Surviving The Gym In The New Year

If you have been going to the gym for years, you are all too familiar with the crowds that show up every January. People love to set weight loss goals for their New Year’s resolutions and this brings newbie gym goers out in droves. If you are one of these new comers, let me just take a moment to commend you on finding the motivation to make a change in your life. Signing up for, and going to, the gym is an important step and if you have made it that far then you are on your way to burning off your stomach fat and getting those six pack abs that you have been dreaming about for years. Now all you have to do is stick with it.

Starting to workout for the first time, or after a long break, can be difficult. The gym can be an intimidating place if you are a first timer and if you aren’t in very good shape. Don’t let this stop you though. If you keep going, you will get over your hang ups and you will start to see results, and that is when it gets exciting. In an attempt to make the transition into gym life easier for you, I will address some of the more common concerns amongst new gym goers.

Is The Gym Always This Crowded?

No. There are definite patterns to gym traffic and you can easily learn and exploit them to make your gym experience more enjoyable. January is always the busiest time of the year for a gym. This is when everyone signs up in an effort to start the new year off right with a good New Year’s resolution to lose weight. If you just signed up at a gym, then this probably means you. Don’t worry though, most of those people (not you) will lose their motivation within the first three months of the year. Pretty soon, you will be looking around and wondering where everyone else went.

You can see this same pattern happen on a weekly basis. Monday signifies the start of a new week and a chance to start over on your weight loss goals if you let things slide the week before. Expect to see the crowds at the gym get smaller and smaller as the week goes on. By the time Friday night rolls around, you’ll have the place all to yourself.

There are also times of the day that are busier than others. The least crowded times will be when most people are at work. If you have the flexibility to do so, try going to the gym in the mid-morning or early afternoon while people are at work or school. Early morning, lunch and right after work are going to by the busiest times.

The Equipment I Want To Use Is Never Available

This can be a problem, especially if you are going to the gym during some of the busy times I mentioned above. Some equipment is more popular than others so you might have to be aggressive if you want to use your favorite equipment. There are a few things you can do to make this less painful though. For example, say you want to work on your bench press but you are having trouble finding an available bench. Try looking for someone who might need a spotter. Offer to spot them if they will return the favor. If they are using weights similar to the amount of weight that you would be using, you can work in with them. Another thing to try is to grab some dumbbells and do some curls near the benches so you will be ready to jump on the first one that comes available. You might also try using a bench press machine, if there is one available, instead of a bench and free weights. Just remember to be flexible. Make the best use of your time that you can. Don’t stand around waiting for equipment. You may have to vary your workout, but there should always be something you can do while you are waiting for something to become available.

I Don’t Know How To Use The Equipment

Just ask somebody. The employees at the gym should be able to help you learn how to use any of the equipment. You can also ask another gym member. Most people are nice and will be more than willing to help out. If you are too shy or uncomfortable asking for help, just watch other people using the equipment and you should be able to figure it out. Most gym equipment is fairly simple to operate.

I’m In Terrible Shape. I Feel Like A Fool Trying To Workout In Front Of People That Are In Shape

I know what you mean and I’ve been there before. However, in all my years of working out at gyms, I have never seen anyone make fun of or laugh at someone else for being out of shape. We all go to the gym to improve our bodies and our health and that puts us all in the same boat. People will respect you for your effort. Someday you will be the one who is in shape and you will see someone just starting out and struggling to make a change in their life. At that point, you won’t laugh at or look down on them. You will remember what it was like when you were at that point and you might even go out of your way to give them some advice or lend them a hand.

Working Out Is Boring

Personally, I like working out, but I hear this from other people. I think the best way to get past this one is to workout with a friend. If you don’t have any friends that workout, make some new friends at the gym. You will quickly learn who the regulars are at your gym and you are bound to not be the only one running solo. If you’re not the friendly type, buy an iPod and listen to music, books or podcasts while you workout.

My Muscles Get Really Sore After I Workout

Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution for this one. It’s going to happen. It will happen less as your body gets used to working out though. The best thing to do is just work through it. If you are getting unbearably sore, you may be working out too hard. When you are just starting out, make sure you ease into things. Take it easy in the beginning and build up over time. It won’t take you long to get to the point where the soreness won’t be a factor. If you are pushing your body and trying to improve, you should expect to feel a little soreness the day after a workout. It shouldn’t be more than you can handle though.

I hope some of this has helped to ease some of the concerns you might have about working out at a gym. My best advice is to just stick with it. It will be worth it if you do. I wish you luck with your goals and may this be the year that you finally get the body that you have always wanted.

If you have found any tips that might help someone else who is struggling to adjust to the gym, please leave a comment below and share your advice.

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