Article by Tracee Davis
For The Sheridan Press


SHERIDAN —The spirit of the New Year and inspiration for fresh beginnings is being seen and felt at fitness centers around Sheridan. There’s no question that Jan. 1 has brought new ambition for many people to start or recommit to fitness goals, and it can be directly measured via gym memberships. While people are definitely coming in the door for now, trainers are hoping to help new people stick around even after the luster of the New Year wears off.

Heidi Smith, owner of Curves, a gym for women only, said she picked up over half a dozen new members in the first week of this month. The YMCA experienced a similar uptick.

“Our memberships do increase anywhere from 2-11% from December to January each year,” said YMCA Executive Director Liz Cassiday. “Our existing members also increase their visits in January versus December by 30%.”

Cloud Peak Crossfit Owner Seth Larson said he also sees a bump in January enrollment, but also battles certain restraint that isn’t as prevalent at starter gyms.

“What I hear people say is that they have to get into shape before they come to Crossfit,” Larson said, referring to the brutal reputations his style of workouts have earned.

“However, that’s not true because it’s going to be hard for anyone. I do see a little bit of an influx in January, but not quite as much as everybody else.”

This jump in business isn’t a surprise to owners of fitness-related businesses. Goals to exercise more or lose weight consistently rank among the most common types of New Year resolutions.

Across the board, fitness businesses around town are seeing new faces, and with them, there’s the possibility that many of them will soon stop showing up. Statistically speaking, most resolution makers falter within a few days or weeks.

“Our classes are full, full in January and start dropping off a bit in February,” Cassiday said.

Larson agreed that for every 10 joiners, only a few of them stay around long-term.

“It seems like about 20% of that New Year’s resolution crowd sticks,” he said.

Those in the business of fitness are working hard to facilitate two main factors helping a person stay with a new fitness routine. The first is finding community and the second is establishing a new habit.

“If they miss three workouts, it’s unlikely they’re going to come back at all,” Smith said, adding that she will call new joins they haven’t seen in a while to encourage them to come back and establish their new pattern. “It takes three weeks of coming consistently to form that new habit.”

Smith also said she offers socialization opportunities outside the gym to help members make stronger bonds within the fitness community.

“Peer energy is huge in retaining a healthy habit like daily, exercise,” Cassiday said.

At the YMCA, more than 100 people have enrolled in a challenge to complete 100 workouts over the course of 120 days.

“Lots of people have already signed up for the challenge and hopefully, this will help folks get over the initial zeal and into an established pattern of exercising,” Cassiday said.

Larson pointed out that if one schedule, crowd or form of exercise doesn’t jive, it’s important to try another approach to keep a fitness resolution alive.

“They just have to find what they like,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing with the January crowd is if they step into something they don’t feel is fun or entertaining or a challenge, then they are not going to stick with it. You just have to try every gym in town and find what works best for you. Everybody likes different kinds of things—different cars, different food—it’s the same with exercise. Find what works for you to get moving.”