If you are anything like me, you are currently struggling to crawl out of the sugar and alcohol induced holiday food coma that you’ve spent the past few weeks throwing yourself into. I sincerely respect the willpower of those of you who can limit or moderate your holiday treat consumption. I, however, am unabashedly not one of those people; there is no shame in my Christmas cookie game. Cake for breakfast? What could be more Merry? Alas, it is now December 29th and as I sit here feeling like a big pile of cookie dough myself, I completely understand why people choose to make their New Years resolutions to get in shape. Sure, the first day of a new year holds some sort of meaningful symbolism, but I think more than anything the timing just coincides with the post-Holiday binge fest.
Regardless of the reason, the gym is about to get crazy.
Beginners terrified of the weight machines. Regulars scowling because spin class is suddenly full. Resolutioners going to town on the elliptical for an insane number of hours a week in attempts to burn off the Holiday indulgences, but only end up burning themselves out instead. The parking lot is full and so are all of the treadmills. Add in the fact that you’ve got college kids home on vacation, and your gym, like mine, is becoming a madhouse.
But together, we can survive the Gympocalypse.
Like it or not, this chaos will inevitably pass in the matter of a few weeks (I’m in the not liking it camp, I wish everyone would workout more often). But in the meantime, there is plenty that we can all do together, both beginners and gym regulars a like, to make the New Years Resolution season less chaotic. Further, if you are a “New Years Resolutioner” yourself, there are many steps you can take to ensure that your experience is a positive one, and hopefully foster a lifelong path of fitness instead of becoming one of the resolution-“I quit the gym after January”-statistics. Here is a collection of posts full of tips, motivation, and probably a little bit of soapbox/lecturing, because I do that from time to time, to help prepare you for Gympocalypse 2015.
1) BE NICE TO EACH OTHER. Nothing breaks my heart more than seeing someone with the best of intentions being driven out of the gym due to intimidation by another gym-goer. EVERYONE started somewhere, including you, so be nice to the new comers. Please read: Those Damn Resolutionists.
2) Gym Etiquette 101: tips for beginners and reminders for regulars. Re-racking weights, butt sweat, and more. Everything you need to know about maintaining a happy workout environment at the gym (and avoid having employees like me chase you down. Kidding. Sort of.)
3) What is the best machine at the gym? I’m glad you asked. Lots of people often do. Here’s your answer.
4) The Fat Burning Zone: It’s probably not what you think it is. So let me explain, help you avoid becoming a slave to the cardio machines, and ditch the “fat burning zone” mentality.
5) Don’t compare yourself to others. I know, this is a classic “mom lecture”, but it is incredibly true when it comes to your fitness journey. We are built very differently, we all have varying strengths and weaknesses. Be proud of YOUR accomplishments.
6) Avoid burn out. Nothing is as motivating as a brand new goal. On day #1 you can nearly see those 6 pack abs or a sub 4 hour marathon finish! Day 10, however, is often less appealing; swimsuit season seems light years away, and you’ve already become frustrated with your running pace. Train with purpose and avoid burnout.
7) Supplements. Protein powder, creatine, pre-workout, oh my! Supplements are a big seller in the fitness industry, but now is the time of year when everyone seems to be pushing their product of choice down your throat. Some are good, some are junk, but most aren’t necessary for beginners. Before adding any supplements to your diet, make sure you understand what they are meant for and how they work.
8) Pick up those weights! Are you a runner? Joining the gym just to get in some warm treadmill miles? You’ve got a Boston Marathon goal and think there is no time for anything but mileage? Think again.
8) Ignore the fitness bullies. So often I hear the “Your workout is my warm-up” quip, or the ever popular meme declaring “Zumba? B*tch I lift” (crossfit, whatever. ) Here’s the thing guys: in a society riddled with inactivity and obesity, we can’t be beating each other up over workout choices. In my book, if you are moving with the goal of bettering yourself, you are right. End of story.
Have any tips to add? Posts of your own? Link below! Likewise, if you are a beginner and have any questions, please ask in the comments section below.