A month when gyms become the antidote to flabby excess, memberships swelling to meet the resolutions of those people determined this is the year when they will address their lack of fitness and tone. You see them in the first few days, ruddy faces etched with grim resolution as they pound treadmills and thrash away on exercise bikes. It rarely lasts, though, monotony replacing motivation until the roles become briefly reversed again 12 months later.
Lauren Millar recognises the cycle. For several years, the 21-year-old has tried going to the gym only to find herself bored after a few minutes despite her background as a gymnast and dancer. She needs something else to hone her fitness. Something more engaging. Something like trampolining.
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It is seven years since the Portobello youngster first experienced the sport but in the intervening years she has grown not only to love it – establishing herself as a competitor and coach at City of Edinburgh Trampoline Club – but also to appreciate the fitness benefits that it can bring. The problem is perception. "A lot of people say 'ach, it's just jumping up and down'," Millar concedes, confessing that she, too, was dismissive of trampolining when she first became involved while helping out at a summer camp. "I remember the first time I did it. I kind of thought that, because I was used to doing gymnastics, I'd find it really easy but everything was a total mess. I just wasn't used to the floor moving beneath my feet.
"There is so much more to it because you're doing proper gymnastic movements and composing really difficult routines but trying to balance at the same time. You need all of your core to work together and everything to be co-ordinated just to stay upright. Some of the adults, especially, think it looks easy but you should see them trying to keep their balance when they get on the trampoline."
Millar spends much of her time repairing those bruised egos. As well as studying for a sport and exercise science degree at Napier University and fulfilling her own demanding training schedule, her timetable contains around 15 hours of coaching commitments.
It might be familiarising toddlers with the movement of the mat or helping awkward adults avoid ailments; either way, Miller derives real satisfaction and enjoyment from her efforts and was rewarded last month with the sportscotland community coach of the year award.
"I just want to pass on my knowledge and love of the sport to the kids," she says, a little embarrassed by the attention. "Seeing them achieving their goals and being happy means as much to me as winning myself, to be honest, and that goes for both the adults and the kids. Put it this way, I'm not one of these people who can't stand going to their work."
Millar knows what it is like not to enjoy a sport, though. Having been first taken along to gymnastics classes by her mother at the age of two, she persisted with the sport for more than a decade and competed at national level before progress began to be replaced by frustration. "I felt like I'd reached a point where I wasn't getting any better," she recalls. "I was 14, struggling in competitions and just getting left behind, to be honest, but in trampolining I realised there was a whole load more for me to learn and I could progress further."
That development has taken her just shy of world-class level, with international competition on the agenda for this year after several seasons of impressive work on both the Scottish and British circuits. Millar's first goal is to qualify for the British Championships in all three disciplines – individual, synchro (pairs), and double-mini (a small trampoline in two sections that demands heightened gymnastic and athletic skills) – but appreciates that to do so she may need to scale back the coaching. "I'm a bit torn because I love that part of it so much," she admits. "It's great for the kids to see me competing at that level, though, because it gives them a role model, I suppose, and they can see what is possible if they keep working hard."
That also speaks to Millar's long-term aims. Having altered the perceptions of those she now coaches, her intention is to do the same with the authorities who are wary about allowing trampolining into schools, assuaging safety concerns with demonstrations and taster sessions.
She is keen, too, to add to the 100-odd clubs that already exist in Scotland by adding student classes at Napier, even if she realises the particular difficulties that taking part in national student competitions might bring. "I think they tend to be more focused on the social side; party on the Friday, compete on Saturday, then party again that night," she says. "The idea of trampolining with a hangover just scares me; I've never done it and I don't think I could. Imagine trying to do a somersault with a hangover . . ."