Local News

Fitness centers bending over backwards to keep members

Posted April 5, 2009 10:29 p.m. EDT
Updated April 5, 2009 11:47 p.m. EDT

— The financial crunch has some gyms feeling the burn. Several Triangle workout facilities are reporting a recent drop in memberships.

"I think we definitely experienced some slowness due to the economy,” said Tony Buglak, regional president of Gold's Gym.

Buglak says business is down about 15 percent at Gold's five Raleigh locations. As a result, fitness classes and staff have been cut. However, the facilities are doing what they can to keep people working out.

"We've had people who have lost jobs and come in and told us they lost jobs and we've worked with them. We've given them two or three months free and let them back on their feet,” Buglak said.

At the YMCA, officials say business is up by about 7 percent but so is the need for financial assistance.

"Every branch in the Triangle has a financial assistance department. So we don't turn anybody away based on finances,” said Jon Mills, with the YMCA.

While memberships are down at some fitness centers, officials say existing members are using the facilities more often. Working out can be a great stress reliever for some people.

“When stress happens, you want to eat badly. You want to start doing the bad vices, rather than the good vices. This is a good vice that really does make you feel better,” Buglak said.

YMCA officials say one reason they have seen an increase in memberships is because they are not just a gym, but a community organization that offers programs for people of all ages.