Tuesday January 1, 2013

PITTSFIELD -- With New Year's resolutions in full effect, Berkshire residents are getting off their couches and onto a treadmill, and replacing that candy bar with a fresh salad.

As a result, business is increasing at local fitness centers and healthy food retailers.

"People have the new year in their mind, so they're feeling this is the time to make the change," said Tammie Carrier, the manager of Retro Fitness at 675 Merrill Road.

She said that Retro Fitness signs up 300 to 400 new members between December and February, compared to the 150 to 200 new members that sign up during the other nine months.

"They go strong at it at the beginning of the year. A lot continue, but some drop off real quick, which is sad," she said.

Business is also increasing across the street at Planet Fitness of Pittsfield at 690 Merrill Road. Marco Moreno, the center's manager, said, "it's definitely the busiest time of the year."

Almost 60 new Planet Fitness members signed up over the weekend, Moreno said.

"It does get more crowded than usual, especially during the evening when people are out of work," Moreno said. "We definitely see a lot of people that are new to the gym scene.

"We try to provide a judgement-free workout zone that is comfortable," he added.

But people still also enjoy working out at home.

The Fitness Store at 42 Summer St., is currently selling more of their bicycles, and treadmills, according to manager Loren Paduano.

"Most are out-of-towners and second home owners," he said.

But a healthy lifestyle is also about healthy eating.

Clearwater Natural Foods at 11 Housatonic St., in Lenox, is experiencing an increase in sales of their natural foods, supplements and liquid extracts, according to co-owner Ruth Wheeler.

"It's probably half-and-half new people and regular customers," she said. "People are wanting to start their new diet."