Hitting the Gym Hard
After a season of holiday overindulgence, full gym parking lots show that those in Florissant determined to start a healthy new year.
If Florissant residents made the popular New Year's resolution to work out more, they seem to be sticking to it in the first week of 2011 -- for now.
"Too many people join gyms in January but stop coming by March," said Kristi Francis, manager of Eagle Fitness. "They don't see results overnight, and so they don't give themselves enough time."
Eagle Fitness has already seen a spike in new members, but Francis said the real surge will come the second week in January.
"Right now, people are still in holiday mode," she said. "The kids are still off school, people still have out-of-town guests, and the college kids are still home. It's the second week in January when they really come in."
One of the gyms with a noticeable surge in clients for the first week of January was Club Fitness on Lindbergh. On Monday, the gym had an overflowing parking lot, with cars spilling over into an adjacent lot. A staff said the manager was eager to speak with Patch, but the manager was busy helping a number of new customers whenever I called.
Across town at Gold's Gym, the parking lot was equally overflowing, but management refused to speak with Patch.
Curves, a fitness chain exclusively for women, was packed to capacity the first week in January, but owner and manager Bonnie Barczykowski said that wasn't unusual. She sees just as big a spike in new membership around bikini season as she does at the start of the new year.
"We're pretty fortunate," Barczykowski said. "I think the camaraderie of women keeps them coming year-round. I know a lot of times at a traditional gym, they'll start out with a boom in the new year, then it tapers off. Our people stay steady. They come 2-3 times a week, and they come all year."
At Eagle Fitness, Francis had advice for people with fitness-based New Year's resolutions. She urged people not to be intimidated by existing fitness levels or fear of what other people may think.
"In our kickboxing class, people aren't watching how many times you kick the bag. They're busy being in tune with their own workout and watching what they're doing. People aren't paying attention to you. Don't be afraid of people who aren't even looking."
Francis also recommended finding a way to work accountability and sociability into an exercise regimen. Join a class with a friend to provide structure, bring along a workout buddy to provide support and companionship, or hire a personal trainer. "It's not just you. Working out alone is hard," Francis said.
In addition, Francis urged people to consider realistic goals and body image.
"Your doctor may give you some advice about ideal size, but you know your body," she said. "Are you OK with your size? You know how you feel personally. As long as you're eating decently and don't have any medical issues from being overweight--diabetes, high blood pressure, something like that--then just live life and enjoy it by being who you are."
Christian Hospital has teamed up with multiple sites across Florissant and North County for a "Just Lose It!" competition to provide some of that structure and accountability Francis mentioned.
The program only costs $10. Registration began Jan. 4, and the program accepts the first 400 people who register. The kickoff event for the program is Saturday, Jan. 15 from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m.
Participants receive free cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose screenings as well as access to a Facebook group designed to provide support and encouragement and a chance to win prizes at the end of the program.