Full Tummies, Empty Gym

Americans typically pack on extra pounds during the holidays. And a quiet holiday atmosphere at one Washington, D.C., health club may show why.

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SHEILAH KAST, host:

While shoppers filled malls across America, NPR's Claudine Ebeid found that despite the heavy eating associated with Thanksgiving, a certain stillness fell over at least one gym in downtown Washington.

Mr. MICHAEL ELLIS(ph): Hi. My name is Michael Ellis. I'm a personal trainer here at Washington's Sports Club. As you can see, it's quite empty. Basically between Thanksgiving and New Year's, the people who come in are regulars. We don't get a lot of new traffic here because people are obviously planning other activities. After the first of the year is when everyone seems to come in and wants to lose that 200 pounds extra weight by tomorrow.

Ms. APOURA BROWN(ph): Apoura Brown, New York. I love it because you don't have to wait for a machine or anything. It's not crowded. It's much better than normal.

Mr. DARRELL FLETCHER(ph): Darrell Fletcher, Washington, DC. I love working out. I mean, actually, I don't have to wait for any equipment so it's pretty good. Thanksgiving, I had dinner with my family and friends over at their house over in Maryland; turkey, macaroni and cheese, you know, the works. So I'm trying work those--all those off now.

Unidentified Woman: Turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, greens...

KAST: A few voices at the Washington Sports Club, a scene of quiet determination this weekend in the nation's capital.

Unidentified Woman: ...Key lime pie, apple pie, something else and more stuff, eggnog.

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