If you’re a devout gym-goer, you know the woes of the New Year. Fairweather fitness fans suddenly flock to gym, camping out on all the good machines, aimlessly/dangerously flailing kettlebells around like ninnies, and taking up precious seats in spin classes. It’s great that so many people take advantage of the beginning of the Gregorian calendar year to lose weight and get their health on, but when they crowd out regulars, it can raise some hackles. Instead of muddling through until most of the newly-minted exercisers inevitable drop off, January may be a good time to shake up your routine–and take a break from your gym.
Knowing that those who have made resolutions to lose some weight will ambitiously opt for year-long memberships, in an attempt to keep themselves committed, gyms will sign up just about anyone who comes through the door in January. But after just a few weeks or months, despite the cost, many stop going…and the gyms keep raking it in. The result? Tons of new members for a very short, uncomfortable period of time, which can impact the speed and effectiveness of your workouts. It can be frustrating–you want to support new-comers and congratulate them on their decision to get healthy…but you also want to have a satisfying workout.
Let the new members of your gym or class have the space they need to figure stuff out–you were new, too, once–and quit your gym in January. It’s the perfect opportunity to try something new, like a fun outdoor activity or a new kind of fitness class that’s just opened and may not be too crowded. Or, if you’ve been at it for a while, take the chance to level up, and go to a more challenging class, where there are likely to be fewer beginners.
January is also a good time to try something you’ve been dying to take a stab at, like hot yoga or something else that’s offered either on DVD or exclusively in a boutique studio. Many fitness DVDs go on sale at this time of year, which makes it a great time to stay home to stay in shape. Or, you can try a new class. Anticipating new enrollees, many yoga and dance studios rev up their class offerings for that popular month, and don’t require a membership like a gym does. Shop around, and take a few classes here or there–but of course, be respectful of those who have been at it a while. You don’t want to be the exact person in class that you’re avoiding in the gym.
Whatever you do for fitness in the New Year, don’t be snippy towards those who are new to the game. Sure, the additional folks trying to figure out what to do with the free weights can be a hassle, but making them feel uncomfortable won’t do anyone any good. Instead, take it as a cue to get out of your rut and into something you may not even realize you love.
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