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Resolutions lead to fitness memberships

According to statista.com, getting more exercise is one of the three most common new year’s resolutions.
And while such resolutions lead to a January boom in fitness center memberships, managers at three of the area’s largest note that relationships and customer service are key elements in helping members achieve their goals.
“January is a big time for us,” said Ben Newport of Gold’s Gym in Albemarle, as a steady stream of clients lifted weights and worked out on various types of cardio equipment on Monday. “We have the place here for people trying to meet their resolutions, but we also have the staff here to help them ‘stay with it.’ ”
Ryan Miller, regional manager for Planet Fitness, which opened its Albemarle center on Dec. 26, has worked with the chain for 12 years, and echoed the importance of customer service.
“We are super busy from January to April,” said Miller, who touted the chain’s “judgment free zone” as setting itself apart from other such centers.
“Most of our customers are first-time fitness center members,” he noted. “We don’t cater to body builders and power lifters…our goal is to promote general fitness among our members.”
Like commercial fitness centers, the Stanly County Family YMCA will also see an increase in attendance as a result of new year’s resolutions, but the organization’s three-part mission will remain unchanged, according to Executive Director George Crooker.
“We seek to build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all,” he said. “And the increased interest that comes with the new year gives us an opportunity to demonstrate our mission.”
Crooker noted that the YMCA normally sees a jump of 100 to 200 members during January, but conceded that recent developments (such as the opening of Planet Fitness) could change those numbers.
“This year will be interesting,” he said. “But we will focus on what we are, and continue to work to be the best we can be…if we can help anyone in any way, we have accomplished our goal.”
A special program for members is one way Gold’s Gym seeks to help its members meet their personal goals.
“The Gold’s Gym Challenge is a 12-week program that begins on Jan. 1,” said Newport. “Members who take part in the challenge are assigned a personal trainer, and statistics such as weight and measurements are recorded at the beginning, mid-point and end of the challenge. Attainable goals for weekly and monthly progress are provided, and we do our best to provide a positive mindset through our staff and social media.”
Having been open for just a week, Planet Fitness does not offer any special programs specifically for the new year, but will offer periodic specials in upcoming months.
“We have a number of special promotions which will be coming up,” said Miller, who noted the chain has a history of loyalty among its members.
“Retention (of members) is great,” he said. “We do our best to provide an atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable.”
And at the Stanly Family YMCA, customer service remains paramount. The organization’s new tagline is “More than a Gym,” and Stephanie Campbell, membership engagement director, cited an example of just how her staff recently exemplified this.
“Last week, we had a torrential downpour going on outside,” said Campbell, “and several of our staff members grabbed their umbrellas and walked customers who were exiting out to their cars…they weren’t told to do it, they just did… I couldn’t help but think, ‘where else would this happen?’ ”

Toby Thorpe is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News & Press.