Gyms, Fitness Centers See Rise in Memberships at Beginning of the Year
When it comes to a healthy lifestyle, there typically isn’t only one solution. Whether it’s healthy eating, exercise or losing weight, area gyms and fitness centers are finding ways to keep their members and the community motivated.
Some local athletic club owners say a combination of New Year’s resolutions and Penn State students may be responsible for an uptick in memberships and attendance at the beginning of the year. However, others say their members are consistent and committed year-round.
Scott Ludwig, founder and co-owner of ki’netik FITNESS, said unlike regular gyms, the club doesn’t see the New Year’s rush as much because sessions are coached by certified trainers and membership price is higher than typical gyms.
“This tends to filter out those that aren’t fully committed to making changes in their body and health,” he said. “The upside to this is those that do come to us stick with us because they are interested in a lifelong fitness program … this creates a very positive environment of like-minded people. They get as much motivation from each other as they do the program and our coaches.”
Ludwig, who owns ki’netik FITNESS with Chanel Ludwig, said the pair is constantly coming up with new ways to keep people at the gym and motivated, both in setting and reaching goals.
The fitness center, which has about 200 members, hosts group events such as 5Ks and mud runs, Ludwig said. Just recently it finished its “Holiday Weight Challenge” in which members are encouraged to lose one pound between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Those who drop the weight get paid; those who gain must donate one item per half pound gained to the State College food bank, he said.
“It’s all about giving our members incentive and having fun,” Ludwig said. “Let’s face it, not everyone loves to work out so you have to give people something to work toward and make the journey as enjoyable as possible along the way.”
Ludwig said ki’netik FITNESS, located on Commercial Boulevard in State College, is primarily class-based and offers eight to 10 classes per day for men, women and children.
“We don’t have huge yearly fluctuations,” he said. “Our early morning classes start to get pretty big in late spring but it’s at the same time our outdoor fitness boot camps start so the additional members are nicely dispersed at four different locations.”
What makes ki’netik FITNESS different from other athletic clubs, Ludwig said, is its accountability and community aspect.
“We go to great lengths to make sure our members are here,” he said. “By checking scan-in histories and having our coaches actively taking note of who they haven’t seen, we do whatever we can to get people in her on a consistent basis. We want them to have a high-level experience here, setting and reaching their fitness goals, and if they’re not here they can’t do that.”
Another State College center, Titan Fitness & Martial Arts, clearly sees a boost in enrollment after the new year, owner Paul Zelinka said.
“It is a combination of New Year’s resolutions and the Penn State students trying to get in shape for spring break in eight weeks,” he said.
Titan Fitness offers martial arts, boxing programs and the fitness brand CrossFit at the Lionheart Fitness facility, Zelinka said.
“Personal training is also available and very popular during this time of year,” he said. “Guidance is paramount to beginners in achieving their health and fitness goals.”
Zelinka, also a certified personal trainer, said the fall semester and January are favored times for Titan Fitness.
“Classes are very popular during the beginning of the year in that the group dynamic helps to motivate an individual and keep the (person) accountable to the group,” he said.
Another fitness organization that sees a hike in membership at the beginning of the year is the YMCA of Centre County.
Rachel Garmon, wellness director at the YMCA, said about half of this increase is due to first-time enrollments, and about half are people “re-upping” their memberships.
The reason for the rise in January seems to be the same across the board: people wanting to lose weight and get in shape, she said.
The YMCA has about 8,500 Centre County members at its Bellefonte, State College and Philipsburg locations combined, Garmon said. The Bellefonte branch currently has about 2,500 members.
To encourage a healthy lifestyle, the YMCA hosts a variety of programs and events, including Weigh To Go, which is gearing up for its third year, Garmon said. The challenge, which kicks off on Jan. 14, is “designed to help people stay on track,” she said.
Weigh To Go is open to the community; participants do not need to be members, Garmon said, and they can register as an individual or part of a team.
For the challenge, people log their weight loss, activity, or both, each week. At the end of the competition in March, prizes are awarded for success.
Last year about 200 people participated in Weigh To Go, Garmon said. This year she is expecting even more.
For more information about the YMCA or Weigh To Go program, or for guidance on health and wellness, contact Garmon at (814) 355-5551 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dan McKenna at (814) 237-7717 or email@example.com.