Stop Complaining About The 'January People' At The Gym

Stop Complaining About The 'January People' At The Gym

The "January people" are here, and I hate it.

No, I'm not talking about the influx of men and women who have decided that being more active would be a productive change for them to make in their lives, who are signing up for gym memberships and exercise classes left and right -- I'm talking about the people who complain about them.

“The gym is completely packed with people who have no idea what they’re doing.”
“I couldn’t get my normal bike at FlyWheel because of the crowds!”
“Better get my workout in before the ‘New Year’s resolution’ people arrive.”
“Watching these newbies at Body Burn is painful.”

Yes, it's terribly inconvenient that you can no longer be guaranteed a spot at your favorite spin class or might have to wait a few minutes to get on the elliptical. Go ahead and whine about it -- on Facebook, on Twitter, on the phone walking down Fifth Avenue, at the front desk at Crunch Fitness, on weightlifting forums and while waiting for the subway. "Oh, it's so crowded -- but I know most of these people will be gone by February anyway," you say snidely.

I detect an attitude problem here. Let's put aside the fact that you hope crowds of strangers you've never met will fail at resolutions they think will improve their lives. Let's put aside how annoying it is to keep hearing about how someone is a regular, here at barre/aquacycle/butt buster five times a week, every week.

If fitness is a regular and rewarding part of your life, good for you (and I mean that sincerely). But why don't you want that for the other people aspiring to the same thing heading into 2015?

At least once a week, regardless of season, someone tells me how aerial yoga/CrossFit/Zumba changed their life. They tell me I should try it, recommend classes and instructors, direct me to Yelp reviews, and ask if I want to tag along to a session.

But when January comes around, many of these same people -- the ones who evangelize all year round about their activity of choice -- are outraged that groups of strangers want in on the fun.

Yes, crowds make things less enjoyable for everyone. But righteousness won't make your workout any better.

Everyone started somewhere. Everyone was the new person at the squat rack at some point in their lives, whether that was as a freshman in high school or last week at Blink Fitness. And if the people in your neighborhood or office or community have decided that working out would be a good thing for them to do this month, who are you to complain that they are taking up "your" space? They are paying the same gym and class fees as you. Their workout is just as "worthy" as yours. Their health and happiness matters just as much as the health and happiness of you and your loved ones. Whether someone works out three times this month and never goes again, or starts a lifelong commitment to Barry's Bootcamp, it doesn't matter. You aren't more important than they are.

My gym, like most others around the country, has been very crowded recently. It can be frustrating to wait around for a machine or get locked out of a class. It is undoubtedly annoying to have your regular routine disrupted. But, in the spirit of the New Year, why not be gracious about it?

To all the "January people" starting something new, high five! To all the "January people" complaining, take a seat.

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