December and January are ‘surge’ months for local health clubs

Those long lines in the gym aren’t just a figment of your imagination. Health and fitness facilities really do experience a surge in attendance during the month of January.

However, it may surprise some that the surge actually begins in December.

According to the Wall Street Journal, gyms see a 50% surge in attendance beginning in December that stays strong through the first weeks of January.

Such boosts in business are important to gyms in the area, said Wilton Sports and Fitness general manager Andrew Edwards.

“We are hitting our peak numbers right now, especially for our type of indoor facility. When the cold weather is outside, runners and other gym-goers seek indoor space,” he said.

While regular fitness buffs will certainly ride out the wave of packed January gyms, data shows most of those people trying to fufill New Year’s resolutions will drop out by February.

By the second month of the year, the Wall Street Journal reports, 10% fewer people check in to gym facilities on Facebook.

However, numbers have gone back up in recent years.

“People who falter on their resolutions in January don’t necessarily wait a year to start over,” the Journal says. “Last year, gym check-ins on Facebook in March surpassed even those for January: more than four million check-ins, compared with 3.9 million. The check-ins leveled off in the summer and bottomed out in November at 3.3 million.”

Robb Romano, of Anytime Fitness in Wilton, said his gym has become less reliant on early year sign-ups than before.

“When we first opened seven years ago, January, February and March were the bread-and-butter months. People typically didn’t join in the spring and summer because they had outdoor sports, boating, and tennis to think about. As we became known in the community, however, there has been less and less of a rush early in the year,” Mr. Romano said.

As Anytime Fitness is a small gym that only has exercise equipment — without a pool or sports fields — Mr. Romano said those who do sign up in January end up sticking it out.

“They’re signing up in January because they probably joined their last gym in January, their one-year contract is up and they’re looking for a smaller, more personable gym. They’re already previously dedicated.

“If you’re here, there is only one thing you can do: work out. You can’t say you went to the gym and sat in the sauna for an hour. They’re very dedicated to what they are doing.”