By Natalia Ningthoujam
Gym regulars face a "crowd issue" in January. A new year and a new resolution often lead to a new crowd at the gym, and new equipment greets a lot of the new sign-ups too. But less than 10 per cent convert to regular customers, according to a study.
CMS India, a not-for-profit headed by surgeon Ramen Goel, commissioned a three-year-long study to evaluate the dropout rate; and why losing weight is such a challenge for so many people.
The organisation spoke to over 1,400 gym dropouts in Mumbai and Delhi.
At an aggregate level, only 10 per cent of new year sign-ups stay on as regular customers over a year. Of the remaining, about 16 per cent say that they thought they would have time, but realised they didn't, while 22.4 per cent of them drop out because they cannot get up early in the morning.
About 10 per cent of the people admit that they hate some exercises that their instructors make them do as part of their routine.
A small number -- about six per cent -- feel that they want to try swimming or yoga or something else instead of the gym. However, the biggest group, a massive 35.6 per cent, say that they are not seeing any difference in their weight and, hence, are losing motivation.
So is lack of willpower not the only reason for the drop-outs after February?
"It's not just the lack of willpower," Goel told IANS.
"Internationally, experts agree that 60 per cent of obesity is due to genetic causes. Those who are attending the gym with the sole objective of losing weight, soon realise that they may need other interventions too, that will take their genetic obesity into account."
Goel added: "Sometimes, obese people also feel that they are being watched constantly in the gym. We need to raise awareness that obesity is a complex condition and not just caused by simply eating too much and moving too little.
"It is a metabolic, chronic and progressive disease with a significant genetic predisposition. Obesity is a disease that needs treatment, just like diabetes, and exercise is a good habit."
There are other reasons too for quitting the gym.
Kevin Samuel, Head Fitness Trainer at Fitso, told IANS: "The body gets adapted to the same workouts being done at the same intensity, so the growth of muscles gets slower."
A goal also plays a role. "The goal you are working towards is achieved... Say, getting fit for marriage or event or preparing for a marathon. If no new goal is set up, there is nothing to look forward to and thus, no motivation is left to train hard."
So, what can be done to retain them?
"Gamifying the training is the best way to retain interest in gymming. Create group workouts and build friendly competition among group members," said Samuel.
He also said that variety is the spice that needs to be added to the "curry of gymming".
"Create some interesting routines and workouts to break the monotony and to work on different sets of muscles for the trainee," he added.
Surender Yadav, owner-trainer, SHAPE Perfect fitness Gym, emphasised that body building is not an overnight show.
"One needs to stay focused and regular in order to get the desired results. Now the only way to get them ... with the machines is to get them the right amount of motivation through a gymholic partner.
"Right partners not only push you but they also guide you well. At the same time, it's very important to make short-term targets for them as nothing can motivate you more than the joy of achieving a target."
(Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)