Wednesday, January 18th, 2012
By Christine Henderson
New resolve brings in business
  It's that time of the year. Many area residents have resolved to look less like Santa Claus by Valentine's Day.
Operators of many Mercer County fitness centers report an increase in business since the start of 2012.
"We are completely swamped right now," said Kristy Kahlig, co-owner of Innergy Fitness in Coldwater.
Gym enrollment began rising in December due to a discount and has continued this month, she said. Besides first-timers, those members who did not use the fitness center during the summer are coming back, she said.
"I've had a surge at Saturday classes," said Tonya Fledderjohann, owner of Upstage Downtown Dance in Celina.
Her jazzercise classes normally average 15 people, and now she is seeing about 25 students. While most of the "dancer-isers" are in their 40s, she has taught teens through 60-somethings.
Charlene Crum, who operates Zumba classes in Celina, said some of her students have made New Year's resolutions to lose weight and get into shape. About 25 percent of her current students began after Jan. 1, and another 20 percent are returning after a two- to three-month break.
Memberships and class participation typically increase every first of the year, said Allen Baskett, chief executive officer of the Auglaize-Mercer Counties Family YMCA, Celina. Enrollment this year is probably up 30 percent in classes and membership about 4-5 percent, he added.
The number of students have "doubled, almost tripled" from the start of the year for Josie Hemmelgarn, who teaches Zumba at Cross Fit Crave in Celina and Studio Rock Fit in Rockford.
New members at Snap Fitness are telling manager Angie Crider they want to lose weight, feel better and improve health issues.
Membership has increased slightly since the first of the year at facilities in Celina and St. Henry, Crider said. Although, this is less of an increase than last year, she said.
At Fort Fitness-N-More, membership has spiraled up some in January but typically settles down, co-owner Karen Ranly said.
"We give up too soon," Ranly said.
Memberships at most fitness centers fall after the first month or so, but the local owners say the drops keep decreasing.
"There is more of an overall fitness trend than a New Year's resolution thing," Kahlig said. "People are coming in because they want a fresh start."
"The trend in the last two to three years is that once they make commitments, they are sticking with it," Baskett said.
Some companies also are paying the membership fee for employees or giving incentives for losing weight. Company officials see the benefit of employees being healthy, both for better productivity and lower health insurance costs, Baskett and Crider both said.
It appears area people are staying motivated, Baskett said, through personal resolve or employer incentives.

A name in the story was incorrectly spelled. It should have been Char McCurn. The error was made in reporting.
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