Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Keep your fitness resolution without becoming a Resolutionary.

Are you one of the vast number of folks who have pledged that January 1 is the moment when you decide to get healthier and start going to the gym? If so, I honestly congratulate you and hope you do end up making it a permanent part of your daily routine. However I ask that you do NOT become a Resolutionary. These are the folks that swarm into the gym from January through February, slowly disappearing over that time span, and generally fuck things up for everyone else. So I’ve decided to pass along a few tips to help you from becoming a Resolutionary. These are the sorts of things I never see in magazine articles about "fulfilling your new year's resoultions at the gym" that flood pages (and pageviews) this time of the year, so I hope you find this helpful.

Limit your time on the machines. If the place is packed, spending more than 30 minutes on a treadmill or elliptical machine is just unforgivably rude. Also, please note that you will get far more benefit from exercising against high resistance / at a higher speed for 20 minutes than you will for languidly moving your legs back and forth / strolling for 60 minutes. Just because you spend a lot of time on a machine does not necessarily equate to you actually getting fit.

Gym crushes are 100% OK to have and 100% NOT OK to act upon.* We all have gym crushes, usually on the cute boy(s) or girl(s) who work out around the same schedule you do. You admire their efforts, you admire their looks, you admire your dedication, and you admire all of this from a distance. Everyone knows people check each other out at a gym, c’mon, we’re all wearing little to no clothing for the most part, and we're all fighting to look and feel our best so there's definite a sense of community bubbling under there, but it is a social contract that we never creep each other out by actually acknowledging it while working out.

Speaking of social contracts, when you’re changing in the locker room, especially if it’s a high traffic time of day like early morning or right after work, please try to be cognizant of the space you take up. Most locker rooms are small but they have plenty of room for everyone to do their pre- or post-workout thing. This is not the time to lay your towel over some stools, your gym bag across some others, and sit in yet another while clipping your toenails.

Finally, do a little research before you go to the gym. Plan out what your workout will look like and check out how to work machines either at a library or online. Believe me, I remember when I started going to the gym and I know if can be a little overwhelming. Instead of wandering around slightly scared and confused though, a little preparation ahead of time can remove a lot of stress and pressure that may ultimately turn you off to working out at all.

So there you have it, a few super simple starting points to use if you want to avoid becoming a Resolutionary. Again, if you want to get healthier, I think that’s terrific and offer you my unending support. Just please try and remember to remain courteous to your fellow gym members while pursuing your goal.

BONUS TIP: I’ve talked about it before, and I’m sure I’ll talk about it again, but if you have an iPhone a terrific little tool to help you keep track of and attain your fitness goals is the LoseIt! app.

*One of my crushes was recently ruined when I finally saw her boyfriend and realized she was dating a complete douchebag. Of course then I had to step back and wonder how many guys have a gym crush on GalPal only to see me walk up to her, disappointing them that SHE is dating a complete douchebag.

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