By: Kirsten Marchant
Making the most of your surroundings- and avoiding the over-packed gym
January is the worst time of year to be an athlete. Come January 1st the number of people at the gym at any one time seems to triple, if not quadruple. Suddenly you are faced with waiting around to use any of the cardio or weight equipment and a workout that would have taken an hour in December suddenly needs 90 minutes in order to complete. As a very impatient person, I wholly dislike this but have a few plans in place to minimize having to deal with all these ‘new years resolutioners.’ (yes that is a made-up word).
Step number one, which I hope to be effective and eliminate the need for any other changes, is to arrive at the gym by 7am. Given that I am using a university gym, I am hopeful that by arriving this early the gym will still be a fairly deserted place. If you are using a community gym, I would suggest using the gym sometime between 9 and 11am- probably lots of retired folks there, but I would think the majority of people are at work at those hours (but then again, I’m always surprised by how many people are not). Whatever you do, don’t try to use the gym between 4:30 and 8pm- that is definitely the most crowded time.
If you have no other choice than to go to the gym late afternoon/ early evening, I would suggest you arrive with a healthy dose of patience and a plan to modify your workout if you are in a time crunch. Doing more intense workouts can reap big benefits in less time.
Another option is to avoid the gym completely. Use your surroundings to help you get your workouts in (but dress appropriately if you are outside!). For example, finding a long set of stairs to run up and down can provide a great workout. Having done this recently I would suggest not going up and down for an hour straight your first time- it results in very very sore legs! ☹
There are also plenty of strength workouts that you can do in your own home (or at a park). Some suggestions include: lunges (forward/back/side), squats, burpees, planks (all variations), push ups, bench dips, and core work (many options).
But hold out hope- statistically almost half the people will be done with their resolutions before the end of January, and 80% will have quit by March. Personally I just have to wait until mid-term time (6 weeks) and everything gets back to normal.
Side-note: If you want your New Year’s resolution to stick you have to have a better reason for making a change than “it’s a new year.”