Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gym Rats, Newbies Need To Share

“No pain, no gain? Try snagging your favorite piece of equipment at the gym these days. Right now, gyms are packed with regular members returning more frequently and a slew of newcomers making good on their get-fit, weight-loss resolutions. More than a million new warm bodies flock to fitness centers each January, representing a 12 percent increase in membership, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association. Unfortunately for the gyms, most of these ‘resolutionaries’ will disappear by March. But for the irritated regulars, that’s exercise music to their ears. So what’s a gym rat to do until the larger crowds and longer waits subside? Don’t let it bother you, said Kip Matthews, an Athens psychologist who says a sense of entitlement about using your favorite piece of equipment at a designated time is unhealthy. ‘The newcomer doesn’t know your routine, and perhaps you just need to change it up for a while,’ he said. That’s what fitness experts recommend, too. Mondays and Tuesdays are among the busiest days, so arrive at a different time and try new pieces of equipment. Consider taking a class, running or playing basketball. When Jennifer Uboh joined Workout Anytime last January, the Hiram educator had little experience using the equipment but received help from fellow members and trainers. She now works out four to five days a week on the treadmill, stationary bike and climber and also does some light weights. Changing one’s lifestyle and going to the gym requires a big commitment, so newcomers should be welcomed, said Donald Loft, an Atlanta corporate attorney who has worked out five days a week for the past 18 years at City Club of Buckhead. ‘It’s a little bit of self-righteousness on the part of the gym rats to look down on the newcomers,’ he said. ‘Everybody has a first day at the gym, and theirs just happens to be in January.’”

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