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SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2006
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Personal trainer Ken Terry works with Jeanie Parker at The Rock Fitness Center in Trinity. Parker’s New Year’s Resolution is to increase her physical fitness.
Daily photos by Gary Cosby Jr.
Personal trainer Ken Terry works with Jeanie Parker at The Rock Fitness Center in Trinity. Parker’s New Year’s Resolution is to increase her physical fitness.

New Year, new promise
Many firms affected by yearly resolutions

By Eric Fleischauer
eric@decaturdaily.com· 340-2435

Most of us make them, most of us break them. Niche businesses, however, enjoy the bounty that comes with our annual effort at self-improvement.

Savvy businesses understand the perfect overlap between their customers’ interests and their own, especially when it comes to fitness-related New Year’s Resolutions. Both want the resolution to remain intact, and businesses have different approaches in keeping their customer on track.

Glenda McMahon, a shift manager and trainer at Curves for Women of Decatur, was huffing and puffing from a workout as she marveled at the influx of members the business gets every January.

“We’ll get as many as 30 new members in January,” she said, about three times the number who join in other months. “Some will come really regularly for a month or two, then start dropping off.”

Motivation

Curves tries to turn an easily broken resolution into a lifetime commitment, though.

“Our big thing here is motivating each other,” McMahon said. That motivation is important both in establishing exercise routines and in a diet class.

McMahon said the key to success in keeping fitness resolutions, whether at Curves or elsewhere, is joining with a friend in tackling the goal.

“Do it with a buddy. You motivate each other,” McMahon said. “When one of you is weak, the other one can step it up.”

Offering a trainer to help members stick with their resolutions has proved successful for both business and customer at The Rock Fitness Center in Trinity. It’s a method Jeanie Parker hopes will work for her.

“I’ve never been in the shape that I wanted to be in,” said Parker. “This was the time. I wanted to start fresh this year.

Trainer Ken Terry demonstrates proper technique to Jeanie Parker. New Year’s Resolutions by customers such as Parker can help businesses like The Rock fitness center in Trinity.
Trainer Ken Terry demonstrates proper technique to Jeanie Parker. New Year’s Resolutions by customers such as Parker can help businesses like The Rock fitness center in Trinity.
I want to start out with a new wardrobe, new looks. I need to lose about 25 pounds.”

She attends Rock four times a week, three of those visits under the supervision of personal trainer Ken Terry.

“Having a trainer, I hope, will motivate me,” Parker said. “It will help me say ‘no’ to the junk food and ‘yes’ to better things in my life.”

Like most of us, Parker has made and broken many resolutions in the past.

“I try to stay up with the kids and have felt sluggish,” Parker said. “I thought, ‘I’m only 36. I’m too young to be feeling this
way.’ ”

Top resolutions

According to a study by
myGoals.com, the most popular New Year’s Resolutions for 2007 are losing weight, starting a business and paying off debt. Reducing alcohol consumption and stopping smoking are also high on the list.

A study completed last week by DayTimers Inc. found that the resolutions with the highest likelihood of success included healthier eating, increasing exercise, debt repayment and increased time with the family. Respondents said they were at least somewhat successful on those endeavors about 50 percent of the time.

The resolutions with the least chance of success, according to the DayTimers study, were quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption and working less.

According to one study, 33 percent of resolutions don’t make it beyond the first week.

Locally, owners of Hartselle’s Fowler Pharmacy and PillBox Pharmacy on Danville Road Southwest said they see a January increase in the sales of nicotine patches and diet aids.

Exercise equipment sales skyrocket in January as well.

“We experience a spike, no question,” said Reggie Jackson, Madison branch manager of Exercise Essentials, which has a gym and sells equipment. “We see a lot more foot traffic, a lot more sales because of the New Year’s resolutions.”

Treadmills, elliptical machines and stationary bikes are the big sellers, Jackson said, but he said they are destined for the attic if customers don’t think through their goals — and get expert advice — before they hand over the cash.

Whys and whats

“I’ve found the key to keeping New Year’s Resolutions is focusing on the ‘why,’ not just the ‘whats,’ ” Jackson said. “The ‘what’ is losing weight, getting fit, whatever. But why do you want to do it? Is it for you, for your doctor, because your spouse is nagging you?’ ”

Sorting out why you’re making a particular resolution is the first step in accomplishing it, Jackson said.

Encore Sports Fit on Danville Road Southwest sees a jump in membership in the first few weeks of January, said manager James Jones, with an inevitable drop in late February and early March.

Incremental goals

“The biggest problem is they try to do too much, too soon,” Jones said. “Sometimes they have a big goal — losing 50 pounds in 2007, say — but they do better breaking it down into smaller goals so they can see their progress.”

Altruism and good business intersect when it comes to fitness resolutions. Jones and his staff seek to translate mega-resolutions into a series of incremental ones, keeping the customer happy and the resolution intact.

While area fitness centers and counselors see an upsurge in business from New Year’s Resolutions, other retailers see a downturn.

Vickie Ware, manager of Beltline Beverages and Spirits on Beltline Road Southwest, isn’t worried.

“Every year, beginning after the 1st, sales will drop for a while,” said Ware. That drop comes after a huge surge during the holidays.

Some customers explain they are getting on the wagon pursuant to a resolution. Much of the decline in sales, she suspects, is also because people are broke after Christmas.

“It picks up again about April,” she said, describing a business cycle she has seen repeated in each of her 21 years at the store.

Do customers stick to their tee-totaling resolutions?

“Pretty much never,” Ware laughed.

Common resolutions

The most popular categories of New Year’s Resolutions for 2007, according to myGoals.com:

  • Health and fitness (27 percent).
  • Personal finance (15 percent).
  • Personal growth and interests (15 percent).
  • Career (12 percent).
  • Education and training (9 percent).
  • Home improvement (7 percent).
  • Time management (6 percent).
  • Family and relationships (5 percent).
  • Recreation and leisure (5 percent).
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