Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Invasion

Please don’t get all offended because I say that the gym is annoying this time of year. It doesn’t mean I don’t support people working out or having new starts. It just means that the gym is annoying this time of year. Suddenly in January everything becomes super crowded, then by February it’s over. Where’s the follow through?

Don’t misread me. I’m not annoyed that the gym is crowded. That shows that people want to get healthy. I am annoyed that people give up and stop coming.

If you are part of the 13% (I made that number up) who actually stick to your new 2012 plan, you are amazing.  You should be congratulated for doing what you said you were going to do.

There is nothing magical about January. Any day of the year is time to start. There is nothing magical about taking on a goal so huge that you’ll never be able to accomplish it. That is just begging failure. There is, however, something magical about taking one small step every day in the direction of making yourself who you want to be. That is not about the month in January. That is about every single day.

I’ve been there. Believe me. Broken promises and resolutions, failed commitments. I used to be 30 pounds heavier and not be able to run a mile. Eventually, I stopped making excuses and stuck to it. That’s all. End of story. Everyone starts somewhere.

Speaking of gyms, I read a hilarious article in the Wall Street Journal today: 27 Ways to Conquer the Gym. My favorite truths:

  • No one in the history of gyms has ever lost a pound while reading The New Yorker and slowly pedaling a recumbent bicycle. No one.
  • Don't fall for gimmicks. The only tried-and-true method to lose 10 pounds in 48 hours is food poisoning.
  • Gyms have two types of members: Members who wipe down the machines after using them, and the worst people in the universe.
  • Avoid Unsolicited Advice Guy, who, for the small fee of boring you to death, will explain the proper method for any exercise in 45 minutes or longer.
  • Fact: Thinking about going to the gym burns between 0 and 0 calories.
  • There is no secret. Exercise and lay off the fries. The end.

How is your gym in January?

What would be your advice to “conquering the gym?” My advice is that  you don’t have to wear perfume and make up to get in a good workout.

SUAR

56 comments:

  1. So where do I start? I am super impressed by this post but even more impressed that you read the Wall Street Journal. Damn....you go!

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  2. I would also add that those who prefer to bike and run outside are also heading inside more now due to the weather. That also adds to crowding.

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  3. My gym has been nuts lately, but I went this morning around 7am and GASP! It was completely dead! Don't know if I just hit the sweet spot or if people already gave up... but I'll take it :)

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  4. Had a lady next to me yesterday say.....I usually make it 21 days. My goal this year is 22.
    Go. Random. Lady.

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  5. The secret here appears to be going home first, then going to the gym. Apparently the resolution crowd doesn't have that in them. With that said, my yoga class is at 5:15 and I am damn sure gonna be on a mat before 5 so I don't have to be in the front row.

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  6. Love this! And you're spot on with taking small steps every single day. Seems like that's the only way to truly break free of bad habits and replace them with good and long-lasting ones.

    My conquer-the-gym advice would be to show up early. Get it done before the crowd even gets there, and get it done before you find an excuse to stay home.

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  7. I ran outside today and swear even the streets were a little more crowded!
    But the 2 spin classes I've been to this year were both full.

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  8. Love it. My advice is 'go with a plan'. I hate the people that just meander around... do some arm reps... sip on water... look around... eventually hop on an elliptical... sip on more water... *sigh*

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  9. Re: Gym Truths...

    I push a buck-forty soaking wet. Offensively single-digit body fat. I have a build like Beth's (different plumbing, but you get the picture). I'm not a power-lifter, either by technique, physique, or intent.

    So I LOVE the guy who stands 6'3", was a 240# linebacker in high school, has loaded another 100lbs to his frame since then (not muscle, mind you) who feels compelled to advise me in my training routine.

    Ponderous, man....ponderous.

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  10. I would also add that wandering around the gym in workout apparel (even the $250-outfit kind) does not a workout make.

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  11. Not sure about the gym, but I am expecting to be overrun with Weight Watchers meeting newbies when I go to my meeting on Saturday.

    More power to them, but I hope they realize that it's not going to all come off in a week and then complain for the next month about how they're not losing enough.

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  12. My advice - They aren't really judging you. It's all in your head.

    (unless you're being an asshole, then we are judging you).

    I haven't been to my regular gym yet this year (oops) so I don't know what it looks like in there. 5:30 CrossFit is still the same. Something tells me newbies don't jump right in to that one.

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  13. That totally looks like the Bikram studio I used to go to...or do they all look the same? What if you're reading a spicier mag than The New Yorker? One that might get your heart racing a little?

    I am so glad I don't go to a gym.

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  14. First of all, kudos to those people who are at least TRYING to get into the routine and WANT to make a difference. That being said, I'm braving the cold as much as humanly possible and being as inventive as possible at home so I DON'T have to go to the gym when it's THAT busy.

    I'm a former rower and to have some guy probably 2x my weight who obviously broke a sweat just changing clothes to work out come up to me and tell me how I *SHOULD* be using an erg (rowing machine) makes me want to PUNCH THEM IN THE FACE. No joke, has happened twice in the past 3 weeks. Thank GOD this last time one of the trainers there who has known me for years came right over to usher the man the other direction when I shot him a death glare.

    Or I get the person who really IS too sick to be at the gym on the eliptical next to me (normally on a day my knee is hurting so I CAN'T just go run).

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  15. It's been so nice here in my city that nobody should even be inside a gym. That said I am trying out hot yoga, so we'll see if in Feb I'm still up and at it.

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  16. I'm there between 4 and 8 am to avoid the annoying-ness.

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  17. With the exception of me, my gym is empty, unless the cat wanders in or Lady J is on her bike trainer. Oh yeah - home gym. Be jealous.

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  18. My fav. are the ladies that go to my regular body pump class decked out to the nines, show up, set all of the freakin equipment up, talk in-between sets, miss half the sets because they are so busy talking, and then pack up and put it all away 1/2 way through an 1hr long class. Seriously, why bother in the first place? Just to say you went?

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  19. I joined our local Y because I am a cold weather wimp, but then Mother Nature pulled the ultimate New Year's prank and made it freakin' beautiful outside off and on the last couple of weeks so I've barely gone.

    Love EMZ's random lady. You go girl!

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  20. The title made me laugh.

    It makes me think that when I notice any "non-regular" at my gym who first appears in the month of Not-January, I am far more likely to see that individual 3 months later than a "resolutioneer".

    IMHO, most fail because they want the effect without doing the work.

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  21. I love those truths because they are just so... TRUE! I hate advice guy. HATE him.

    I will admit that although I think it's great to see people getting active, I am the first to be annoyed when I have to wait for a treadmill. Guilty as charged and YES, I am an awful person.

    But, I no longer go to the gym because I bought a treadmill (best purchase EVER) and we have a bike trainer and weights. No more waiting in line for this girl AND I can run naked. Boo-ya!

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  22. My gym was bananas on Monday. Then someone told me that it was because not only was it the first Monday in the year, but because most people also had the day off, so EVERYONE was there Monday at like 10am, to get done before the bowl games. It was back to the "usual" on Tuesday, and flat out deserted yesterday. Today was more normal, except for the old couple on the ski machines in jeans. That was classic, but at least they were there moving.

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  23. Do I sense the start of a "We Are The 13(-ish)%" movement?

    -GR

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  24. I have a really similar philosophy about January 1 as you. Why not start any other day of the year. What makes Jan 1 this magical date. I wrote a post about it the other day here: http://wp.me/p1XUSi-am but the gist of it is that we have the ability to make a genuine impact on our lives and the world around us everyday. So start. :)

    And I actually don't belong to a gym. The open road is my gym. Nature is so much prettier than a sweat box (and some of the people that frequent it!).

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  25. My gym was a MADHOUSE on Monday morning, and because of it, my trainer was running behind! I started my weight loss odyssey in February, proving that January 1 is just another date. I have made and broken New Year's resolutions in the past, so in 2009, I just walked up to a trainer and told him I needed help. I've stuck with it and now I'm addicted to working out. : )

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  26. A friend and I call them baby sea turtles because so few of them survive.

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  27. yeah, the pool was not pretty today. Even at 5:30 a.m.

    My advice? Spend more time in the actual gym than in the locker room getting pretty after. (And while you're at it, don't prance around naked. Especially if you're only here for January)

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  28. I have it easy...my gym is in my living room! A treadmill, some hand weights, and a yoga mat. Nice and quiet and I don't get angry stares because I have been on the treadmill more than 30 minutes!

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  29. I just ranted on my blog about this! My gym last was one of those giant, shiny gyms that attracts everyone and their mom. So come January 1, the row upon row upon row of every piece of cardio equipment was filled with people barely moving whilst talking on their phones, to their friends next to them, reading a novel, the newspaper, some magazine, watching tv, and so on. And I would stand there and wait and wait and wait, probably burning more calories by raising my blood pressure than they would be hanging around the gym. It's not that people are starting that piss me off, it's that they aren't even trying. Those are the ones that will be gone in a couple of weeks.

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  30. 30lbs heavier? Wow, I had no idea. Would love to see a post featuring a photo of you from before (b/c I honestly cannot picture you being out of shape).

    And yes, the gym gets crazy this time of year. Its annoying, but brief.

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  31. Yea my gym was definitely more crowded on my first day back on Tuesday. I saw a lot of new faces and I think it's great that they are starting now, but if you can't stick to it then you shouldn't have wasted your money. Sad to say.

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  32. Thank you for this post. I feel the same way. If people didn't give up so quickly then the gym would always be busy and we'd have no reason to bitch because we'd be used to it. I am all for people getting healthy and fit but it also annoys me how quickly people give up.

    I think the number of those that say committed to resolutions is less than 10 percent.

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  33. I have never worked out at a gym, only when I was in school. But I can imagine :) it would be hell!!!!!

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  34. I'm not a gym-goer anymore, but I do remember the January crowds followed by the February lull. The loud talkers always annoyed me most. Shut Up and Work Out.

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  35. Hey- I'm part of the 13%... From last year. And still going strong.

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  36. I'm dreading the gym-crowd too. 1/2 my gym crowders are older ppl who read romance novels, peddling the bike at 5 mph. I mostly am upstairs w/ the dudes in the free weight room, where advice guy is always lurking, so i mainly just ignore everyone, blare my Pitbull and look mad. hhaa. I think most ppl there think I'm a freak or a snot. BRING IT 2012!!!

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  37. I will happily tolerate a busy January if it means those 87% will pay for a membership they don't use to keep the gym afloat for the remaining 11 months of the year. :)

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  38. Hate, hate, hate this time of year. But since I have my own treadmill and some Jillian DVD's I only go the gym to swim but hate having to park in overflow due to all the 2 monthers there. But I guess I get to walk further so that counts right? And can look at the geese and muskrats on the pond. Guess there are some advantages

    JessicaH

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  39. Thanks for the Wall st link, hilarious! I skip the gym all January. Usually the park is crowded in jan, too, but this winter it's kind of empty!

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  40. I agree. I support those who are honestly trying and I hope they will stick around! It's the ones that come to the gym in makeup, with hair all styled, drinking a trenta double whipped cream mocha and reading a Star magazine while walking 1mph on the Treadmill that make me want to throttle someone. That may seem like an over the top example, but there are a LOT of those types at my gym lately. Ridiculously annoying.

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  41. Oh sh#@! I think I married Unsolicited Advice Guy. Really I think I did and his exercise explainations drive me crazy.

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  42. You're a better person than I am. I'll admit it - I am annoyed!! Not by the new people working out, but by the new people circling the parking lot like vultures, trying to find the closest spot to the door. You are going to work out. Park your damn car and WALK!

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  43. My favorite part : "If you are part of the 13% (I made that number up)" Hahaha!

    SO glad I don't EVER work out in the gym.

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  44. Tara and I went to swim last night at 4:30 - we were SHOCKED that there was no one in the pool!! They were all up stairs I guess, there was not one available stairmaster to be found. Not that I wanted one or anything!

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  45. I thought my gym would be super crazy....but it's not! Spinning class was always full the month of December and now there are empty bikes each class. BodyPump has had a few more people - but again, some of them started showing up in December. The machines aren't anymore crowded than normal.

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  46. First I want to say that one of the absolute BEST things about your blogging is that you ask a question at the end - makes it so much more personal and MUCH more interesting to read the comments!!

    My gym advice is a bit rusty (I quit the gym when I met my husband. Not BECAUSE I met my husband, exatly.): It doesn't matter how cute you look in your gym clothes or how much they cost, if you don't get them sweaty they are WORTHLESS.

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  47. A lot of n00bs get scared and leave because they don't know what to do or who to ask. My advice to them would be to find a class and take advantage of the free training session most gyms offer as a incentive to sign up! Nothing's worse than seeing someone mill about for 1/2 an hour, maybe do 2 exercises, then get frustrated and leave (or worse, just sit on a machine doing nothing, talking on their phone and bragging how they're going to be there for another hour before they can meet up for drinks).

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  48. HAHA!!! Set realistic goals and understand that everyone does not want to be around you all sweaty if you have the plague. Having the plague is the only excuse to skip a workout (besides having a child or being in the hospital). Said workout can be at home, in a gym or on the road.

    With that being said setting any goal toward a healthier lifestyle is worth it! I agree on the perfume, leave that crap at home! This little girl shows up to impress the meat market every year around January (only time I ever see her) and she wheres a school girl skirt and high socks with heels! Are you kidding me!!! Oh and the melons are ripe and ready to pop out. I try to secretly take a picture and totally suck at it, one day, one day...

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  49. My gym will be more crowded next week as children head back to school and more families get on a schedule.
    As for my advice, I have several (from my observation and opinions, only):
    1-wipe down your machines-if you don't, it is just nasty, ESPECIALLY if you sweat so much on the 'mill or elliptical that puddles are on the floor-that's just plain gross
    2-..and as a result and observation of someone actually doing my #1 advice, I now wipe down the machine, with a sanitary napkin, before AND after I work out
    3-DO NOT walk around naked in the locker room, WHATEVER age you are-no one wants to see your 'goods' and, trust me, you don't look that great, as most people don't naked! This mostly occurs with the 'senior' age...for some reason ..I'm not really sure why they feel the need to strut around naked...entitlement? PS-I hear it's just as bad, if not worse, in the men's locker room
    ..and last...
    4-No, I do not need any help or guidance using a machine-I realize this is your way of hitting on me, but if I need help, I will ask someone and it probably would be an employee! :) My headphones in my ears mean something...I'm focused and leave me alone!

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  50. Yeah, I've changed the time of day that I attend and it's still crazy crowded. I don't mind the gym being crowded but the locker room being crowded SUCKS!

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  51. I find fridays are still okay at the gym in January.. the newbies are a M-Th crowd.. Loved this article! One of my favorites.. If you need to bring your children, just let them loose in the silent meditation class. Nobody minds, and kids love candles.

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  52. Especially love the invasion if you teach group fitness classes. I just wish they would continue to come. That way I could always plan on that many people and not have to guess how many will show up!

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  53. I went to the gym yesterday to ..... CANCEL my membership! How's that for New Year Resolution?

    The crowd. Oh my!! The parking lot was full, and there was spillover to the business across the street that had already closed for the day. I am just glad I was on the way out of the gym and going home to run on my treadmill ..... :)

    I am soooo lucky it is sickening!

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  54. Hilarious! "Gyms have two types of members: Members who wipe down the machines after using them, and the worst people in the universe."

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  55. I switched from the YMCA to a nicer, bigger gym in November, and so far it's been about the same as it was when I started. Maybe I just go at wonky times, I dunno.

    As far as advice, I try not to make eye contact. I'm in my own little sweaty world and want to be left alone.

    But, I have to agree with you about the people who basically just take up space - barely pedaling the bike, or doing the 100-yard mosey on the treadmill. Seriously folks, you're wasting your own time if you're not getting your heart rate up or working up a sweat. If you're just sitting there, watching Kathie Lee and Hoda, it doesn't qualify as exercise. Get movin' or get off!

    Sorry. Rant over.

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