Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness and nutrition courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+.
The New Year is upon us, which means there are 500 new members descending upon your gym. Once those wanna-be gym bunnies storm the gates, say goodbye to your uninterrupted circuit workouts. But instead of trying to alpha them out of “your” gym, here’s a few ways to deal with these pesky new Joiners who’ve taken over your sweaty sanctuary.
1. Improve Form
Instead of judging their poor form, use it as a reminder to check your own. Full extension, every time. Don’t overarch your squats. Yes, you should breathe. No, you shouldn’t take that progress selfie in between reps. Never. Drop. Weights. Leading by example, with perfect form, is the best way to demonstrate what your gym is all about. And for the love of God, please don’t horde all the dumbbells… they’re not going in your make-up kit.
2. Forget the Smoothie Bar
In a vast majority of gym chains across the country, most items on the in-house smoothie menus are full of sugar. Some of them don’t even include protein! Grab your newest swolemate and make a better alternative at home. Quest just released an awesome Cookies & Cream protein powder. It’s an isolate blend with a bunch of crunchy little protein cookie crumbles in it, so it’s pretty much a Muscle McFlurry.
3. Smarter Workout Timing
New members following the get-fit trend are most likely trying to squeeze it into their current schedules, so an end-of-the-day trip to the gym is probably going to be even more jammed than the freeway you took to get there. Early birds get the worm… early bunnies get the squat rack, the bench, and even those slick new Virtual Reality treadmills. Joiners are just another reason to get back into the better habit of working out before dawn. The pre-breakfast workout is a no-brainer, as a recent study has shown that you get a lot more benefit from a morning workout than you from an evening one.
4. Embrace the Community
A new member at the gym could be your new best friend or your new worst enemy. It’s up to you, the BOSU Ball is in your court. Leave your phone in the locker room and actually try engaging with real people. Recent studies have shown the mutual benefits that come from working out with a buddy, from increased cardio endurance to lower dropout rates amongst couples, so turn these annoyances into assets… unless you want to stay soft in 2016.
5. Get outside!
For those fortunate enough to live in a region covered in snow, take advantage of this limited-time opportunity to really push your body to the limits. If you’re not much of a skier or snowboarder, this might be a good time to try out a new hobby (you’d be surprised how cardio-intensive cross-country skiing and snowshoeing actually are). If all else fails, just go for a run outside in the cold. Lighting your own internal fire to stay warm is right up there with adrenaline and a runner’s high, so take advantage of the seasonal opportunity.
No matter what you do, or when you go, that gym is going to be packed. But once they start pouring in, resist the urge be a Grinch this January… you were a Joiner once, too.