It's the most wonderful time of the year.....
Oh January.... you kill me every year.
Look, DO NOT get me wrong here. I am always in favor of people willing to change their behaviors to better their health. I love seeing new faces in my group fitness classes, working with people who have never exercised before in their life, and people coming back to fitness after a long hiatus. It takes a lot of guts to even step into a new gym, and I respect that.
However, it can suck for the rest of us who have been consistent all year round. Many gyms don't do us the courtesy of posting the rules of etiquette or discouraging "bad behavior" on the gym floor. It's not necessarily the "resolutioners'" fault, here.
What "bad behavior" say you? Not wiping your machines after their use. Hogging the exercise benches. Hogging exercise equipment. Not putting your toys back where you found them. Racking dumbbells and barbells in the wrong location. Interrupting people's workouts to flirt. Not asking if a machine is currently in use. Removing carabiners from cable machines and not putting them back. Moving someone's stuff in group fitness classes. Talking during group fitness class (*My biggest pet peeve... clearly.) Showing up late to classes. Interrupting classes. Spitting in the water fountains. Moving someone's stuff in the locker rooms. Not wiping down cardio machines. Going over the time limit (if applicable) on cardio equipment. Not washing gym clothes regularly. Singing along to your music on the treadmill (yup, happens). Grunting as loud as you can for attention when weightlifting. Treating the gym like a fashion show and not actually exercising.... I'll just stop here.
That. All of That.
Now, rather than bitch about how awful the gym can be from January 1st until early March, let me share with you my tips on how to make the gym SUCK LESS.
1) Swap out your Cardio
I can't tell you how many times I see people tapping their toes with furrowed brows next to the all-taken treadmills when there are 15 other machines unoccupied. Skip the wait and try something different! Rowing machines, stair climbers, jacob's ladder, and recumbent bikes are often overlooked for the more popular treadmills and ellipticals. I know you may have a set workout that you have to complete... but why not mix it up??? You'll learn something new, work different muscle groups, and possibly burn more calories. All good stuff!
2) If possible, avoid peak hours.
Look, I can't tell you exactly how it goes in your specific health club, but in LA, NYC, and now Denver it's all the same. Peak hours for gym times are 6-8am, and 5-8pm. You can certainly ask your front desk or membership advisor, but likely these are the most crowded times at any club. If you can, avoid these hours.
3) Change your location
Again, I can't promise you this will be true for every club... but ask to use the group fitness studios when they are not in use. Usually if you promise not to touch the stereo systems or instructor equipment, you should be fine. Same rules apply to returning equipment to it's proper place, and you will be frowned on if you "steal" something off the floor and don't return it within a timely manner. BIG fan of using this often overlooked space with my clients. This is the perfect location for walking lunges, plyometric drills, and stretching out in peace.
If you're unable to use studio space, use hallways and stairways with caution.
4) Get to class early
Unfortunately yes, your favorite group X class will likely be packed. So, show up early and make sure you have all of your stuff ready to go. Is it annoying to have to sacrifice more time to make sure you have your spot? Sure. However, this also means you have more time to warm up, work your favorite moves, get some extra abdominal workouts in, and possibly make a new friend.
5) Mix up your workouts
I know, someone has been swiping left for the past 15 minutes on the lateral pulldown machine. It's annoying AF when people hog equipment... and it happens ALL the time from 1/1-3/1. You can certainly ask them to "set in" (aka share, damnit!) nicely, or swap it out. Use the lesser known equipment like medicine balls, resistance bands, Bosu balls, and wobble boards to mix up your routine. This will help you out of a rut and again, work different muscle groups.
Take, for example, a very popular and my most-hated "adductor/abductor" machine. (Aka the "good girl/ bad girl" one.... so gross and NOT effective!) You will get more results training your hips by placing a resistance band at your mid-calve and walking laterally across the gym floor. Boom. Done.
Or try this awesome butt/ core combo:
My point is, try to have an open mind.
I get it. It sucks to share. Especially with a bunch of people who will likely quit before they even see results. Let's try to work together to make the gym a happier place from now until March.
Have questions or need help modifying for postpartum or pregnancy? Hit me up!