Healthy resolutions for the New Year

By Jacob Betzner

Staff writer
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Thom Kuntz of Richeyville does a set of pushups at 84 Fitness.
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Photos by Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
Jill Klocek of Munhall does weighted walking lunges while Ben Curry of Bethel Park does tricep dips during a boot camp fitness class at 84 Fitness. With the start of the year, gyms fill up with people trying to fulfill their healthy New Year’s resolutions. Order a Print

If shedding a few pounds tops your list of New Year’s resolutions, join the club. Literally.

A survey of about 2,000 people conducted by LA Fitness found losing weight to be among the top three most popular New Year’s resolution for 2013, along with “read more books” and “save more money.”

Gyms and fitness centers in Washington County issued a number of new memberships near the end of 2012, opening the door for a healthier, fitter 2013.

Matthew Veltri, owner of Veltri Fitness in Washington Crown Center mall, said his business always sees an increase in members during the first quarter of the year. In fact, the first three months of the year tend to see the highest numbers for gyms or fitness centers everywhere.

“Every year at this time, we see an increase in memberships,” said Veltri. “Anywhere, any commercial you see for Bally’s, Alexander’s, if it says New Year’s resolution, people will sign up.”

The Health Club at Southpointe in Canonsburg boasts nearly 1,000 members and recently offered a “holiday special” to encourage new members to join, waiving the initiation fee and offering a free month of membership after signing a new member contract.

The Health Club manager Eugenia Brandemarte noted a very good response to the special and said five new members joined Dec. 31, a high number for a single day.

“It’s been hectic,” Brandemarte said. “It’s not untypical after New Year’s. The classes have been full. Hopefully it continues to go on for the entire year.”

With the good response to the holiday special, Brandemarte hopes to implement a similar membership drive program in the near future.

In addition to hitting the gym, calorie-counting individuals flock to vitamin and health food stores to supplement workouts and help chip away at the waistline.

“It’s definitely the time of the year,” said Debra Wheeler, general manager of the GNC store at Washington Crown Center. “December is like a party no one comes to.”

A healthier lifestyle is never a bad idea. Breaking bad habits takes time. Soon enough, making the trip to the gym seems cumbersome. Dia Confort-Walsh, manager of 84 Fitness Center in Eighty Four, said membership and the number of members tends to stay steady throughout the year for members involved in more than running on a treadmill or sitting at the bench press machine.

“Because of our different services and, once a member becomes involved in a group class or something like that, they tend to keep coming back,” Confort-Walsh said.

As for the search for motivation after the allure of a New Year’s resolution wears off, keep in mind swimsuit season is right around the corner.

What do you think?