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Slack no more: area gyms find innovative ways to fight New Year’s resolution doldrums

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Two weeks into the new year, chances are that keeping your pledge to lose weight or get in shape in 2013 is starting to get a little tougher.

Fortunately, three area gyms are taking three very different approaches to combat post-resolution backsliding.

At the YMCA, it’s all about fostering a family atmosphere, making sure that people know they are welcome and that they feel at home.

“Our intent is to get people involved and keep them involved,” Watertown Family Y Executive Director Peter W. Schmitt said. “If somebody doesn’t care that you’re coming in to work out, pretty soon you’ll stop coming.”

Making fitness fun in a world of “great couches, good TV, great restaurants and good food” is not easy, but it’s something the YMCA seems to be managing.

According to Mr. Schmitt, membership is steady downtown and trending upward at the Fairgrounds location, where it has increased 200 percent since the Y took it over from Ultimate Goal in 2007. The gymnastics program alone has enrolled 850 children.

Family and senior membership at the Y is up, though young adult membership is down, Mr. Schmitt said.

The monthly family membership rate is $49.58. For a senior couple, it is $37.92. For a young adult, it is $20.

At Page Fitness, 19472 Washington St., co-owner Christopher R. Page and his staff of trainers will conduct a one-on-one consultation with prospective clients to craft a tailored exercise program designed to meet clients’ fitness goals.

The center, which is the only licensed CrossFit location within at least 70 miles and the closest TRX training facility this side of Canada, doesn’t do “memberships,” Mr. Page said.

Instead, it offers a variety of small group classes with 15 or fewer people. This system, along with comprehensive nutrition counseling, enhances accountability and increases retention.

The personalized approach also increases the appeal of the center across age groups and fitness levels.

Mr. Page said that he gets athletes and soldiers striving for Special Forces, but that 70 percent of the people who walk through his doors just want to lose weight.

“Most people think they have to be fit to come here, but that’s not necessarily true,” he said.

The social and goal-driven approach to functional fitness enables clients to see their progress and stay motivated.

It’s an investment, though.

LesMills Ltd. group fitness classes at the center, including full body weight training, body combat, body flow and body jam, are available from $67 to $128 per month. Training packages run $250 per month and up, in four-, six- and 12-month cycles.

At Planet Fitness, 1222 Arsenal St., it’s the trademarked “Judgement Free Zone” that brings “a lot of dedicated people” in, said Danielle E. Barres, general manager.

Ms. Barres said that in her experience, the majority of people stick to their resolutions in Watertown, more so than she’s seen at other locations.

They are motivated by the same reasons people throughout the country make their resolutions: They want to get back in shape, be healthier and resolve medical problems.

Ms. Barres said that the friendly desk service at the gym and the knowledgeable fitness trainers are a big part of the list of benefits that encourage customer loyalty.

The prices might have something to do with it, too.

If you just want to use the gym, $10 a month is all you’ll pay. For access to tanning booths, massage chairs, guest passes and half-priced drinks at more than 600 national locations, it’s $19.99.

However, you’ll have to forgo such perks as towels or day care, and you won’t be able to swim, since the facility doesn’t have a pool.

In fact, if you’re amphibiously inclined, only the YMCA will fit the bill.

Speaking of the Y, Mr. Schmitt said he welcomes all the new competition in town. For Y members, it has the hidden benefit of taking away the incredible annoyance of having to wait for a machine when the place is busy.

The competitive rebalancing in town has “made us more user friendly,” Mr. Schmitt said.

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