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Groan. It's that time of year again.

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Old December 30th 04, 08:28 PM
Chuck Globe
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Default Groan. It's that time of year again.

Gyms await New Year's rush
But most resolutions to get in shape, lose weight don't last long

Thursday, December 30, 2004


Oh the horror. Here it is almost January, when everyone suddenly becomes an
exercise junkie.

A month ago you had the gym to yourself. You never had to wait for a
machine or circle the lot to park your car.

But next week, getting on a treadmill will be like waiting in line for
tickets to a Pixies show. The weight room will be as packed as a bar at
happy hour. So many people will be crammed into each lane at the pool you'd
think Sea World was holding tryouts.

It happens every New Year's Day. People resolve to lose weight or get in
shape and the next thing you know, the gym that you frequent a full four
seasons a year -- most of them in relative peace -- is bursting with

But fear not. According to a study by Rod Dishman, director of the Exercise
Psychology Laboratory at the University of Georgia, about half the people
who start an exercise program drop out within six months.

Larry Soriano said he's been noticing the New Year resolution phenomenon
every year since 1989, when he joined the Olympic Athletic Club in Ballard.

"I've been coming here pretty regularly -- winter, spring, summer and
fall," said Soriano, manager of a Ballard shipping company. "Boy, next week
it's gonna be double this."

For regular gym-goers, that means you may have to suffer a month or so of
overbooked spinning classes and bustling locker rooms, but the crowds will
eventually thin. Besides, you have reason to be thankful for those annual
exercise dropouts. If it weren't for them (and make sure you're not one of
them, hear?), your gym membership would cost a lot more. Most fitness
centers bank on a certain percentage of members not showing up regularly
when they recruit new clients.

"It's like an airline that oversells their seating and occasionally gets
caught with too many seats sold," said Richard Cotton, an exercise
physiologist in Carlsbad, Calif., and spokesman for the American Council on
Exercise. "It is the reality of the business that people don't stick with
their exercise programs."

Who will stick it out?

Bill Gardner used to work for Weight Watchers as a lecturer. He noticed
then that attendance more than doubled three times a year -- the week after
school started, when school ended for the summer, and just after New Year's

A regular gym-goer for the past nine years, he's learned to brace for an
influx of gym rookies every January.

"I don't want to sound mean or cruel, but it's kind of become sport because
the regulars expect it," he says. Yes, folks, gym regulars bet on which
rookies will stick with it and which ones they'll never see again. "I've
gotten pretty good at predicting just by looking at them."

Dead giveaways? Exercisers wearing new, color-coordinated outfits who are
going full throttle on the machines.

Not that Gardner minds the annual rush. "A couple of gyms I've gone to have
gone under financially, so I always like seeing people coming in and
supporting the gym," says Gardner, 52, director of corporate growth and
development at Advanced Micro Devices.

His advice to newbies? Keep expectations realistic. "It took a certain
amount of time to get you where you are, so give yourself that much time to
get back in shape," he says.

Arrange by priority the changes you want to make. Figure out what exercise
schedule works best for you. Consider a trainer if you need extra
motivation. (It works for Gardner, who says knowing someone is waiting for
him at the gym -- someone he has to pay -- keeps him dedicated.) And don't
overdo it when you get started.

"The mistakes I see people make are to trying to change everything all at
once," he says. "Come Jan. 1, it's, 'I'm not going to overeat, I'm never
going to have chocolate again, no alcohol, and I'm going to exercise six
days a week.' You know that's not going to happen for more than a day or

It's the regulars, too

It's not just new members who flood in after New Year's, said Mark Durall,
membership director for the Olympic Athletic Club.

"What I notice is not a significant spike in new members," Duvall said. "I
notice existing members are using the club more frequently."

Soriano, the Ballard gym regular, aims for three sessions a week at lunch,
which he usually splits between the stair and rowing machines. But this
week he started his own new workout plan: time with a personal trainer.

"For me, it wasn't the new year that changed it," said Soriano, who turned
50 Dec. 1. "The weight just wasn't coming off like it used to. I decided
it's time to get some professional help."

Gardner became a gym regular after his doctor told him he was eating too
much fat and not exercising enough. A cardio episode not long after
persuaded him to get serious about exercising. Yet, he doesn't want to
deprive himself of gourmet food and tries not to obsess about exercise.

"I'm always trying to lose weight, but I'm not going to obsess and go
nutcakes," he says. "If you go into the gym Jan. 2 and run as fast as you
can and hard as can and do crazy exercises, you're going to be so sore the
next day you're not going to do it again."

Sam Purviance, 56, a regular exerciser since 1980, agrees. "It is more
important to be regular than to go hard," he says. "Once a sure habit has
been formed, then you can increase the intensity or specialization of your

Purviance sees another upside to the January rush: an inexpensive new

He keeps his eyes on the new clothes so proudly worn by the New Year's
Resolution crowd. Sometimes, those same clothes wind up in the lost and
found bin, abandoned by sore, injured and discouraged gym rookies. At least
that's how Purviance puts it.

"I just wait until I am sure no one is going to claim the items I want --
usually about the end of February and just before the gym throws the
unclaimed items away -- and I take them home, wash them up and these become
my new set of workout clothes for the new year," he says.

And yes, his wife thinks he's nuts.

Tina Williamson's advice for not becoming a gym dropout? Find a partner to
help you stick to your program, especially if you're a beginner.

"It's way too easy to get busy, come up with an excuse, take a phone call,
run an errand, get distracted, and do anything but work out, if you work
out on your own," the gym regular says. "If you have to meet someone at a
set time, you're less likely to skip it."

Another trick is to commit a fixed amount of time to specific activity, and
not let anything interfere with it. Tell people about it. Or put it in

Williamson, for example, told friends and family that she was going to walk
four miles, four times a week, for six weeks. They supported her in that
goal. She's now kept it up for 11 weeks and hopes to continue her program
into the new year.

"Once you've incorporated it into your daily life, it's not as hard to do
as it seems before you start," she says.

Gym veteran Kathy Edens has just one thing to say: If you're joining a gym
for the first time, make sure you brush up on your etiquette basics. Wipe
up sweat on the machines, rerack your weights, don't grunt like a stuck pig
while hoisting dumbbells, ask if you can work in a set before jumping into
a crowded weight circuit, and circle swim in the lap lane so more people
can fit in.

With a little dedication, you can beat the odds and join that elite group
of gym regulars.


What about the fat slobs who sit on machines and benches just to rest or

Old December 30th 04, 09:35 PM
Roger Zoul
external usenet poster
Posts: n/a

For regular gym-goers, that means you may have to suffer a month or so of
overbooked spinning classes and bustling locker rooms, but the crowds will
eventually thin. Besides, you have reason to be thankful for those annual
exercise dropouts. If it weren't for them (and make sure you're not one of
them, hear?), your gym membership would cost a lot more. Most fitness
centers bank on a certain percentage of members not showing up regularly
when they recruit new clients.

Good thing for this!

Old December 31st 04, 07:29 AM
external usenet poster
Posts: n/a

"Chuck Globe" wrote in message


Apparently it's that time of the year again for the moronic cross-posters to
come out of the woodwork.

website: http://users.thelink.net/marengo


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