New Year, New....Aaargh, Give Me A Break!

There must be some industries which inevitably go very quiet at this time of year. Suddenly anything calorific, luxurious or fun is now viewed with suspicion. We're supposed to give things up, juice the living daylights out of any organic matter we can get our hands on and jog round and round in circles in the nearest park.

Anyone who doesn't work in the health and fitness industry must reasonably assume that January is a Good Time for business. Well yes and no. We do get plenty of new enquiries and some people even sign up for sessions. The trouble is that people who sign up in January are the least likely to make a long term commitment. Put it this way: if you need a special date to start something which should really be a regular habit, the chances are that you won't stick at it.

There's a certain type of message which I get at the end of a public holiday. Bank Holiday Mondays are very popular times for them. This is the pattern: I get a text or email with a sense of desperation about it. The person tells me in detail about how they need to “get fit”; often they say they want to lose weight. They haven't done any exercise for ages and want help. I reply, as I always do. Then I never hear back.

The thing about Pilates is that it should be a long term commitment. It's wonderful to teach a client who comes in initially to deal with an injury and several months on, once the injury is a distant memory, they realise that Pilates has become a natural part of their weekly routine. The rest of the body feels better, tasks that were once difficult or painful are now done with ease and they can't imagine not coming to class.

If working out is seen as a chore, or worse, some kind of masochistic punishment, it will never stick. It's a rare and lucky person who gets to old age without ever doing any form of exercise. (These are the type of people who smoke 20 a day, drink whisky every night and somehow get to 100 with all their marbles and barely a scratch on them, the bastards.)

If you hate organised exercise there's encouraging news: just being more active is good for us. Our ancestors had to work hard to stay alive and until very recently, just maintaining a home and getting from A to B was a work-out in itself. This is worth a read.

So, if you feel like trying Pilates in April, or October, or any other day but the few at the start of a new year, you're probably trying it for all the right reasons.

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