New Year, New You!Each and every January health clubs and gyms are licking their lips at the prospect of increasing memberships by using eye-catching marketing campaigns like ‘New Year, New You’.

We all start to feel pretty lethargic after a festive Christmas period, where numerous mince pies are consumed, in addition to the increasing volume of alcohol. The worrying statistic is that we consume on average an extra 8000 kilocalories on Christmas day! It’s no wonder that getting fit in the New Year is something that it is on all of our agendas.

 I’ve never liked Januarys in gyms. Clubs are all too quick to take a joining fee along with 12 months of membership fees; exploiting the guilty feelings experienced by new members in their quest for a better body.

The whole thing is flawed. Of course there are clubs out there who are interested in helping you get fitter and healthier, but there aren’t enough of them. What we find is that if new members aren’t taken care of then within 6 weeks of their membership starting they have fallen off the wagon, not using the gym and slipping back into their old ways – oh, and still paying their gym membership. We need to do more.

 It is vital that new members are given a full induction. We need to give them a comprehensive consultation, particularly outlining the potential barriers that will stop them from exercising, and developing strategies that will prevent these from occurring.

Getting an understanding of the lifestyle of the member and what they want to achieve will increase the chances of that individual maintaining their exercise regime. And after all, getting to the gym in the first place is hard enough for people to do. It is a chore that must be converted into a habit which we just do without thinking about it.

 We all understand the benefits of regular exercise nowadays, and someone who even gets to the stage of going into a health club to join has already gone through two stages of the readiness model. Now is the time to change.

 Our aim is to keep people exercising for longer, particularly when at 12 weeks someone should begin to achieve their goals. But the golden timeframe for a habit to become a habit is 6 months.

The ‘New Year, New You’ principle is a good one, and it is generally a time that people try to make changes in their lives. But it shouldn’t be exploited; there should be clear strategies aimed at keeping members for as long as possible. And if this can be achieved, then more people would be happier exercising and the public opinion of the industry would vastly improve.