Every January, it’s the same story: Formerly half-empty gyms are suddenly swarmed by the New Year’s resolution crowd, laying siege to our once-peaceful workout regimes.
All this hustle and bustle can create serious headaches — not just for seasoned exercisers, but for the newbies, too, who find themselves kickstarting an exercise program in an overwhelming environment.
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Whether you’re new to exercise or a seasoned vet, a frustrating, distracting, crowded gym can stall your progress. These 10 tips will help you transcend the chaos at the gym that comes with New Year’s bevy of resolutioners.
Have A Backup Plan
When it comes to working out in a busy gym, you have to be willing to think outside the box. This means adding a little flexibility to your routine when your Plan A just isn’t going to work out. For example, you can’t be so attached to the treadmill that you sit around waiting for one to open up; you have to keep moving. If the treadmill is taken, do some spinning or jumping jacks instead. If you want to bench press, but the wait time is too long, do weighted push-ups or dips. Come prepared with substitute exercises you can do, so that you’re not standing around idly.
Choose The ‘Off Times’
The busiest time at the gym, without fail, is after work, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. If you want to avoid a crowded, busy gym, you’ll want to try to schedule your fitness for non-prime time hours. Get yourself up early and out of bed to make the AM class instead (which is always quieter), or consider joining a fitness class or gym that is close to your office so you can squeeze in a lunch workout.
Incorporate At-Home Workouts
If the thought of dealing with the gym crowds every day makes your blood boil, do yourself a favour and stay home a few days out of the week. That doesn’t mean you have to quit training. There are plenty of rigorous, effective workouts you can do at home while waiting for the gym to calm down.
Make A Killer Playlist
Music can make or break how you power through your time at the gym — and it can especially help with tuning out distractions. Make sure to curate your very best pick-me-up tracks to get you focused on the music, the moment and your movements — and nothing else.
Find Your Inner Confidence
This one is for the gym newbies out there. The sheer amount of people at the gym can cause undo stress and anxiety for anyone, but especially if you’re just starting out. If you feel insecure about your body and think everyone at the gym is judging you the second you hop on the treadmill, you’re already setting yourself up for a stressful workout. Remember: everyone at the gym is working towards the same common goal — improving their fitness — so look for ways to improve your workout confidence, especially when you’re still starting out. This may mean new trainers and workout gear that makes you feel good, or enlisting the help of a gym buddy so you don’t have to go it alone.
Take A Deep Breath
When you’re freaking out about the crowded, busy gym, step back and take a deep breath. You can’t help that a million people turned out at the gym at the same time as you. There’s no use in stressing about things that are out of your control, so just breathe and let the stress of the situation go.
Wait It Out
This January rush won’t last long, folks. That’s because only 8 per cent of people actually end up sticking to their New Year’s resolutions. Come February, your gym will likely be back to normal, so be patient, wait politely for your equipment and understand that the newbies are just trying to get fit, like everybody else.
Lead By Example
When the gym is swarmed, understand that it’s not because these people are out to get you. Everyone at the gym, newcomers and veterans, are working towards a happier, healthier life, just like you. So lead by example. Practice proper gym etiquette, and treat all gym goers with respect, patience and kindness. Not only will you and others have a happier workout, but you may just make a new friend along the way.