free-weight spots were unoccupied at Lake Shore Athletic Club Sunday afternoon, one of the few quiet days before the crush of new members, many trying to keep New Year’s resolutions, arrive.

Lynnial Trusty was just finishing with his workout, it was chest day, as part of staying in shape for his position with the Navy Reserve.

He’s been going to the club for four years, and each year there has been a rush of new faces.

“Oh man, it’s packed here,” said Trusty. “You either gotta get in here really early of be prepared to be around a whole lot of people.”

It can be a small challenge to get a set in come January.

“You’re fighting over what you want to do, and everybody has a routine, so then you gotta change your routine. Like many people, I don’t like changing my routine, if you have one.”

In 2013, the International Health, Racquet, & Sportsclub Association — the health club and gym trade group — said more than 12 percent of new gym memberships start in January.

Gold’s Gym told news outlets in 2016 that its traffic jumps 40 percent with the new year.

DJ Pasco, a supervisor at the club, said she has been seeing lots of people giving memberships as gifts, and others saying they plan to open a membership today, the first of the year.

The club added a new shift to help staff the front desk for the first few weeks of the year, she said, ahead of the all the new arrivals.

“Last year it was super busy for the first three weeks,” she said. “And then it kind of tapered off after that.”

Weight loss and fitness in general often top lists of peoples’ resolutions for the new year.

“Everyone comes in and they work out real hard for like a week or two, and then they’re like, oh, this is really hard, and then they just give up,” she said.

Trusty said he’ll switch to Crossfit training during the first several weeks of the new year. What keeps him coming is the fact the Navy will put him on a remedial fitness program if he doesn’t keep fit, and his family.

“I got kids, and I want to live as long as I can,” he said.

His advice for resolution keepers? Work with your limits.

“When your body says ‘stop,’ stop,” he said. “Some people think no pain, no gain, and that kind of stuff works really good when you’re young and you bounce back.”

After your mid-30s, maybe not so much. Few things can sap the motivation to exercise more than an injury.

“When you feel pain, stop.”

Keaton Wilbanks, another gym member, said his workout schedule usually means he avoids the rush no matter the time of year, but he’s happy to see them.

“A lot of people who are regulars at the gym, they love seeing more people improving their lives and making better choices and things like that,” he said.

The trick to making it a habit, he said, is some patience.

Ruth Clark has been going to the gym on and off for about 25 years, two of them at the Lakeshore club.

Typically, she said, the new crop of people peters out by around mid-February.

A lot of them are likely people who made resolutions, but the weather probably factors in as well, she said between stops on her workout machine circuit.

“It’s so dark and cold outside that it’s nice to come inside somewhere warm and exercise,” she said. “When the weather gets better I think people go back outside.”

She works out with her husband, and says that having a workout buddy is key to keeping up her exercise plan.

“Definitely have a buddy,” she said. “It gets you out here on days when you don’t feel like going, the other person gets you moving. Days when you want to go and they don’t, you get them moving.

“It kind of keeps you accountable to each other.”