Workout Wednesday – Be Patient, Be Flexible

by DavalosMcCormack on January 6, 2010

For regular gym goers this is our least favorite time of year. People who only go to the gym occasionally are out in force after the New Year making it difficult to find a place to park near the gym let alone find a machine inside to exercise on. And that’s even before you add in all the new Resolution folks. In short, it’s a madhouse.

But don’t let that discourage you from going or getting frustrated when you are there, instead use it as an opportunity to break out of your exercise routine (AKA rut) and try some new things.

Most of us who go to the gym regularly or semi-regularly have a well-worn exercise routine. We tend to do the same exercises time after time, use the same machines, lift the same kinds of weights in the same ways.

But in January that’s hard to do because there are so many new people around, taking up your machines, using your weights. So what do you do? Try something different.

Instead of just walking by that machine that looks like an oversized version of the device that Suzanne Somers made a fortune out of flogging on late night TV – you know, the one where you sit down and squeeze your thighs together – try it. You might be surprised how good a workout it gives to a muscle group you don’t workout that much.

If you can’t find a machine to use then just use the floor. Push-ups are a great upper body exercise, sit-ups really build up your core, squats help develop strong legs and good balance, and if you really are struggling for things to do then do a head-stand, it’s great for blood flow, and relaxation. OK,  so maybe a head-stand is not likely but the idea is that with a bit of imagination you can find lots of different ways to get a good workout, provided you exercise the single most important muscle in your body, namely your brain.

Face it, the gym is going to be packed for a few months so complaining about it isn’t going to get you anywhere. Getting frustrated is just going to increase your stress and worsen your blood pressure, the very things you go to the gym to reduce.

So suck it up. Try new exercises. If something you want to do isn’t available then do something different. Finding new ways to workout could actually make working out more interesting, letting you work new muscles, even helping you work old muscles in new ways.

If you are new to the gym, ignore the cranky regulars, they were once rookies themselves but they seem to have forgotten that. Learn the rules of etiquette about working out and sharing machines, but don’t let people intimidate you or bully you into stopping doing something just because they consider that “their” machine. As long as you are paying your dues you have just as much right to use it as they do.

Finally, watch other people. Learn from them. Get a personal trainer if you can afford it, or just watch someone who has a personal trainer if you can’t afford it. You get almost as much out of it and you save a chunk of change.

You are hopefully going to be doing this on a regular basis for a long time to come, so ease into it. Don’t feel you have to do everything right away. Learn good technique, take it slowly, build up.

And if you do that this could be the last New Year you make that New Year’s Resolution to start going to the gym regularly, because you’ll already be doing it!

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