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New Year, New You

Hashtag: New Year, New You

This isn’t the typical New Year’s Resolution post declaring my New Years Resolutions.

This also isn’t the post to say that I don’t believe in New Years Resolutions.

This is a post where I think out loud about New Years Resolutions.

I’m actually indifferent towards people who want to begin a new life on January 1st.  Honestly I’m very happy for them to make positive changes in their life.  Every year I hear friends declare they are going to the gym more.  I also hear friends wish these resolutioners would get out of the gym.

Sure, having more people at the gym can be an inconvenience because there are less machines available.  The reality is everyone at the gym is paying for the same membership.  No one is more entitled to piece of equipment because you have been a member for 1 day or 1000. If a person “getting in your way” annoys you, purchase your own home gym equipment.

Every year on January 1st many people begin a journey to better themselves.  New Year’s Resolutions include anything from fitness goals, to life goals, to work goals to chasing your dreams.  The majority of the population makes a resolution or goal they are looking to achieve in the new year.  According to studies only 8% of people keep with their New Year’s resolutions but that is 8% more than last year.

I am no different and I have a few New Year’s Resolutions for 2015.

While people make many different resolutions, this post is thinking about fitness and gym related goals. This post is about the people that join a gym each year to achieve their goals.  This post is about the people judging those that are new to a fitness program.  Each year I see my “in shape” or fitness oriented friends complain about their gyms being crowded.  I have even seen posts about how dumb having a New Years Resolution is.  I’ve seen posts about how silly new people look at the gym.  I have even seen posts that include photos of people.

Please remember that if someone has not given you permission to include their photo on your blog or social media, you shouldn’t.  It is never a good idea.  It is never appropriate to take a photo of someone without their permission, especially to make fun of them. 

Some complaints about resolutioners at the gym I’ve seen (on twitter, facebook, blogs, dailymile…whatever)

The gym is crowded. No space for me! 

Someone took my elliptical (or any piece of gym equipment).

I hate how busy it is, I hope these people leave soon.

These people are wasting their time. 

Those are all rude.  It;s even ruder to post.  Every single person from an elite marathoner to a star quarter back started somewhere.  Who knows where someone started, maybe it was with a New Years Resolution?

Judging someone based on their fitness level is ridiculous.  When people first begin something they are the most self conscious.  New people (anywhere) fear being judged the most. It reminds me of people that won’t follow someone on twitter or facebook because they have 5 followers. It’s superficial.

I can remember the first time I went to the gym.  I was 18 years old and I was nervous the rest of the patrons were judging me.  I tried every machine in the fitness center in 10 minutes.  I had no idea what I was doing.  Slowly but surely I found things that worked for me.  The first few months I was hyperaware of everything and everyone.

Was that person laughing?  Must be at me…

Are those people chatting? They must be chatting about me…

So as you ring in the New Years, remember that a New Years resolution might not be your thing but some people are trying to better themselves.  Sure, some people might fall but many will succeed.  I encourage you to think about when you were first beginning your fitness journey.  Do not be upset with others for attempting to begin their fitness journeys.

Question for you: When did you start your fitness journey?

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39 responses

  1. Spot on, Hollie. I really enjoyed this post, especially since I’ve been noticing that “better than thou” attitude from a lot of people lately. I’ve been going to the gym on and off since I was 18, and I’ve been thinking about renewing my membership lately, but I’ll probably end up waiting until a few months into the year just to avoid the crowds. Until then, the gym in my building is going to have to do.

  2. I was so nervous when I went to the gym for the first time. I started working there and decided I should check it out. I was so embarrassed when I couldn’t figure out how to turn on the elliptical. I had to ask the girl next to me. Now, I’m so comfortable and love talking to people there.

  3. Agreed! I have totally noticed that attitude among runners and at my gym in the winter. Anything elitist is annoying to me and it’s sad to see people judging others, but of course it always speaks more of the people judging than the people targeted. Everyone has to start somewhere and there’s no shame in that.

  4. I definitely think that making fun/taking photos of gym newbies is not okay on any conceivable level. I can’t believe people would be so heartless and mean 😦

    I won’t pretend that I don’t get intimidated and frustrated when the gym gets busy, but I also don’t have any territory marked and I’m not going to waltz around like I own the gym. I do take issue with new gym members who flout gym etiquette though, and I wish some of them would leave when they don’t book into classes and then crowd out the regular members who do book, forcing the poor fitness manager to go through the booking list like a school register and making the class start late for everyone. As long as new people understand that, as you say, we’re all on the same level and the world does not revolve around them (likewise, the gym rules DO apply) then I’m sure we can all get along.

    I started at the gym as a means of trying to conquer agoraphobia. I had not left the house for over a year at one point when I was 16, and it was the therapeutic nature of exercise and the positive effect it had on my mind that finally helped me to live a slightly more normal life (in some ways – obviously I still have a long way to go). The gym has always been a safe place for me. I must admit that I was very self-conscious when I first joined and couldn’t talk to anyone at all…I revert to that state any time I have to join a new gym! I don’t think anyone was ever mean to me for being new though…but then again, I observed the rules 😉

    Happy New Year!

  5. I agree 100% with this post. I love how real and supportive of others you are! 8% of people meet their resolutions, that’s 1000s of people! Way to put that into perspective! I’ve worked out pretty consistently since middle school. My fitness journey started with my neighborhood summer swim team and occasional jogs around the block with my dad. I’ve never been a “natural athlete” and I’m grateful for that because it’s forced me to work hard and also I think it’s part of why I try to support anyone with the courage to try something new. I still (and felt 34 years old) feel awkward and self conscious when trying something new and am grateful for the people in my life who have supported me and gave me the courage to keep trying. Happy new year!

    • Happy New Year to you as well. I hope you enjoy yourself today!

      Did you swim in summer league? I remember summer swim meets as well. They were always fun. I’m glad you have that support system!

      • Yep! I started with summer league and swam year round on my high school team. Haven’t done much swimming unfortunately since graduating. And having a good support system is so key! 🙂

  6. This is a great reminder! Sure, it can be inconvenient to not get your usual piece of equipment at the gym but the way I see it is if you know it will only stay crowded for a few weeks, use that time to do something different. Besides, why should we want these people to fail?! It seems selfish to hope that they give up on getting in shape just so that we can use our regular piece of equipment. I definitely remember feeling uncomfortable when I started going to the gym in college. I still feel out of place when I go into a new gym and don’t know my way around or worry that I am in someones way.
    Great post!

  7. I would say I’ve had 3 ‘starts’:
    – in 1989 when I weighed nearly 400lbs and just started running …
    – in 2008 when my thyroid died and I first joined a gym
    – in 2012 when my thyroid was under control and I started my ‘serious’ running quest …

    We all have to start somewhere.

  8. It makes me so sad that people get laughed at or poked fun because they are trying to improve their health! Those just starting to exercise need the most encouragement! Your words are so true. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  9. This is a really great reminder for all times of the year. Everyone was once a beginner and had to start somewhere. Although I don’t use gym equipment often, it happens in classes too, people have “their spot” in the group fitness room *sigh*. I too feel indifferent about resolutions and I don’t really make them (I typically set goals throughout the year and before races/training cycles), but support anyone’s decision to get healthy whenever they want to, whether that’s January or not. It all beats sitting on the couch. Some ladies came to the new year’s day race today for their first 5K run and I thought that was an awesome way to start the year.

  10. Love this post!!! Happy Happy Happy New Year to you!

    My fitness Journey started at a young age, I started gymnastics at the age of 5. Fun Fact: Instead of running XC my freshman year of HS, I was on the varsity gymnastics team! But, anyway my journey hasn’t been constant, more like a movie with the occasional pause, rewind and forward button pressed.

  11. Amen! Can’t agree with you enough. I am happy for people who start new, healthy habits, and if that means the gym is busier.. .oh well! Like you said, we all have the right to begin a new journey!

  12. Say it out loud! I’m right there with you.
    Whenever I chat with somebody else in the locker room and they comment on how they could never keep going on the elliptical for as long as I do [which actually isn’t super long] or are in another way taking themselves down I stop them. Meaning I make them see that it’s already great they’re at the gym to begin with. Plus, they might not do best at cardio but I look like a fool in the weights section.
    Like you suggest here everybody should remember the start of their own fitness journey and not snark on others. No two journeys are alike and even IF somebody failed their plan to visit the gym regularly last year: chances are they’ll succeed this time, right?!

  13. I have no problem with new people in the gym at the beginning of the year or anytime. Everyone was new at some point, and I remember how terrified I was walking into the gym for the first time. I was only 10, but I think everyone is nervous when they first start. The only thing that really irritates me at the gym is when people sit on the equipment and aren’t using it ( wether it’s texting, talking, etc).

  14. I still hate it when people who don’t know how to circle swim hop in the (clearly labeled) fast lane at the pool. In that case, they legitimately ARE in our way and if you are new to swimming, NO don’t get in a lane labeled “fast.”

  15. First of all, happy new year! Even though I’m all for people making resolutions and beginning a healthier lifestyle, I will admit I get frustrated in the pool and on the indoor track sometimes because folks don’t follow the rules. When someone’s tooling around in the lane we’re sharing, it can really get on my nerves if I’m in the middle of a workout. I’ll also be the first to admit I’m not as patient as I should be so … 😉

    • I believe there is a difference from not following the rules and just being new. I think the pool is a whole different frustrating element.

  16. I love this! My is composed of a lot of elderly people who use the machines slowly, talking the whole time and enjoying themselves. I think it’s great that their “social hub” is a gym rather than an old folks home or a bar. It gives me something to look forward to as I get older! I hope I am like these people when I have my grays as well. I wouldn’t trade my gym for anything else!

  17. I’ve worked in a gym for the last 11 years, so I have heard EVERY ONE of these things many, many times! And I am guilty of saying a few of them too (yes, I have a favorite treadmill and elliptical and yes, I will wait for someone to get off of it. I will not give them the stink eye or call them names to get them to get off). The hardest thing for me to hear was always that people were quitting because they felt judged because they were too heavy. I’m sure there were other reasons people felt judged, but this was the one I heard more often. Everyone has to start somewhere and you don’t know what someone’s story is just by looking at them. Be supportive, encourage others, smile at new members, even when you’re frustrated. Great post, Hollie!

  18. LOVE this! I started running when I was 16 when I got cut from the basketball team. I loved basketball and was just crushed. I wanted to be part of a team so bad I decided to try running and have been running since. It was no easy task at first either! I keep telling my youngest daughter that. I took her for a run yesterday for the first time since about August and it was rough. She was hoping to get her mile in about 10 minutes and it took 11 and I could tell she was almost going to cry. I just reminded her how proud I was and she should be that she was getting outside and being healthy and to not even think about the time. It didn’t take much to cheer her up, but it reminded me that it is about having fun and being healthy not what the watch says!

  19. I started my fitness journey a few years ago after realizing I had gained some weight since graduating college. Plus I wanted to run 5ks like my friends!

    I still feel like others might judge my slowness, but I keep going.

    I think the only “issue” I might have about newbies at the gym is that I’ve seen people come to the gym and try using the equipment without asking for help first. So then they’re doing something that might hurt them (or, I guess, the equipment). I don’t want to be a weirdo and step in, but I know how hard it might be to ask for help sometimes. I hope to see newbies at the gym, but also hope that the workers at the gym keep an eye out for people struggling!

  20. This is a great reminder! It’s so weird that people will laugh at others who aren’t at the same level. I don’t understand the motivation behind it. I started my fitness journey back in 2010, though I was pretty active before that.

  21. Love this post and completely agree. I still get nervous going into the weight area in the gym because I feel like people are judging me for looking clueless, or I’m using a particular machine/bench/area that someone who knows more what they are doing is waiting for. We should all remember that everyone has to start somewhere, and if it’s with a New Year’s resolution, then so be it!

  22. What?! People say and think these things about newcomers at the gym. That’s awful. We should be supporting and encouraging anyone who is taking steps to better themselves fitness wise. Maybe if we did, they’d be willing to keep going. Great post.

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