Many enjoyed turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy for Thanksgiving, sweets throughout Hanukkah and a baked ham for Christmas dinner. Champagne bottles were popped and glasses of the bubbly clinked for toasts on New Years Eve. During all the revelry, health foods were pushed aside and time on the treadmill put on hold.
After packing on a few pounds, those whose New Year's resolutions are to lose weight and get back into shape are flocking to fitness centers in droves.
A man did curling exercises with a pair of dumbbells inside Fitness 4000, 630 Main Street, one recent afternoon and, in another room, a woman wearing a pair of headphones listened to music, while using an elliptical machine among a group of other clients.
Corey Calise, general manager at Fitness 4000, said it is common for gyms to be busier at this time of year.
"You see an increase in memberships and others who haven't been using the club, you see them coming in," Calise said.
"It's a good time of year to get started and get momentum," said Chris Platt, a partner at , 380 Monroe Turnpike. "I think everyone's trying to live a healthier lifestyle. All of the big eating and dinners is out of the picture. No more holidays to interrupt the workout."
Lisa Ellor, a personal trainer at Anytime Fitness, said the uptick in gym memberships after New Years does not happen right away. "Usually in the middle of January it's in full swing," she said.
Monroe residents interested in joining a local fitness club have the option of Fitness 4000 and its sister gym, Just for Women Fitness; and Anytime Fitness, which offers something most competitors do not — it is open for patrons 24/7.
Lisa Ellor, a personal trainer at Anytime Fitness, said, "A lot of people ask me the best time to work out. Is it morning, afternoon and evening? The time of the day that works best for you is the time to do it."
"If you can only work out at two in the morning, we're one of the only businesses in America that give a key to the front door," Platt said.
Calise said Fitness 4000 offers 60 classes a week, along with a "great exercise program." Those interested in Fitness 4000 can try it for a week before deciding whether or not to join.
Platt said Anytime Fitness offers a free assessment, so its trainers know of any back problems or other health issues someone may have before they start working out. The trainer then factors their goals into a training program for the best results.
Anytime Fitness has two websites: Anytimehealth.com and anytimefitness.com. Platt said the main site can educate visitors about exercises for specific needs and that video tutorals show the proper way to do basic workouts.
"The anytime health website has everything from planning workouts to structuring what you eat on a daily basis and a calorie tracker," Platt said, adding it also shows how to keep track of fats, proteins and carbohydrates — what your body is taking in and what it's burning.
Don't Hurt Yourself
While many are eager to get back in the gym after packing on pounds during the holidays, Calise warns against being too motivated.
"I would recommend consistency. Try not to do too much too quick," he said. "If people get sore too quickly, they might not be as eager to come back in. Start slowly and work your way up."
Ellor, who has National Academy of Sports Medicine certification and TRX Suspension training, agrees.
"You're more prone to injury if you start too fast," she said. "A lack of sleep can hamper weight loss too. You sleep to re-energize, if there is not enough energy, your body slows down to hang on to as much energy as it can."
Now is the time when people are investigating fitness centers, according to Platt.
"I think most people become educated about the fitness industry," he said. "You don't just walk in and start working out. You work with a trainer so you don't hurt yourself."
Ellor said, "I believe that even trainers need trainers."
A Great Investment
"People typically set New Years resolutions in the first six weeks of the year when everyone is gung ho," Ellor said, adding the enthusiasm of many starts to wane soon after that.
In fact, when Ellor first broke into the fitness industry in 1985, she said trainers at a women's gym she worked for won a prize for getting the most clients to stay after the first six weeks of the new year.
"It does take six weeks to develop a habit," Ellor said. "If you can stick it out for the first six weeks and make it a routine, half the battle is won there."
"People here are very motivated," Calise said of Fitness 4000 and Just for Women Fitness. "The key is to create a habit to the point where they look forward to coming, you feel better, and you feel a difference when you miss it."
Ellor said, "One of my clients said she didn't know if she would stick with it. I said, 'Keep a day planner to make an appointment for yourself two, three times a week, whether for a half hour here or there. It's more important than any meeting you have, because it's for your health."
All trainers interviewed agree there is no greater motivation than seeing results.
"You come in and don't know what you're doing, you don't see results in the first month or two," Platt said. "Wouldn't you rather sit home and get no results?"
An exercise routine keeps muscles firm, body fat down and the heart healthy.
"Make that investment," Platt said. "It will be the best in your life. People would rather go for a Mercedes than a Honda Civic because there are more perks, but that investment won't help you live longer."