Some people call them “Resolutioners” and some call them “January Joiners” and some call them “those people who hog the treadmills for 45 minutes to slowly
walk shuffle”. I’ve been guilty of harshly judging people who join gyms in January but something changed this year.
I spent a good chunk of Tuesday dreading going to the gym because I was convinced it was going to be overrun by people who had no interest in exercise but were there to suppress feelings of guilt. You have to understand that my gym is unusually peaceful. It’s brand new, modern (the treadmills have iPod charging docks and TVs), huge and doesn’t have a lot of members yet since it’s pretty expensive (luckily, I could piggy back onto a family plan that my mom has up in Pennsylvania and I pay next to nothing to be a member). I’ve been there at 6 pm and maybe 10 treadmills are in use. There is never a wait for a cardio machine and the weight area, which takes up the entire bottom floor, is usually deserted. Classes are never full. Basically it’s the best gym ever.
So I walked into the gym Tuesday night, grumbling about the crowds, and settled on a treadmill. The person next to me was reading the Economist, which I think takes a fair degree of concentration that obviously detracts from athletic coordination, and he was walking at 2.7 mph. I suppressed a scream, put down my water bottle, and started to stretch.
As I was warming up I scanned the room – I’m a pretty notorious people watcher – and I saw her. No, this isn’t a romantic tale, I saw a woman on a treadmill one row over busting her butt at 4 mph. And then I realized: Everyone has to start somewhere. Heck, I did Couch to 5K last June. It was recent. There are a lot of people who make a resolution to go to the gym out of guilt or to socialize but there are some who are finally getting the guts to change their lives. So I grabbed my stuff and switched treadmills so I could run next to this lady.
I didn’t have the guts to say anything to her – I was too nervous that I’d end up sounding like a know-it-all or a total creeper. So I just did my thing, smiled at her a few times, and hoped her first trip to the gym wasn’t so miserable that she changed her mind about exercise. I wish she would have observed my 9:1 run/walk ratio because it really looked like she was going to die a few times but there’s always next time.
So tonight when I go to the gym to do treadmill speedwork (double ugh), I will be more tolerant of the crowds. Besides, I know the guy reading the economist won’t show up too many more times 😉
How do you deal with increased gym crowds at the beginning of the year? Or are you a gym newbie?