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New Year’s resolutions cramming gymnasiums

January — ‘tis the season to get bodies into shape

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PROVO — Now that the holidays are over, 'tis the season to hit the gym.

That's the New Year's resolution of choice for many, especially college kids who put on a pound or two over the Christmas break.

"January is the busiest time of the year nationally for gyms," said Sam Cannon, a manager at the Gold's Gym on State Street in Orem. "It's all about the New Year's resolutions."

Fitness trainers and membership consultants in Salt Lake County say an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 people along the Wasatch Front will buy new memberships this month.

At Gold's Gym, signups in January are about 4 percent higher than any other month, says Ron Littlebrant, owner of six Utah County Gold's Gyms.

But sometimes New Year's resolutions don't last long. Cannon says the slowest time at Gold's — besides December — is in July.

"Provo is an empty town over the holidays, there's no traffic, everything is quiet. But as soon as school starts, everything's busy," says Aaron Lee, a Brigham Young University student who works out at 24-Hour Fitness.

Parking lots that were empty during December are now filled to capacity at Gold's and other gyms. The Gold's Gyms on State Street in Orem and 900 East in Provo are so full some members have a hard time finding a place to park.

Lee says the influx of gym-goers can be annoying. He tries to work out at times that aren't as busy, but sometimes finding an empty workout station is so difficult he swims laps in the pool instead.

Lee is married, and he admits that makes him different than many gym rats.

"My single friends like to go work out when it's busy because basically it's the Mormon equivalent of a pick-up bar," he says. "I think a lot of girls and guys go home for the holidays and ask themselves why they aren't married and decide it's time to shape up."

Single man Rob Atkinson says marriage isn't at all on his mind when he goes to work out. He says he recently started going to the gym because he felt flabby and wanted to change.

"There are other places to meet girls, and the girls I know don't like to be bugged at the gym. So that's not the reason I go," said Atkinson, 27. "When I was younger I could eat whatever I wanted and I stayed in pretty good shape. But as of late, my metabolism started slowing down and basically I just started getting fat."

Cannon, the Gold's manager, says most of his clients are like Atkinson; they go to look and feel better — not to meet someone.

His gym is currently offering a special to entice those who have made New Year's resolutions to get in shape.

And for those who are leery to go to the gym because it is too busy this time of year, Cannon says not to worry. New Year's resolutions usually don't last long.

E-MAIL: jhyde@desnews.com