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Insights from an Exercise Physiologist

Unlocking the Mystery: Why Gyms Seem Less Crowded This January

As the new year unfolds, gyms typically witness an influx of individuals eager to kickstart their fitness resolutions. Surprisingly, this year, many dedicated gym-goers have observed a significant reduction in the usual crowd.

Social Media Speculations

While some celebrated the unoccupied gym spaces, others took to social media to question the validity of New Year’s resolutions, wondering if “anyone still makes resolutions” nowadays. The initial assumption was that freezing temperatures and snowstorms across the country might be responsible for the lower gym attendance during the first week of the year. Some anticipated a return to peak capacity by mid-January.

Extended Gym Vacancy

However, by the third week of 2024, perplexed social media users continued to inquire about the persistently sparse gym attendance. Neal Pire, a certified exercise physiologist and fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, shared his observations on the matter.

Neal Pire’s Insights

Contrary to the widespread perception, Pire has not identified a broader trend of reduced gym attendance. According to him, the fitness clubs and studios where he works out have experienced an increase in attendance compared to the previous month. Pire, however, offers a theory as to why certain gyms may seem deserted this January.

February is the New January

Pire suggests that the assumption that January witnesses the highest influx of individuals pursuing fitness resolutions is a misconception. In reality, he argues, February is the true starting point for many. He explains, “It really doesn’t become obnoxiously crowded until February. So February is the new January, if you will.” Pire predicts that the surge in gym attendance is likely to reach its peak in the upcoming two or three weeks.

Recovery Time after Holidays

Another factor to consider is that some individuals, including regular gym-goers, may need time to recuperate after the holiday season. Pire notes, “The old members will finally come back [next month] because they overindulged during the holidays. That’s when you really feel the difference.”

Achieving Fitness Goals in 2024

Pire offers advice on sticking to fitness goals throughout the year. He suggests that while people usually start focusing on their goals in February and can maintain them through March, many tend to lose momentum afterward. To combat this, Pire recommends adopting SMART goals—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bounded. Additionally, he advises individuals to show themselves grace if they miss a day, encouraging them to “get right back on the wagon the following week.”


As gym-goers navigate the evolving landscape of fitness resolutions, understanding the patterns and timing of increased gym attendance may help in setting realistic expectations and staying committed to personal goals throughout the year


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