Lisa Williams

Gyms brace for post Christmas rush in bid to drop the bulge

ALWAYS-open gyms dotting regional areas are bracing for a spike in memberships as guilt from holiday indulging and a classic New Year's resolution motivate some to seek a healthier lifestyle  

Today marks the first day many gyms will open in 2014.  

Managers from Anytime Fitness and Jetts expect a 20% increase in new members throughout January and February as people trickle back into town after a Christmas away.  

Between the two gym chains, almost every regional centre in Queensland and New South Wales is covered.   Overall, Australia now has more than 700 24-hour gyms - they were introduced five years ago.  

The vow to lose weight is among the most common resolutions made on January 1, but statistics show words are not quite cutting it.  

ABS data showed 62.8% of Australians are overweight or obese, with those in regional or remote areas likely to be bigger than those in cities.  

Even the most devoted resolution-maker should be prepared for some blunt news if they think a few trips to the gym will be enough to shed that extra weight.  

Jetts chief executive Martin Oliver said those entering the gym for the first time often expect too much, hoping for a quick fix.  

"People tend to come in thinking that in four weeks they can lose 20kg," he said.  

"The reality is that it won't happen - people need to be educated on what fitness can do for you."   Anytime Fitness chief Justin McDonell agreed.   

"People tend to put on weight over a few years and want to lose it over a few weeks - it doesn't really work like that, unfortunately."  

"Most people are probably wanting to lose a few kilos, that's the main motivation, and wanting to feel a bit better after eating all their Christmas food and drinking a little bit more than normal."  

For regulars, it can mean a return to the fold although plenty will avoid the traditionally busy times of a Sunday or Monday afternoon.  


KEEPING IT UP Jetts and Anytime Fitness give tips on how to keep up the motivation in 2014:

  • Find a routine with a personal trainer, they boost motivation.
  • Don't diet, focus on eating healthier permanently. Everything in moderation.
  • Work out with a friend if possible for a dose of peer pressure.
  • Do what works. Twice a week for a year is better than burning out too soon.
  • Independent? Have staff develop a program you can stick to.

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