You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor area gyms prepare for big crowds as New Year's resolutions kick off

By Lizzy Alfs


Members enter the Ann Arbor YMCA on the day before New Year's in downtown Ann Arbor.

Daniel Brenner |

It's that time of year again: the mad dash to Ann Arbor area gyms as people swear off unhealthy diets and vow to exercise.

A Journal of Clinical Psychology study found 45 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, with losing weight the top-ranking goal. This is good news for fitness centers as they experience a bump in business, but it could be aggravating for devoted members.

“During the month of January, we’ll be extremely packed,” said Nikki Smith, manager of Arbor Fit Club on Ann Arbor-Saline Road.

She estimated memberships will increase by at least 30 percent, and the gym will see a spike in daycare, personal training packages, juice bar sales and tanning.

“(Members) usually are not that thrilled, but we have some who are definitely excited that we’re thriving,” she added.

Although many ‘resolutioners’ will kick off 2013 with good intentions, only 8 percent of people actually will achieve their goals, according to the study.

Smith said the New Year’s crowds at Arbor Fit Club usually taper off beginning in February and the gym returns to normal levels by April. Because the gym works with several companies in the area that offer employee fitness allowances, the beginning of the year is always the busiest.

“The fire (people) have wears off after a while,” she said. “Also, it starts to get warmer outside in March and April, and after people get in a rut where they haven’t been here in a while, they stop coming.”

At downtown Ann Arbor’s YMCA, about 2,000 people will swipe their membership cards the Monday following New Year’s, according to communications director Jan Hack. She said the YMCA gets 1,300 to 1,500 membership swipes on a typical day.

Vie Fitness & Spa owner Heather Dupuis said her boutique fitness center on Ann Arbor’s South Ashley Street will experience a spike in group class participation after Jan. 1, but the class sizes are limited so the studio doesn’t get packed.

“I’d recommend signing up (for classes) in advance (online),” she said. “(January is) definitely busier. It’s a fun time for us and we’re geared up for the New Year’s resolutions, but it won’t be herds of people because our model doesn’t allow for that.”

Hack said the YMCA tries to support members’ fitness goals and resolutions. She said the sense of community on the wellness floor, at group classes and at volunteer activities keep members coming back long after the New Year’s resolution excitement has worn off.

“We always want to meet everybody exactly where they are,” she explained. “A lot of people walk through our doors for the first time in January because they’ve made a promise to themselves. Our promise is to help them keep that.”

Smith added: “I’ve always liked to see the excitement in everybody (in January). I tell people all the time when they sign up, ‘OK, I’m going to be on your case at this point.’ There is camaraderie.”

Readers: Looking for advice on how to stick with New Year’s resolutions? Check out this Forbes article on seven strategies that will help you meet your goals.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 4:42 p.m.

Be nice if the YMCA was actually open today.

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 7:16 p.m.

YMCA is open until 5 p.m. I believe.

Jon Saalberg

Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 4:48 p.m.

They are.

Dog Guy

Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

I manage to keep fit with my ShovelTreck in winter and my MowMaster in summer. Unlike gyms, Habitat for Humanity does not charge for an extensive variety of exercise including the ExtensionRungStepper and the EliptaSledgehammer. Fitness activity isn't necessarily expensive or self-absorbed.


Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 12:22 p.m.

While the state of Michigan ranks very high nationally in obesety, Ann Arbor is one of more health conscious towns in the USA. Yes, participations tends to wane at local gyms during the spring. The milder weather by then brings the local runners and walkers outdoors again. The more active health conscious people in Ann Arbor inspire me to keep at it.

Ann English

Wed, Jan 2, 2013 : 12:25 a.m.

From what you say and another's desire just to swim (an aerobic exercise), I figure that CNN had weight loss resolutions in mind when they ran a story this morning about an Australian couple in their sixties who have run and still run many marathons.


Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 6:45 p.m.

You have to look beyond those walking on the Diag.


Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 11:23 a.m.

If everyone could do me a favor and not swim a the Y tomorow, that would be great; thanks!


Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

observer....No coffee yet ? Now, I'm no genius but I'm gonna make a wild guess and say that Radib2's comment was made " tongue in cheek "


Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 12:02 p.m.

you sound like a selfish child.....can't play with my u own the pool.....


Tue, Jan 1, 2013 : 11:26 a.m.

I know, missed an r, but seriously, if you're normally there, no problem, there's plenty of room for us. Just no more than us.