Less talk and more action is the theme of the Scherer family this year, at least when it comes to going to the gym.
After watching her husband, Jerry, shed 60 pounds on his own through diet and exercise, Jennifer Scherer decided to sign the whole family up with the Billings YMCA.
“He wants to lose those few extra pounds and use some of the rooms here,” Jennifer Scherer said.
Her cheeks red, Scherer had just completed her second class at the YMCA — a boot camp session. The family did one together on New Year’s Day as part of the Resolution Solutions event open to the public.
“That was rough,” Scherer said.
The challenge didn’t scare them, or any of the other new members crowding the YMCA’s counters Monday. YMCA Director Tina Postel said January is its busiest month with 636 signups last year.
That’s almost three times the amount in any other month. To sweeten the deal, the YMCA cuts the initiation fees for the month of January.
“It’s New Year’s and people want to be healthier in general, I think, but they don’t know where they need to start,” Postel said.
To keep up with the competition, clubs around town are offering similar deals. The initiation fee has also been cut at the Billings Athletic Club for the month of January.
“Most clubs do 60 to 70 percent of their business in January,” said Terry Doerfler, general manager of the Billings Athletic Club. “That is what the statistics say, and it holds true for us, that’s for sure.”
Postel said the hardest part about joining a gym is starting and sticking to it. To help ease any of Scherer’s trepidations, Postel joined her in class.
“It can be intimidating on your own,” Postel said. “We’re here to help people get started.”
The memberships are expected to be strong through April when some members lose momentum.
That’s true for most gyms. Sandy Fox, the manager of the downtown Anytime Fitness, said the business gets a rush of new members in January followed by a trailing off over the next few months.
“Generally the New Year’s resolutioners, many of them are just there for a few weeks and slack off after that,” Fox said. “We’ll gain a couple true blue customers from that group, but then about 80 percent of them are the ‘Well, I’ll come to the gym next month,’ group.”
To keep at it, Fox said new members should try to find someone to work out with, take a group class or hire a personal trainer.
“It makes them accountable,” Fox said. “When you are doing it yourself, you have no one to answer to. No one is going to yell at you if you don’t show up.”
At Billings Athletic Club, Doerfler said about half of the new members will stop coming by the time they reach their first month.
“It’s a good idea at the time, but it’s like most resolutions,” Doerfler said. “They hope to do it, but they don’t know how to do it. People really don’t get the training that they need. I’ve been doing this for 25 years, and it’s never changed.”
The Scherers will have their whole family of four keeping one another accountable. Jennifer Scherer said she can’t wait to get her children, 4-year-old Kaylie and 7-year-old Riley, enrolled in the swimming classes and after-school programs.
“There are lots of options, which is nice,” Scherer said. “It’s a great atmosphere and everyone is so friendly.”