Dawn Muenchrath
Dawn Muenchrath

Stop hating on the New Year’s gym crowd

By Sonny Sachdeva, January 29 2015 —

Jan. 1 is a dreaded day for gym regulars. It marks the first day the New Year’s resolution crowd fills the gym in an effort to turn their year into one of personal growth and physical improvement.

The sudden rush of gym-goers can be annoying. According to Men’s Health magazine, many gyms see their attendance rise by 30 to 50 per cent in January. Smaller gyms like the University of Calgary’s fitness centre crowd easily, but this pales in comparison to the worst result of said rush — the endless complaining.

We’ve all heard the whining from that guy who walks around in full Under Armour gear. He drinks exclusively from his shaker cup and laments how “brutal” it is that all these people have encroached on his own personal workout time. Maybe even your good friends, who seem like decent human beings, draw the line when the gym comes into play.

I get it. It’s not fun losing the freedom to use any machine at any time and run on an open track.

But guess what? The gym doesn’t belong to me. I’m not entitled to any special treatment when I’m there and I shouldn’t expect to be.

It’s selfish to get annoyed and act rude to people coming to the gym to do the same thing you’re doing because you think they’re an inconvenience. Especially when they’re experiencing the gym for the first time.

Yet it’s a sentiment that is expressed often and without much protest.

Regulars aren’t the only ones mildly annoyed. I’ve heard friends speak as if it’s the end of the world. “They’ll all fade away by March,” they say, “and then things can go back to normal.”

Let’s take a step back.

What are these new gym-goers doing to you? What’s so horrible about finding the motivation to get healthy and resolving to step into the gym for the first time?

What would you rather be — an ambassador for health and wellness who’s happy to see people making the effort? Or an irritated troll angry in the gym because other people are getting in your way with their healthy decisions and goal-setting?

If you want to earn your place in the gym, be there for yourself. Recognize your place within the community. You don’t have to show anyone the ropes or give up your machine to every passing newbie. You just have to dial down the misguided selfishness. Recognize that those fresh faces are in the same place you were when you first decided to improve your health.

Would you want to start down a road to a better life in a room full of people waiting for you to fail?
The New Year’s crowd isn’t simply a lazy, inconvenient mob pretending they are active. They’re people looking to make a change for the better.

If you aren’t going to do anything to make that transition easier, the least you can do is refrain from making it more difficult.

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