Put down the chips and work out, it#039;s that time

According to ECFC general manager Jennifer Finn, in January of 2005, 849 students visited the gym a total of 2,151 times.,The month of New Year’s resolutions has come and gone, but it seems that many Emersonians are sticking to their plans to stay fit, as evidenced by a sharp increase of students going to the Emerson College Fitness Center (ECFC) this past month.

According to ECFC general manager Jennifer Finn, in January of 2005, 849 students visited the gym a total of 2,151 times.

Since the begining of 2006, 1,035 students have worked out 3,817 times.

“Earlier this week, there were about seven people outside the door,” said ECFC Fitness Manager Katelyn Haggerty.

Haggerty said seeing students focused and ready to work out at 7 a.m. is a big change from last semester, when few people came before noon. Even when gym membership was made free for Emerson students in September, many never took advantage of it, she said.

What matters, however, is that the ECFC is now seeing students in numbers like never before. According to Haggerty, the facility stays busy all day long, when they had down time in year’s past.

A self-described regular at the ECFC, Jesse Rizutko, a sophomore writing, literature and publishing major, said he is not surprised to see more faces in the fitness center at this time of the year.

“Everybody says January is the time for New Year’s resolutions, and everyone’s trying to get fit,” Rizutko said.

While Ritzutko said he never feels disrupted by the gym masses, he said the center has felt busier in the past weeks.

Ritzutko said he typically works out around 9 or 10 a.m. and estimated there were three times as many students in the gym on a recent morning than he had seen earlier in the semester. Later that same week, he said the ECFC was packed around closing time.

Haggerty confirmed the apparent non-stop action in the fitness center.

“Now [the ECFC] is busy 24/7, if we were open that much,” she joked.

There is always some doubt, however, about the willpower and tenacity of these newly minted gym rats, Haggerty said.

Nick Pereira, a junior political communication major, said he does not think this fitness fad will last.

“There’s a ton of kids in [the ECFC] now, especially using the cardio machines,” Pereira said. “But it doesn’t really bother me that much; I don’t think that many still will be [in there] by February.”

eDiets.com also describes the “empty-nest syndrome” that tends to follow the annual January gym-swarm. The Web site says that a good amount of people who resolved to get fit start to skip out on or abandon their workouts in February.

By March, many have given up their goals altogether.

February is “Group Fitness Month” where the ECFC will offer a week of beginner classes, according to Haggerty. She said these classes are designed for students that may be uncomfortable jumping into a regular group fitness class.

Also this month, Haggerty said the ECFC will be holding a total body conditioning class for the countdown to spring break.

“It will probably be held once or twice a week starting in February and ending just before [March] break,” she said.

Even though the fitness center is experiencing its busiest time of the year, Haggerty said that anyone, newcomer or regular at the ECFC, should not hesitate to stop by the front desk to book an appointment.

“We’ll work around your schedule,” Haggerty said of the consultations.

But for someone who would rather just sign up and work out on their own, there are key points to keep in mind. Haggerty said anyone just trying to get back into (or starting) the habit of exercise should work out two or three times a week.

“Do some cardio, around 30 minutes, and some weight training,” she said.

The advice from eDiets.com also recommends easing into an exercise routine.

According to the Web site, participants should commit to slow progression in order to reach their fitness goals, but this requires time and will not show overnight results.

Haggerty urged the same.

“Go slow, but push yourself enough,” she said. “And don’t go ‘gung-ho,’ because that’s how injuries happen.”

Aubrey Gibavic contributed to this report.