Gyms see changes in New Year’s resolution business

Gyms in Mississauga may get an influx of new members due to getting fit New Year’s resolutions, but many are finding the spike isn’t as high as it used to be.

“I would say it’s about 40 per cent, whereas before it used to be 300 per cent,” Xcel Fitness owner Lincoln Manton told “People just don’t wait until January anymore, because we have programs in the Spring now to get them in shape for summer.”

Manton said as people start wearing less in March and April they also being thinking about bathing suits. “In 60 days I could take 10-15 pounds off somebody, healthy.”

Still, that doesn’t mean gyms aren’t still prepared for the influx of new people every January 1. “They sell as many memberships as they can,” said Mississauga firefighter and fitness trainer Alex Possamai. “People are feeling guilty about all the cheesecake they’ve had over the Christmas holiday and they just use that to their advantage.”

While many people have already given up on their New Year’s resolutions by now, Manton said typically members start to drop off at his gym in February and March. “Most people will last at least 60 to 90 days.”

Some gyms have also found that increasing the price of membership and program intensity has reduced the number of dropouts.

“Compared to Xcel, our monthly fees are between five to eight times more,” Possamai said of his Crossfit Bolton and Crossfit Mississauga locations. “You don’t go to a gym and pay $250 a month if you’re not serious about exercise, results and improvement.”

Crossfit is a type of high-intensity strength and conditioning program that combines various movements and equipment specifically to improve fitness. Crossfit was recently the subject of a major marketing campaign by sports apparel company Reebok.

Possamai said by focusing around Crossfit, his gym doesn’t typically get the people who sign up for a year and don’t show up. “It just doesn’t happen,” he said. “I’m not in the business of sales, I’m in the business of making people really fit and as fast as possible.”

Possamai said he would only sell memberships to people who have shown they’re determined to show up. Surprisingly, this approach hasn’t hurt his business.

“What happens is people get in really terrific shape and their neighbours, family and friends start asking them how they did it and they recommend me,” he explained. “That’s how I sell memberships.”

Manton said a gym can offer someone all the services they need to stay long-term but ultimately it’s up to them to keeping show up. “I can’t force someone to work out,” he said. “We want you to use it and to come, but if you don’t use it, it’s not our fault.”

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