Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Battle Between Avid Gym Users and Resolutioners

Ah the new year! I have amazingly high hopes for 2014 because there are so many great things happening. The number 1 most amazing thing to happen this year is that I am marrying my best friend in only 94 days. I have to say that 2013 was kind of a blur and I truly can't believe it went so quickly and we are now down to the final months but I am beyond excited.

January and the beginning of a new year can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. For most people, the new year brings a clean slate and a chance to start over with new goals. Usually, as we all know, those goals include new years resolutions which always include the top 3: Weight loss, exercising more and eating healthier.

The top 10 NY resolutions are:

1. Eat healthy and exercise more
2. Learn a new skill
3. Quite smoking
4. Lose weight
5. Drink Less
6. Reduce Stress/Get Organized
7. Save money
8. Volunteer More
9. Read More
10. Finish to-do lists

These are all admirable resolutions but to the health and fitness related ones. I have a few suggestions!

January is a heated month between regular gym goers and those with resolutions. To an avid gym user throughout the entire year, it becomes frustrating to walk into your normally open gym to find every machine, free weight and open area being taken up by someone and putting the stop on the workout you wanted to do. It becomes more frustrating to see these machines being used incorrectly or taken up for 60 minutes by someone reading a book and walking at a snails pace.

On the flip side, I am sure that walking into a gym after a while with a new resolution can be very intimidating for those folks. You feel lost, don't really know where anything is or how to use it for that matter. Questions arise like - "What is that thing with all the cables?" or "How much weight should I use? Should I be lifting? That ladies lifting."

Please let me preface any of this with saying that I think that any step taken to get healthier is a wonderful thing to do and I encourage everyone to get motivated to do so. I also understand that some people with resolutions haven't exercised in a long time and so they are at beginning fitness levels trying to work their way up and that's great!

So instead of feeding this fire of annoyance on both sides of the fence. I have a few helpful tips that I have from my time on both sides of the gym coin. I have been a newbie and I am now experienced in gym etiquette so let's make some agreements and keep everyone motivated!

For avid gym goers:

1. Maybe try to come to the gym when it isn't peak hours. Most people just starting out will be trying to come after work or before work, on a lunch break. Whenever they can fit it in to their normal routine with work, kids, etc. If you want more space, maybe come a bit earlier or later to avoid the crowd.
2. Try working out at home instead of hitting the gym
3. If you see someone using a machine in a way that could be dangerous or result in injury- be kind and offer some friendly help if they are receptive. Never make fun because you were once new at this too!
4. Try to support people - a friendly smile, "good job" or pat on the back could be the difference to someone continuing to come or quitting their resolution.

For new gym users:

1. Take the time to learn how to effectively get back into exercise and how the machines work. Every gym will usually provide new members with a tour and training session on how the machines work and using them safely and effectively.
2. Always wipe down your machines, mats, anything that you touched. January is a huge month for germs and every gym will ask you to wash your hands and disinfect any machine you use.
3. Wear proper gym clothes - too many times I see the man running in cargo pants or a woman in the "heat suits" that look like garbage bags to lose water weight. Not having proper fitting and breathing gym clothes can be harmful. This doesn't mean $150 stretch pants from Lululemon. Cheap gym shorts and a old tshirt will do just fine. Please no untied sneakers or see through leggings.

4. The most important - this might sound counter productive to the gym goers but KEEP COMING! I think the most frustrating thing about resolutioners to avid gym people is that we know that the machines are all packed now but half (statistically 48%) of those people will have given up on their resolution by February. Anyone who works out wants other people to feel the benefits from it too and keep up with it.

Take these tips or don't but to everyone who has a resolution, I truly hope that you are looking back at this time next year and are still keeping up with what you have promised yourself.