As 2023 begins, a number of people are committing themselves towards self improvement. These commitments can range from a number of different areas, from passion, finances, relationships, and the most popular one, fitness.
A lot of people declare the new year to be the beginning of their fitness journeys. It is commonplace to see gym memberships rise in the month of January, with a number of people signing up, hoping to kickstart their habit of working out. However, it is also common to see new members to drop out the gym after a few weeks, not sticking to their commitments.
The Herald went to local fitness centre, Beyond Fitness, and spoke with Personal Trainer Tyler Wowchuk to see if this trend also applies to Merritt, and what could be done for interest in the gym to avoid fading out.
“The whole idea with New Year’s resolutions is people are waiting for that perfect moment to make a change,” he explained. “However, the most important thing is making it a habit rather than making sure everything’s perfect to get started.”
Wowchuk is a University of Calgary Kinesiology graduate, and has been a personal trainer in Merritt for eight years. He works with ICBC clients for accident rehabilitation and has been a recipient of ‘Best Trainer in Merritt’ for two years in the Herald’s People’s Choice Awards.
“My main goal is to get clients to a point where they don’t keep going to me,” said Wowchuk.
“Ideally I’d teach them how to workout on their own so that they could stick with it for years, rather than having them go to me for a couple of months and then quitting.”
According to Wowchuk, clients sign up before the holidays to start training as soon as January starts.
“People mostly are coming off of the Christmas holidays, when they’ve been busy with their families and not necessarily eating the best foods,” he said. “I think it’s a great time to make a change but there’s never a bad time to start forming healthier habits anyway.”
Wowchuk confirms that there is an increase in gym membership during January. He observed that new members range from all ages, with more female clients than males, and the majority are beginners at the gym.
“They may not always know what they’re doing all the time but they are motivated to kickstart their health and get started at the gym,” he described.
“A lot of people want to figure out the gyms for themselves and most of them know enough to be self sufficient. A lot of the machines are pretty self explanatory and easy to use, so that helps them a lot as well.”
Most gyms, such as Beyond Fitness, feature the basic equipments such as benches, squat racks, dumbbells, barbells, and cardio machines such as a stationary bike or a treadmill. The self explanatory machines that Wowchuk is referring to are the isolation workout machines, like a shoulder press, abdominal crunch, and leg press machines.
While the most common goal of newbie gym goers are for aesthetic purposes, Wowchuk maintains that there are benefits beyond this that are attained by hitting the weights.
“It’s good for your mental health, for your brain, heart, and lungs,” he said. “It’s not just about losing fat and gaining muscle. There’s a lot of great things you can achieve at the gym, not just changing your body.”
Unfortunately, the speed at which people rush to sign up for a membership often times is the same rate at which they fall out of their new commitment.
“A lot of people fizzle out,” Wowchuk said. “A lot of things will take priority over the gym like work, kids, or household chores. Those always takes precedence over someone’s fitness.”
Besides priority issues, a lot of new gym goers quickly leave their new habit because of their intimidation towards the facility and equipment.
“There are so many different ways to work out that the amount of choices is overwhelming for people,” Wowchuk noted.
To address this fizzling out, Wowchuk recommends that people avoid approaching the gym as a chore, and see it as a fun activity.
“If it’s a chore to come to the gym, you probably won’t be doing it, but if you enjoy working out and look forward to it, then you are more likely to adhere to a schedule and an exercise routine,” he said.
“The most important thing to ensure success is to make the gym a part of your routine. Scheduling the gym in to your daily routine as opposed to waiting to do it at the last minute will definitely improve a person’s commitment to this.”
Beyond Fitness is located in 1901 Quilchena Avenue. For those interested in signing up for a membership, please call (250) 378-0307.