New Year’s resolutions. They inspire and haunt us every year. And by the second week in February, about 80 percent of us have already dropped them, according to U.S. News & World Report. But for the nation’s health and fitness industry, this time of year is membership gold. From aikido to Zumba, many fitness programs and facilities see memberships spike. After the excesses of holiday celebrations, the New Year brings vows of getting in shape, eating less, being less stressed, and getting or becoming new bodies.
True Nature Healing Arts, Carbondale
“At the start of the New Year, it’s a time to reset ourselves,” explains Deva Shantay, co-owner of True Nature Healing Arts in Carbondale. “It's a time to evaluate: How am I eating? How am I sleeping? How am I taking care of myself? Self-care goes up at the beginning of the year. During the year, we get busy and forget about it, so at the end of the year we’re depleted, and it’s time to review our lives, time to make a commitment to ourselves.”
At the lushly landscaped and beautifully appointed healing arts center, renewing each year is part of the business model. Deva Shantay, along with co-owner Eaden Shantay, started in a one-room cement box on Main Street in 2007, expanded to the Third Street community space in 2009 and then purchased their current location in 2012, where they have created landscaped grounds, a yoga/dance studio, a kiva for a variety of educational activities and a café and spa. They offer 36 classes per week of yoga, Zumba and Nia.
They also recently began offering a Foundations of Yoga series, taught by Kerry Kleiser.
“I like the foundation series because, no matter how practiced, how advanced you are, we all need the fundamentals to continue growing,” says Deva Shantay. “While it might be geared to people starting into yoga for the first time, I also think it's good for any advanced yogi to always come back and realign their practice.”
Beginning any new fitness program takes focus, commitment and discipline. True Nature encourages first-timers by offering a $25 intro rate for unlimited classes in one week.
“We encourage you to take as many classes with as many teachers as you can,” Deva Shantay says. “If you find one teacher you connect with or one class that works for you or resonates, you’ll stick to the practice. If you can find a day and time that works, then you'll continue.”
While we often think of the active part of self-care in a fitness program, we don’t often think about the inactive parts.
“Receiving is part of self-care, which is why we have the spa,” Deva Shantay says. “Touch is very healing. But the art of lying on a table and letting someone take care of you touches a deep part of us. If you are able to receive, then you are going to feel nourished afterwards on a level you can’t get from a hike.”
TAC Fitness, Basalt
Making a change in our lives by starting a new fitness program is different for everyone.
“I think that the pieces of joining a health club are not really what they used to be,” says Amanda Wagner, owner of TAC Fitness in Basalt. “We see people in the health club now who are really looking for a sense of belonging, a sense of community. That’s a big piece. They want variety; they want to have fun, to be part of something bigger. Along with ‘I want to get fit’ and ‘I want to get stronger,’ there’s ‘I want camaraderie and friendship’.”
Wagner, a Glenwood Springs native who was just named to the Governor's Council for Healthy and Active Living, comes from a background in customer service and hospitality, and, utilizing that experience, she has created a marketing strategy for her business that focuses on referrals and word of mouth.
By any measure, she has been immensely successful. TAC Fitness (in the old Wellness Institute at the Basalt Industrial Park) opened in 2011 and offers over 50 classes a week in a wide variety of fitness mediums such as strength and stretch classes, yoga, booty barre, tango, cycling, Zumba and the list goes on.
TAC Fitness also offers a state-of-the-art gym with certified instructors and coaches who will teach you the foundations of a functional strength-training program, help you design your workout for what you want to achieve and embark upon a wellness program with therapists and nutritionists to ensure what you are putting into your body is the best thing to fuel it.
While January is always a robust time of year for TAC Fitness, as new people are starting to think about making changes in their lives, March is actually their busiest month.
“What we're doing through the entire month of January is offering a $99 intro membership, which offers unlimited access to the gym and the locker rooms, plus unlimited access to over 50 classes a week,” says Wagner, who also is the chairperson of the Basalt Area Chamber of Commerce. “We want to make it more affordable so that they can see the value, they can form their own community of classes and choose their membership after that.”
Being a community partner is an important role for TAC Fitness. They support other organizations in the community, like Colorado Mountain College, and they work with many corporate partners to be affordable, sustainable and available to the community over the long haul.
“First class is always free,” Wagner says. “We offer a drop-in rate, punch passes, monthly and annual rates, and we can mix and match your classes and your gym membership. There are a lot of different opportunities to get what you need here.”
High Country Crossfit, Basalt
High Country Crossfit in the Basalt Industrial Center is another Mid-Valley fitness program that focuses on building community within its four walls.
John Pattillo purchased High Country Crossfit in September 2018, and he is focused on creating a business that is “more than just a gym.”
Pattillo’s business plan has his operation “creating a hub for healthy lifestyle and athletics” and offering special events like group cookouts, community outreach programs (to the Aspen Skiing Co., for example), group bike rides and daily workouts.
“Crossfit is a little different from many other gyms,” Pattillo says. “Most of the machine-focused, work-out-on-your-own gyms sign up about 90 percent of their new members in January. I think it's a little different with Crossfit because we are more community based, and it’s a little more of a contemplative decision to start up a membership.”
High Country Crossfit has seen about a 10-percent increase in membership at the beginning of 2019. But their signup of new members is more even and balanced throughout the year.
And new members can receive a special promotion.
“We offer a discounted rate for the first month, as well as two free fundamentals classes, where we take you through the fundamentals of Crossfit,” Pattillo says. “If you become familiar with the movements and with the language, you don’t have any unnatural impediments to feeling comfortable in the gym.”
But not every fitness program is for every body type, and Pattillo counsels his community in that fact.
“Probably the biggest thing I advise is patience,” Pattillo says. “If it took your lifetime to get you in the physical shape you are in now, it’s going to take a while to get you where you want to be, if we want to do it safely and in a healthy manner.”
High Country Crossfit offers a punch pass for those that want to test out what a Crossfit workout is, but they really prefer that you become a full member, become part of the local Crossfit community and start working out together.
Regular, spouse and corporate membership information is available on their website.
Whatever your fitness program becomes, getting regular exercise is important to maintain health. Late last year, the U.S. government issued new recommendations on the importance of adding movement into our daily lives, especially when we sit for so many hours each day.
So as 2019 dawns, look around the Roaring Fork Valley and find a fitness program that moves you. Your body will thank you.