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January Is a Tough Time for Regular Gym Members

Don't Let Crowds at the Gym Get You Down

If you're a regular gym goer like myself, it's easy to get disgruntled during your time at the gym in January. As more people resolve to get fit in 2008, this means less parking and more lines for equipment and shower stalls.

Distract yourself from getting too upset about the sudden influx of people at your gym by using this time to tweak your own routine with ideas such as:

  • Foregoing going to the gym after work with the masses. Think about trying to go at off times or even early in the morning. Maybe now is the time to try that 6:00 a.m. spin class you've always wanted to take.
  • Respecting the 30-minute limit on cardio machines. Keep reminding yourself that despite the crowds, you're still doing something fabulous for yourself even if it's 30 minutes instead of your usual 45. I find myself using the StepMill a lot more in January since the popular treadmills are always full, the less popular machines are often available — it's great because I have a hard time pushing myself to do it otherwise.
  • Taking advantage of all the specials that gyms offer as a result of the New Year — maybe now is the chance to try out that fabulous new gym on the corner that is way out of your budget but offering two weeks free.

Unfortunately most folks who start a new fitness program in January are burned out by April, so things should calm down in a few months. Do me a favor and and give yourself a pat on the back for not falling into this trap and realizing that fitness for health is a lifetime commitment.

Have you noticed that your gym is extra crowded? If yes, please share how you deal with it in the comments section below.


Join The Conversation
chynablue chynablue 9 years
OMG, FitSugar, you will appreciate this! I was on the treadmill, training for my 5k, next to an unhealthy looking woman who was walking less than 2 mph for 30 minutes. But, good for her for being there and at least putting forth some effort. She kept staring at me and looking at me as I was running, so I just smiled at her. So, I measured my heart rate with the hand bar and it was 168, which is my target. She freaked out and told the gym attendant because she thought I was going to die! Can you believe it? This kind of stuff only happens right after the New Year...
mwmsjuly19 mwmsjuly19 9 years
I get annoyed, but I've been going to my gym for years, so I can make do with free weights, bands, a jump rope and the mat until I get a cardio machine if I want one. The benefit of not being a fitness newbie is that I am more aware of how to get a good workout even in a crowded gym. But I hate signing up for a treadmill while waiting for some newbie to finish walking on it while drinking -- wait for it -- a sweet tea!
reeeeka reeeeka 9 years
these are some of the reasons people who are big don't go to gyms even when they've hit that point in their life that they do want to get healthy. It's pretty sad that even a smaller person can't go in a gym as a newbie without being stared at and treated badly...IMAGINE going in as a larger/obese person! wow
tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
I've been having the same problem lately. Not just the machines, but the popular classes fill up so fast! It's annoying enough that I end up being sort of glad that attendance drops off sometime in February.
tuliprush tuliprush 9 years
I really like squirrellypoo's idea up there: there should be one machine of each type set aside for the gym veterans, like an express lane. haha. Yeah, I go to LA Fitness and it is beyond packed right now. I have been going at lunch this week to work out b/c it is too frusterating to go after work and have to deal with all of these people. And I also agree with the consensus that FitSugar's estimate of it cooling down around April is way off. Most of these people are done by Valentine's Day.
Kate14909563 Kate14909563 9 years
I started going before work in October, so I no longer really feel the impact of the January rush. Wednesday was busier than normal but that was pretty much it. I remember that last year it was so busy after work I am truly glad that I switched times!
squirrellypoo squirrellypoo 9 years
"burned out by April"? The resolutioners in my gym are nowhere to be seen by Feb 1st! Every year it's exactly the same - I think there should be one machine of each type set aside for the veterans, like an express lane for being there year after year...
onesong onesong 9 years
ashcwebb, thanks for the shoutout :( i'm a gym misser for the past year, and thanks to my, uh, "healthy" eating habits, i've gained darn near 50 lbs (yeah. i eat a lot anyway. the gym is the only thing that keeps it off.), and i made a resolution to go. boo for being a lamer, sorry ladies...but i'm a welcome-backer, right?
Spectra Spectra 9 years
Ha, this is so I'm typing this, my husband is putting together our "new" Bowflex to round out our home gym. Now I have an elliptical machine, weights, and a nice TV all together so I get to AVOID all the January newbies. But I do remember that when I did belong to a gym, the January crowd pretty much tapered off by about the 15th or so. Maybe some hardcore folks would stick around til February, but for the most part, people don't tend to keep resolutions. I guess I should be more encouraging, but it does piss me off when people join a gym because they think they "should" or something and they don't have a clue if it's even the right environment for them.
nancita nancita 9 years
Good tips. I'm heading off to the gym after work, and this will at least help steel me!
susanec susanec 9 years
I'm more irritated at the gym for not having parking, one is brand new but the surface lot is tiny. Not smart.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
gosh now I'm nervous to go tonight. Ugh. Luckily my gym is pretty small as is, I cant see it getting TOO crazy. But if it does I guess I'll be checking out the new fitness DVDs i got for christmas and training for my 5K outside! At least I've got options!
ash_marisa ash_marisa 9 years
me and my fiance just switched gyms over christmas to a much nicer one w we are "newbies" at our new gym, but are not newbies when it comes to our daily workouts. People were not kind to us yesterday, acting like we didnt know what we were doing, and taking over "their" rude people, we obviously know how to work out, people are indeed allowed to switch gyms (with amazing holiday specials it makes it even easier) and not be part of the resolution-crowd. So just because you see new faces at your gym does not make then "newbies" to working out....they may have just switched nice!
millarci millarci 9 years
Ugh! I hate going to the gym during January! There are so many people just because it's their so called 'new years resolution'. Why wait until the new year to start? It can be started at anytime. Silly people. They remind me of the people we call 'spring breakers' at college. A week before spring break the gym would be full of people thinking that a week at the gym will 'magically' give them a six pack. It was hilarious, but it made the regulars like myself frustrated. Going to the gym is a commitment everyone. Don't become one of those people who have that new years resolution but give up in a month or a 'spring breaker'. The regulars at the gym will thank you.
luvthebosox luvthebosox 9 years
My gym looked like a ghost town last week and a circus yesterday. Amazing what a difference a few days makes! Most of the newbies looked like they'll burn out way before April and things will be back to normal soon.
telewyo telewyo 9 years
I'm all for people wanting to get healthy but it is crappy when you go 15 minutes early and still can't get into a class because of all the newbies. I had to go half an hour early for my spin class and then watch other regulars get turned away and some of the first timers didn't even make it to the end of class. I think the gyms should notice this and add "beginners, or "trial" classes for January and February so that the regulars don't get pushed out and the newbies can figure out what they enjoy doing and it might be less intimidating for them to know that everyone in the class is trying it out too (one of the reasons I avoid the hip hop class at all costs is because I'm uncoordinated and everyone in there seems to know what they are doing).
linsita linsita 9 years
I'm torn on this issue. On the one hand, I'm so happy that people are trying to get fit and healthy. Although it's a relief when the crowds taper off by February, it makes me sad that some aren't sticking to their resolutions =(. And like fitsugar, I've forced myself to incorporate more variety into my routine, exploring less popular machines like the stepmill (kicks my a**!) during this craziness. On the other hand, I get overwhelmed with so many people at the gym; and I get frustrated when people misuse machines, not only are they potentially putting themselves at risk for injury, but they're decreasing the lifespan of the machine!
jkat jkat 9 years
I hate when these people flood the gym. New Years resolutions NEVER last. I find the people who just decide to make a real life change at a random time of the year, or for a reason (wedding, vacation, etc), tend to stick around a lot longer than these people. It probably doesn't help that the only time of the year these Resolution makers end up at the gym is the WORST time of year to be there.
7kimba7 7kimba7 9 years
Actually, the people disappearing is why I stopped making New Years resolutions. Clearly, many can't stick to them. I just commit to a lifestyle change and try my best to keep it up. I think it's depressing that it's a resolution for the new year and then in a month or two, the resolution is gone.
Leilanic1 Leilanic1 9 years
my gym was insane last night. every single cardio machine was taken - even the crappy ones. i did my weights and snagged the first eliptical machine I could. Its crazy that people get so motivated at the beginning of the year then disappear by April.
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 9 years
OOOOO...look at that boys ZEXY leg. =P
Brooke_72 Brooke_72 9 years
April? I find most of them are gone by the time the Super Bowl airs.
blue-skies blue-skies 9 years
My gym didn't look bad at all today! I've seen worse in "bad" hours, like lunch time. I'm a member at my university gym though and the term hasn't started yet, so I think it'll get crowded once people get back from their Christmas breaks. Sigh. I hope not!
Historygal3 Historygal3 9 years
My gym is a little more crowded, but there is never a line for a cardio machine. It has about 50 treadmills and parking is unlimited. Sometimes I get stuck having to wait for a strength training machine: in that case I usually find something new to do or ask the person if I can jump on with them.
athenac athenac 9 years
Come to think of it, my gym was pretty crowded this morning (5AM), and it usually isn't like that.
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