Training Tuesdays: Navigating the New Years’ Gym Rush

Oh January, you are so very full of renewed commitments to fitness and health, of inspiration to get back into shape. As a result, you trigger a massive influx of people into the gym. And I hate it.*

Normally I avoid the gym for as much of January as possible, waiting for the inevitable drop in motivation that comes in February. With my injury, however, I’m forced to spend more time working out indoors.  Whether you’re trying to avoid the January crowds, or whether you’re one of the many getting recommitted to your health, here’s some tips to keep you from getting frustrated or to keep you from losing your motivation.

1. Adjust your workout times: Through a completely non-scientific study (i.e. this is all my own anecdotal theory), I’ve found that January’s gym goers tend to flock to the gym before work, at lunch, or after work. This makes sense. We are all trying to fit workouts into our work lives. If you have flexibility in your schedule, try visiting the gym mid-morning (I am a big fan of the 10am workout) or mid-afternoon.  Most others will be at work and you’ll find things a little less crowded.

2. Adjust your gym days: If you’re not like me and can incorporate some outdoor workouts into your weekly schedule, try to keep your gym workouts to Thursdays and Fridays. This is a pro-tip from my personal trainer. She used to work at a major gym chain and found that the new years’ rush is heaviest Monday-Wednesday. Many new gym goers push themselves so hard at the beginning of the week that they’re sore and tired by the time Thursday and Friday roll around and tend to take days off.

3. Go with a backup plan: If your gym is anything like mine, there isn’t unlimited equipment. I’m a big user of spin bikes and, although my gym is massive, it only has three of them.  Particularly this time of year, it’s a crap shoot as to whether I can get one. If I go to the gym only with the plan to spin, I may find myself out of luck, so I take a back up plan with me.  No spin bike? That’s ok, my back up is a strength workout or using the stair machine or whatever else is a suitable replacement. Being flexible with your plans will keep you from getting frustrated when you encounter a treadmill hog or even the person who’s hoarding all of the kettle bells (it happens).

Armed with these quick tips, you can now make the most of your January gym workouts whether you’re new to the gym or an experienced gym-goer. Happy workouts everyone!

*Please know this is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. I actually fully support people’s goals to get fit and healthy, even when it’s triggered by new year’s resolutions. It’s just personally inconvenient for me and I’m fundamentally selfish!

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