Annually, one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. And because of that you’ll see droves of new faces and out-of-shape bodies at your gym during the month of January. And while we should all applaud someone’s efforts to shed extra pounds and live healthier, it’s impossible to overlook the fact that a billion extra bodies cramming into a confined space isn’t a major disruption to us regulars.
So how do you handle the zoo-like atmosphere without going berserk? First, you gear up mentally. “It’s all about your mindset and when you train,” says Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute Expert and celebrity personal trainer Adam Friedman. “If you train at peak hours—in the mornings before work or in the evenings after work—there are going to be more people, so you can go in and be rigid and get frustrated, or work around it.”
“Be willing to think outside of the box,” Friedman advises. “When I’m training clients, I can’t be attached to a certain machine because if it’s being used we’ll be sitting around waiting. That can’t happen. I have to find a way to keep us moving.”
For example, if you want to bench press but the wait time is approximately four years, opt to do weighted pushups or dips. Be willing to switch gears at a moment’s notice and you’ll get less irritated with the dude texting, er, taking a 10-minute break on the bench.
Yes, you’ll have to turn your music down momentarily to actually—gulp!—converse with another human being, but the upside is that you A) get to do the exercise you wanted to do, and B) get a spotter out of the deal.
“Working in with someone else can force you to take longer or shorter rest periods than you’re used to taking,” says Freidman. “Plus, with a spotter, you’re able to push yourself a little more to get a couple of extra reps that you may not have gotten on your own.”
If you’re hell-bent on a piece of equipment and you wait for it to open up, don’t be in a hurry to vacate it after it’s yours. Depending on your typical workout, perform reps of 12, 15, or 20 reps for five or six sets (or five or six reps for five or six sets). This can help place new demands on your muscles and make the wait worthwhile.
Remind yourself the crowd will disperse sooner rather than later. The International Health, Racquet & SportsClub Association (IHRSA) has claimed that gym memberships spike about 12 percent in January. However, between 30-45 percent of people cancel their membership within six months.
If the mere thought of dealing with more crowds and pools of sweat left on benches and ABC gum staring at you in the water fountain makes your blood boil, do yourself a favor and stay home. That doesn’t mean you have to quit training. Use any of these three at-home workouts to keep your training goals on track while you wait for things to calm down.
BY ZACK ZEIGLER