For local gyms it’s easy getting new clients in January. The tough part is making sure those newcomers keep their New Year’s resolutions year-round.

The key is creating a friendly environment and making sure those who come in feel accountable to come back.

“The interest starts in December and it continues on through January and February,” said Sandra Lassiter, owner of Hot Yoga Ahwatukee. Like most local gyms Hot Yoga is offering an introductory price through January. New customers can get two weeks of unlimited classes for $25. Hot Yoga is also doing a New Year’s challenge, challenging customers to take five classes a week for eight consecutive weeks.

“This time of year there is nothing better than entering a warm room,” Lassiter said. “It feels really good because it’s cold outside. Hot yoga sometimes scares people but the room is safe, it’s going to help you heal as well as prevent any injury. I think that’s what keeps people coming back, in addition to the results. People feel better after the first class.”

In addition to offering a low starting cost and a therapeutic environment, Lassiter said Hot Yoga has done customer surveys in 2012 to make sure they’re offering the right classes at the right times to keep existing customers.

OrangeTheory Fitness kicks off each year with local and national challenges, with large prizes, to see which male and female client can lose the most percentage of body weight in six weeks.

Kris Price, owner of the OrangeTheory studio in Ahwatukee, says the key for them to getting customers to return is results and accountability.

“The key is it needs to be more than a resolution, it needs to be a lifestyle change,” Price said.

Each new client meets personally with a trainer to set goals before they begin coming to regular sessions. They track results for the client and because each customer wears a heart rate monitor during the workout, they can see the exercise working. OrangeTheory follows up with members who haven’t come in for some time.

“We encourage people when they’re leaving each day to pre-book their next class,” Price said. “If you’re pre-booked it’s like making an appointment, you’re probably going to keep it. Pre-booking is huge for us. Then, if we see someone hasn’t been in for a class in the last week we’re reaching out to them and calling them. A lot of times traditional gyms get the membership and maybe that person never comes. We really want to see results. If we haven’t seen someone come in for five to seven days we’re going to call them and see what’s going on and keep them accountable.”

Darcy Fincher recently purchased an exercise franchise for new mothers, Stroller Strides, in Ahwatukee. She said she has already begun to see a peak in interest and hopes the environment Stroller Strides provides inside and outside of workouts will be enough to keep women active. Because Stroller Strides is geared toward young moms with kids in strollers, they offer play dates and other activities for moms to get together outside of working out.

“We offer not only the physical aspect of it, but also the emotional support you need to achieve a new fitness goal,” Fincher said. “Surrounding yourself with positive people can help make those goals more achievable. I think the support system makes a huge difference. If you look forward to seeing people and showing them your progress then you’re more likely to stick with it.”

Most local gyms are offering deals throughout the month of January for new members. Those who have never tried an OrangeTheory session can get one week free while new members to Stroller Strides can get their first month free.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or

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