January busy month at area health clubs

January 05, 1997


Staff Writer

Walk into a fitness center in January and you'll see rows of Spandex-draped, sweating bodies, some svelte, others stuffed in like sausages, pumping iron or puffing away on treadmills, stationary bikes and other implements of human torture.

January is one of the best membership months for area health clubs, owners and managers say. Folks coming off the fat-inducing holidays see their multiplying midsections and decide it's time to exercise.

They head to the nearest health club, Spandex in tote bag and resolve in their hearts to work away the pounds and tone up the flab. It's a resolve that usually melts away long before the pounds, fitness center managers say.


"I'd have to say that 75 percent of the people who sign up for a program in January don't last three months," said Craig Pearrell, owner of Pearrells Ultimate Physique'S in Inwood, W.Va. "They get burned out, bored or they lose their enthusiasm. January is a time when everyone promises themselves to get into fitness. The TV ads put it in their minds."

Steve Parrote, an employee at the 4-Star Athletic Complex in Williamsport, said for many people getting in shape is just a phase. "It's just something they want to do until they get bored. That's why we keep a big screen TV in here," he said.

"Our best time for new members is just before the beach and bikini season," he said.

Rando's Fitness Center, one of the area's largest health clubs, has fitness centers in Hagerstown, Charles Town, W.Va., and Martinsburg, W.Va., said Jim Foster, manager of the club on North Pointe Drive in Hagerstown.

Foster said the Hagerstown club has about 2,600 members, 90 percent of whom just want to lose some weight or stay in shape.

Among them are the Thomases, Steve and Trudy from Hagerstown. They gave themselves a Rando membership for Christmas. "We needed an energy booster," said Trudy, 33. "It was Steve's idea. It's something we can do together. We camp and do some boating, but nothing very physical. We've been in a relaxation mode for two years. This is our New Year's resolution," she said.

"Steve's already lost a few pounds. You should have seen him before. His overhang was bigger," she said. Steve stands six foot one and hopes to lose 20 pounds.

Oscar Arnsbarger, 72, of Williamsport, is a Rando success story. He came to the center a year and a half ago weighing 316 pounds. He's dropped 100 pounds since by coming to the center six days a week, he said. "I feel wonderful. I can do a lot of things now that I couldn't do before."

Foster said people sign up for the exercise program for lots of reasons besides losing weight. Golfers come in before the season opens to limber up and to build up their back muscles. Gardeners warm up their winter atrophied muscles before the digging season. Women maintain exercise regimens during and after pregnancy. Some people are referred to the center by their doctors for back problems or post-operative exercises, he said.

"You can come in here at any time and see people of all shapes, sizes and ages," Foster said.

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