New Year's resolutions give healthy boost to fitness biz

By WEEK Producer

January 2, 2013 Updated Jan 3, 2013 at 2:36 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Every January, fitness clubs get a healthy dose of new activity.

All of those New Year's resolutions to shed pounds and shape up translate into additional memberships for facilities like the Peoria RiverPlex.

"Our usage really goes up at the beginning of the year, about 20 to 25 percent," said RiverPlex Fitness Coordinator Amber Parkinson. "That's on the fitness floor, that's in our classes and in the pool."

And more people take advantage of their existing memberships.

Bill Lawrence is a regular at the RiverPlex. He's learned from experience that some of the new customers won't stay with it long enough to become old ones.

"We'll get very busy here for about two months and then people drift off," explained Lawrence. "Apparently the resolutions don't last that long."

Unless you create some motivation for yourself.

"If you sign up for a year membership rather than three months you're going to form those habits and then typically you're going to stick with it," said Parkinson.

Exercise equipment also starts to move more this time of year. That gives the owner of Russell's Cycling and Fitness in Washington a workout.

"For us it will become 90 percent percent of our business," said Owner Joe Russell. "It's a large jump, too. Fitness is a major portion of the business in the next five months."

And there are plenty of options. In addition to traditional exercise equipment there's an indoor cycling trainer. Those start at about $200. It allows you to take your bike and train indoors all winter.

"(It provides) a cardiovascular workout and we're going to be able to maintain that muscle group that we've worked for all summer long now in the winter months and not have to rebuild our bodies in the springtime," explained Russell.

And that helps keep Russell's business in peak condition.