The start of a new year comes with the lacing up of old tennis shoes and the signing of gym membership forms. This fresh start brings a flood of hopeful newcomers to commercial gyms, making it almost impossible to navigate through all the people in order to find an open treadmill.
According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, gym memberships increase by 12% in the first two weeks in January. This seemingly small percentage actually represents an increase in volume of 33%-50%.
By the second week of February, 80% of the New Years resolution crowd drops off. This means only 20% of the new gym-comers remain. Gyms also start to see a slower rate of gym membership sales in February.
Most gyms typically sell memberships with the expectation that only 18% of the people who buy them will actually use their membership consistently for over a month.
I have been a member at the Fitness 19 on Leesville Road for about three years. All throughout the year there is always a medium-sized crowd– except when January hits. It becomes borderline chaotic with all the new and old members fighting for time on an elliptical or for a pair of dumbbells.
“In the month of January, we sell anywhere between 250 to 300 memberships,” said Josh Asheim, manager of Fitness 19. This number of new memberships brings around a 30% increase of total population to Fitness 19 every start of the New Year.
If you are aren’t interested in weaving through mobs of sweaty people, a smaller exercise boutique would be beneficial. Crossfit gyms that seemed to be all the rage in 2014 are a nice change from the regular gym scene. Crossfit combines weight training, aerobics, and gymnastics to get you a full multidimensional workout, as well as having specialty trainers to help guide the newcomers. There are currently six gyms in Raleigh with Crossfit RDU located at 6808 Davis Circle being the closest to Leesville. Crossfit RDU sells year long memberships for $165 a month, but individual personal training sessions are also available for $60 a class.
Cycling and hot yoga classes are also great options that can give you personalized help and will let you avoid the stuffiness of the commercial gym.
Attending these kinds of workout classes can also help you steer clear of the judgemental stares from the seasoned exercisers. The tension between the new gym-goers and the more regular visitors is very apparent during the month of January.
Snarky comments are made every year about the inexperienced exercisers. Alex Ferrer, TV personality, summed up his feelings by tweeting: ‘Hate going to the gym after New Year’s. Everyone who made a resolution to get in shape is here. Oh well. Two weeks we’ll be back to normal.’
Samir Mezrahi, a reporter for BuzzFeed, felt similarly, writing: ‘Congrats to everyone who made it to the gym today. Only 364 days until you are allowed to return again.’
It is these kinds of things that factor into the depletion of motivation of the new members which pushes them to quit around the second month. It is important to remember that even the really ripped guy who seems like he lives at the gym had to be the awkward new member at one time too.