Gyms can help to make 2013 healthier for residents
By Patrick McArdle
STAFF WRITER | January 02,2013
Vyto Starinskas / Staff Photo
Katelyn Robinson turns around while rock climbing at the Green Mountain Rock Climbing Center in Rutland on New Year’s Day.
It’s that time of year when people, after hanging up a new calendar, promise themselves that this is the year when they’re finally going to get themselves in shape and local businesses say they’re ready to help Southern Vermonters stick to that goal.
At Anytime Fitness in Bennington, for instance, owners Jamie and Amy Carey have grown over the last three years since they opened to offer people a number of workout options. The options come in handy this time of year because Amy said there is a “big influx of people over the holidays.”
“There are a lot of gift certificates because people like to give the gift of health, which is great, and a lot of people coming in saying, ‘I want to do a lifestyle change,’” she said.
Steve Lulek, co-owner with his wife, Sherry, of the Green Mountain Rock Climbing Centers in Rutland and Quechee, said in the 10 years they’ve owned the business, they’ve also seen a lot of interest at the turning of the year.
“People are starting to think outside the box, thinking of better ways to be healthy. People are looking for alternative ways to stay healthy, stay active, do things together other than the fitness center,” he said.
On Tuesday, while many were still sleeping off the effects of a New Year’s party, a number of people were coming in to get started on learning to get healthy through climbing, Lulek said, including a mother who came in with a 4-year-old son.
The parking lot at Anytime Fitness was also full on Tuesday. One of the advantages of the club is that members can, as the name implies, use its facilities anytime. Carey said there is almost always someone in the building, except between 2 and 3 a.m. because people have different work schedules.
While Carey said she is happy to see people decide to make the commitment to getting healthier, the difficult thing can be sticking with the good habits long enough to get and maintain results.
“(A lifestyle change is) not just getting a membership. It’s motivating yourself eternally to make a commitment to yourself. How people do that, they have to figure out for themselves,” she said.
While Carey said it’s a manageable commitment, it’s not a small one. She said she recommends that people consider a change to a healthier diet and a workout routine that will build their strength and heart health in a way that balances with their life. She also tells people they have to stick with it three times a week for at least three months to begin to see results.
In the most practical sense, both Carey and Lulek said they and their staff can help people learn what their respective facilities have to offer, how to use the equipment and what programs and classes are available.
Lulek said he starts new clients off with safety training but moves on to teaching them realistic goals so they don’t become either discouraged or overly intimidated. Carey said she also works with new customers to make sure they understand what they want to achieve and how they’ll get there.
Carey suggests new customers find a friend at the gym or from home to go to the gym. Rock climbing requires a partner so Lulek said participants will naturally find that advantage of having someone encourage them in participation and making a healthy activity also a social activity.
People with special health needs should consult with their doctor before beginning a new workout routine.
Getting healthier doesn’t just help the customers of fitness businesses. Carey had tears in her eyes as she talked about helping people with diabetes or high blood pressure.
“We’re helping to change their lives. Working out is a passion but it’s not a passion for everybody but it has to be done for people to stay healthy. The transformation you see with people and their lives from taking all these medications to not taking medications and having them come (to see you) and hugging you and saying, ‘Thank you, Amy.’ I think that’s the most amazing thing about being a gym (owner) is helping the community,” she said.
Information about Anytime Fitness can be found on the internet at www.anytimefitness.com/gyms/2246/bennington-vt-05201 and information about Green Mountain Rock Climbing can be found at www.vermontclimbing.com.