Start the New Year right and don’t let a busy gym derail your progress
January is here, and with it the resounding cry of “I’m going to
get fit this year!” With New Year resolutions come gyms packed with well intentions
and newcomers clambering over every piece of kit available.
Getting a hard workout in is particularly difficult during busy periods. Here
are our tips for navigating the next few weeks and keeping your fitness progress
going into February and beyond…
Keep it simple
Unless you are lucky enough to have the run of the gym, you are going to need
to have a long hard look at your January gym programme (and you should have one!).
If you’re intending on doing tri-sets that call for reserving three different
bits of equipment spread across the gym, then think again. If you’re planning
on farmer’s walks and skipping ropes right down the middle of the free weights
area, you need a reality check.
Busy gyms call for smart choices. Can you multitask in the same spot or with
the same equipment? If you’re super-setting after a bentover barbell row in
the squat rack, could you do close-grip pull-ups or do some barbell curls, rather
than try and have ownership on the lat pulldown machine on the other side of the
Get in and get out
January is a natural start date for any programme. What date says new beginnings
like January 1st? However, if you have more advanced workouts in mind, it may pay
to begin in February with less members to contend with rather than battle over equipment
with a complete novice who may take longer to set up and get going?
If you have designs on German Volume Training, for example, you may have to endure
a few death stares by the tenth set of squats, if you’re monopolizing the
squat rack. Why not enjoy a shorter workout and look at fine-tuning and then enjoy
the freedom for longer sets when the crowds disperse?
No-one said you have to workout in the gym. Yes, it’s
freezing outside – and yes, you’re still paying for that gym membership –
but if it’s really rammed, how about enjoying the
and the space to flex your muscles?
Do a 5k run through the woods. Set up some bodyweight
Rig up some suspension
kit. Drag a
out into the garden. Enjoy the change of scene.
Take the load off
If you’ve been training hard the last few months, a deload work can have
huge benefits, whatever the time of year. A deload week gives your body –
the muscles, the nervous systems and your mindset – a chance to recover and
prepare for more.
Deloading can mean completely taking a break from the gym. What better way to
avoid the hoards than to stay at home in bed? This isn’t slacking off. You’ve
earned it and the rest will reap rewards.
If you prefer to stay active, deloading can mean continuing your workout but
with lighter weights, or trying a brand new (less challenging) workout and perhaps
focusing on isolation exercises or nailing perfect technique on a few key moves.
Peak too soon
If you have always worked out after work, that 6pm gym session may feel tried
and tested. But now is an ideal time to take a long hard look at the clock and question
your choices. Would you perform better if you got up early and were first through
the doors (and getting first choice of the equipment)? Or would there be benefits
to being able to get home and have a decent meal before a later workout when the
post-work gymgoers are safely on their commute?
There’s no law that states your workouts should fall Monday to Friday,
either. Why not rest in the middle of the week and workout at the weekends when
you have more time?
Get in the mix
If you can't beat em, join em! Get involved in some group classes, from
pump fx to
and get motivated by the people around you. Book ahead to guarantee a slot and enjoy
HIIT workouts that push you harder than you would have on your own.
With so many group exercise classes you can enjoy a whole range of approaches
to inspire your own individual workouts. Perhaps you find you respond better to
something dance-orientated, or maybe you like the challenge of a fight-inspired
What’s more, you get to listen to a great soundtrack rather than the same
playlist you’ve had on your iTunes for a while.
So, rather than slog through a crowded gym this month, stand out from the crowd
and do a workout that works for you. By the time you regain some floor space you
will have learnt some new skills and progressed towards your fitness goals from
a new direction.
What better way to start 2017? Happy New Year!