Barnet’s gyms are enjoying a bumper January as people seek to shake off their Christmas excesses with a New Year fitness regime.
The borough’s centres are all reporting an influx of treadmill seekers keen to make amends for their over-indulgence during the festive period.
Managers say they have seen new members signing up, as well as an added enthusiasm among those already paying their monthly memberships.
So what is the best way to keep up your early 2014 ambitions and ensure you do not fall by the wayside the summer approaches? The Times Series spoke to a number of gyms in the area for their experiences of the January rush and how to reach your goals.
Gordon Towner, owner of The Works gym in Alston Road, High Barnet, said: “We try and give the new faces a lot of advice as otherwise you can see they are wasting their time.
“If they are not working out correctly, it will not work for them and it reflects badly on us so we’re always trying to help.
“It was a mad house in here yesterday. We’ve had a few new faces, as well as all the current members using it a lot more. It always used to be packed in January and it tailed off in recent years - perhaps because of the recession - but this year it’s back to booming.”
Emma Godley, owner of Oxygen Fit in Church Hill Road, East Barnet, believes anyone hoping to get in shape in the New Year needs to set realistic goals.
She said: “On average, people put on five or six pounds over the Christmas period through overindulging and under exercising.
“Our classes at this time of year are very popular and we have a programme where people commit to a certain number per week, which really helps.
“The key to anyone setting goals is to have someone to hold you to account. It must be someone you would be embarrassed to tell you hadn’t been to the gym that week though, or else it won’t work.
“Even ten minutes of regular exercise will make a huge difference to a lot of people. Another tip is to write down your progress.
“When it comes to nutrition, I always tell people to just change one thing – whether it’s cutting out chocolate, cheese and biscuits, eating portions that are too large. Stopping everything at once often leads to failure.”
Georgie Conrad, fitness manager at LA Fitness in East Barnet Road, says many people tend to tail off from their New Year’s ambitions by around Easter.
She said: “We were packed on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve – I think people know they are going to indulge so it makes them feel less guilty if they work out beforehand.
“We get very busy in January but it gets quieter around Easter. We are always urging people to be realistic. A goal without a plan is just a wish so without goals or deadlines, you might as well not bother.
“You need to know why you’re coming in – whether it’s to lose this, or gain that – and set targets. Keep it simple and realistic with a good time base.”