January 1: a day best encapsulated by the phrase “new year, new me.” Self-improvement is always a possibility, but something about the start of a new year makes people hungry for personal change. Probably the most notorious self-improvement made starting January 1, as well as the most notable of the self-improvement subtypes, is "the fitness journey.” So alas, when January 16 comes around, marking the beginning of the spring semester, so too does the gym rush. A crowded gym is not always conducive to a positive workout, but don’t fret collegiettes! Here are a few simple steps to follow, whether you are just beginning your fitness journey, or you are a seasoned vet, to keeping your cool while sweating it out at the gym.
Don’t be afraid to switch up your routine order
It can be so easy to have a routine at the gym. You know which machines are your favorite and which ones make you want to give up and lie down for several years. But in a crowded gym space, your typical workout may need to be altered as per the availability of the machines. View this as an opportunity to spice up your workout! Maybe you will be able to find new machines or exercises you never thought you would like because you have never done them before. Also your body will thank you- getting stuck in a routine of lifting the same weights and doing the same motions will not get you results. Give new machines a chance and once you see the one you love is free, beeline on over!
Alright, so you switched up your routine, but now you feel yourself side-eyeing the person who snagged the treadmill you were clearly headed for. Just because someone is on “your” machine does not mean they do not deserve the chance too! Everyone is trying their best, and everyone is going at their own pace. Be patient with your fellow gym goers. They too may be in the position in which they are switching up their routines or trying a new exercise and are feeling uncomfortable. If you do not want people looking at you condescendingly, then do not do it either.
But, be assertive
Sometimes while blasting Migos through their headphones so they don’t have to hear themselves breathing heavily (@ me), people become too absorbed in their workouts and don’t notice they’ve been on the treadmill for 45 minutes when your only allowed 30 during peak hours. Do not assume they are purposely trying to sabotage your workout. Just give a friendly wave or light tap just to let them know you are willing to wait, but hoping to be next for that machine.
Pick your space and stick to it
When in the area where you can use mats, sometimes you will want to alternate between using a mat and just standing on the floor. Fold your mat when you are done with the exercise you needed it for, and stand where your mat once was. This not only insures you your own personal space but also keeps you from taking up any additional space. In addition to this, if you know you want to use certain weights but in intervals, take the weights you want to use for that set at the same time. This helps make sure you are not constantly going back and forth between the weight rack and your mat, and weaving in and out of fellow mat users. This maximizes the time you spend actually exercising while also not getting in the way of others. Return your weights when you are done with that particular set to keep the distribution of weights flowing.
Feeling totally claustrophobic? Try a racquetball room
If you plan to do solely exercises utilizing only your body weight but can’t stand being in the mat area, try reserving a racquetball room ahead of time. This guarantees you a full room’s space to yourself. This is also a great space to do a buddy workout, as you will be able to clearly hear each other without the overpowering sounds of machines running.
Make an incredible playlist
Find the genres that get you in the mood to sweat and jam out, and totally forget about all the people around you. You will also feel so much more motivated if you have something to entertain you while you hold a plank. If you need some ideas, check out my playlist here.
So there you have collegiettes. So next time the line is out the door to the gym, have no second thoughts about waiting on it. Use these tips, and hopefully you will be a much happier gym go-er.