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Area residents resolve to get fit in 2012

January 02, 2012|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com
  • Heather Kurtz of Maugansville does jumping jacks as part of her new workout Monday at Planet Fitness in Hagerstown.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — At area gyms Monday, the busiest station was the sign-up desk as area residents made good on the popular New Year’s resolution to get in shape in 2012.

“We haven’t been this busy in a long time,” Planet Fitness employee Tahlullah Barger said, surveying the crowded South End Shopping Center fitness center Monday afternoon.

Barger counted 22 new members since the new year began.

Eric Piper, 27, of Williamsport, was unabashed about being part of the New Year’s gym membership surge.

“I’m just another sheep,” he said with a grin between sets on a rear deltoid flex weight-training machine at Planet Fitness.

Piper said his resolution was to get fit in the new year, and he set a goal to go to the gym five days a week.

“I’m fat, so it’s time to get in shape for the ladies,” he said.

Piper said his trick to sticking with his resolution was to have a workout buddy, his friend Tom Port, 21, of Hagerstown.

“This is my third attempt to go (to the gym) regularly,” Port said.

Judy Brewer, 60, of Hagerstown, and Ginny Messier, 63, of Falling Waters, W.Va., had the same idea.

“We’re going to help each other,” Brewer said of her new “gym sister.” Together, they plan to work out three times a week.

Lisa Shupp, 31, of Hagerstown, said her workout buddy will be her husband.

“I’m hoping he’s going to be able to motivate me, and I’ll be able to motivate him as well,” Shupp said.

Finding the time to work out is especially difficult for the couple because they have a 5-month-old child at home, she said.

“I’m really working hard to get back to my prebaby weight,” she said.

Shupp’s plan is to hit the gym every day for half an hour after work.

Heather Kurtz, 24, of Maugansville, said she has a deadline attached to her weight-loss resolution: her friend’s wedding this summer.

“It’s the beginning of the year. That gives me six months,” Kurtz said.

And her workout buddy? The bride-to-be.

“She’s going to join me,” Kurtz said.

As enthusiastic as the Jan. 1 gym joiners are now, gym employees said the New Year’s surge tends to die down after the first few months of the year.

“It takes a lot of commitment to stick with it,” said Planet Fitness Assistant General Manager Mike Winkfield. “It’s easy to get in here, but it’s hard to stay here, so you’ve got to just stick with it. Keep up the hard work. It’s not going to happen all in one day.”

Planet Fitness General Manager Sarah Hoffman offered this advice: “It takes 21 days to create a habit, so if you can get through that 21-day period, then you should be able to make that change.”

Hagerstown YMCA employee Eli Roberts said his best advice to members is to stop focusing on losing weight.

“If you are more focused on your health, I think that makes losing weight a lot easier, because you start eating healthier and drinking healthier,” Roberts said.

By 2 p.m. Monday, Roberts said eight people had started new YMCA memberships that day alone. Many committed to yearlong memberships, he said.

One of those new members, Elsie Brown, 47, of Hagerstown, said she made a New Year’s resolution to go to the gym because she wants to be healthier and motivate her family, who joined her at the YMCA Monday, to be more active.

Brown wasn’t worried about sticking to the resolution.

“I love to exercise,” she said.

Brown, who wants to lose about 30 pounds, planned to take advantage of the three visits with a trainer that were included in her membership.

YMCA member services director Sharee O’Haver said she recommends scheduling all three trainer sessions for the same time of day, with the same trainer, to start to build a routine and establish relationships with gym employees and other members.

“That’s the key to helping members stay, is developing that relationship,” O’Haver said.

O’Haver applauded new gym members for taking a step toward longer, healthier lives.

“With the obesity rate in the United States, it really needs to be a routine that needs to be established by everybody,” she said.

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