“Lose weight.” “Get in shape.” “Fit in fitness.” Any way you phrase it, wanting to get healthier and lose a few pounds ranked as the top News Years resolution for 2014, according to the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology. Sadly, only eight percent of Americans who make such resolutions follow through with them.
Although Utah often ranks as one of the healthiest states in the country, overall obesity levels are still on the rise. And it’s especially hard for Utahns to want to be active when many of their favorite activities are covered in snow. “It’s easy in the summer for me to go biking, hiking, or running, but in winter those options are limited. I like skiing, but even that’s not something I can do on a regular basis,” says 42-year-old Sandy resident, Joe Christensen.
Large gyms tend to see an influx of would-be athletes this time of year. With only an eight percent resolution success rate, however, something must be preventing members from achieving their goals. “I do have a gym membership to a nice, large facility,” admits Christensen, “It just isn’t always easy to be motivated to go.”
As is the case with many large gyms, there’s a lot of equipment that people don’t know how to use to the best of their abilities, and extra guidance can cost in the range of 40 plus dollars and hour. So what are some other options? Many Utans turn to local, specialized gyms.
“There’s such a great benefit to attending a specialized gym,” says workout fanatic and former group fitness coach Danielle Bendinelli, who began working out at Ogden’s Timeless Fitness this year, “like finding the right type of workout that you can enjoy so it feels more like fun than a chore. Plus, it keeps you motivated to go because you feel more accountable. The classes are smaller so it’s hard to hide or skip out without anyone noticing you’re gone.”
Salt Lake City’s Dash Fitness owner, Lacey Bruschke, echos many of these sentiments and also adds that local, boutique studio gyms are a great boost to the economy as well. She doesn’t see the larger gyms as a threat, as their services and business model vary. “You are essentially ‘renting a treadmill’ at those larger gyms,” she says. “Local gyms appreciate the support they receive from all of their clients and take a special interest in getting to know them and help them with their fitness journey. We treat clients like they are part of our Dash family. We know them by name, we know what their goals are and how often they come to classes. We fix their form during class and offer them nutrition guidance, contests, and programs to help them reach their goals. You are not special at a big gym. You are just a number and additional monthly revenue.”
Bruschke also goes on to explain that she offers a highly exclusive program she developed called Obsidian, which hasn’t been licensed anywhere else. “It is packed full of core, balance, reactive, cardio, strength, and flexibility training. [It’s] is a low impact, high intensity program that delivers phenomenal results!” she exclaims. She also is one of the few who can boast being a registered nurse in addition to being a personal trainer. She also offering nutrition, stress and self-defense seminars.
But many local gyms go even further to microspecalize. Dave Foley runs Foley’s Mixed Martial Arts Training Center in Ogden. “I don’t try to compete with big franchise gyms. With a franchise the bottom line is the main goal. So people get locked into big contracts and get sent to collections if they can’t pay. Nothing I do can compete with the type of equipment or facility they have. So it’s a very different type of client I work for.”
Foley thereby specializes in coaching and training in Mixed Martial Arts, boxing and JiuJitsu, but notes that many clients he trains do not train to be fighters but train solely for the health benefits and self-confidence. “Results my clients should expect are improvements to their health. Strength, flexibility, endurance, also many people who train with us get a feeling of camaraderie! At a small gym you get support and a little incentive to be there and grow with the rest of the class.”
Perhaps more Utahns should turn to the smaller gyms to see the bigger results in 2015.