We Adapt, We Improve, We Overcome

It’s the Monday after Xmas – or for a twist the Monday before the New Year – and those of us who spend time most days in the gyms are noticing the change already. The Resolutionaries are showing up early this year.

We know these individuals: they sign up for the gym so they can “work out and get healthy” as their New Year’s Resolution. They come and take up space on the cardio machines and classes. They wander around the weight machines confused, sitting down to quickly do a set of 12 on one at the lowest weight then wipe their sweat and move on to looking confused again. Their form sucks, the gym etiquette is non-existant.

In a couple months they will tell themselves that they tried it, it’s too hard, they don’t get it, and they will melt back into their lazyboys and extra deep, over-stuffed sofas (guarenteed to encourage poor posture). We won’t see them again until next year.

Add to this the furloughed workers getting their gym time in earlier in the day -since they’re used to being out of the house at this time. AND those workers using up the last of their vacations. The gym is a very crowded place to be right now.

The challenge, now, is figuring out how to adapt to this situation. There are several possible steps to take:

  • cuss and grumble about the inconvenience;
  • change your gym time, hoping to find a less busy workout time;
  • improvise your workout plan. If you can’t find a bench or the right weights, figure out how to do your exercises differently. Or shake up the order that you work out a bit.
  • welcome some of the nubes and make them feel successful so they become new gym friends.

I’m choosing to do 3 of these 4 things (well, occasionally I’ll probably add the grumbling, too).

First choice: CHANGE.  Many days I’ll move my workout time to mid-afternoon.  Usually it’s as close to ghost-town as it get in my gym except for that middle of the night time.  (NO.  I am never choosing to workout at 2 am to have the place to myself.)  Friday, it was as busy as the mid-morning popular time.

Moved on to the second strategic step: IMPROVISE.  I will be writing my workout goals in very general terms for the next weeks: Chest Press, instead of Incline Bench Chess Press with 22.5# DBs. While the particular exercise and weight might be my ideal for the day, instead I’m going into the gym willing to get that workout any way I can.  Be it Smith Machine, Flat, Incline, or a stability bench.  Heck, last week, I did my bench press on the sitting row bench (it was the only one open).  Glad I’m short, as I barely fit.  But it meant I didn’t have far to go to do my rows later!

As there are limited leg machines, these will be the moves where I start using dumb bells, cables and bar bells to get the work in.  Flexibility will be a good thing for me.  (and my challenge for January is unstable workouts, so this should fit right in).

I will also take my rest moments to try to notice those nubes who seem particularly lost and maybe give them smile and little boost.  They deserve congratulations for even making it in.  Everything to encourage them to continue getting healthy is a step toward a healthier neighborhood and region.  We are one of the poorest and least healthy regions in the bay.  Small steps are all I can offer, but they should help.

I know occasionally the grumbling will come.  Remarkably, it won’t often come about a nube, I bet.  It will the guy who decides to hog the leg press machine my doing 8 reps, walking away for 2 minutes, adding 2 more plates, doing 8 reps.. and repeating that for a half hour inspite of the fact that he knows several people are waiting for the equipment.  The gym rat who works at his own pace and does not adapt to the circumstances.  The weight hog. But I grumble at them all the time.

What challenges will you be facing the next few weeks?  Can you adopt a “improvise, adapt, overcome” philosophy to make your workouts more successful?


2 responses to “We Adapt, We Improve, We Overcome

  1. I have been experiencing this problem since early December. The gym I belong too has set up more machines in the area (since early November) getting ready for those you speak of and I have noticed the increasing number of people at the gym. I just take my time and try not to get frustrated with this new change and keep in the back of my mind that I will still be here in the next coming months but they will not. Nice topic.


  2. Im hanging on by the fingertips until the inlaws depart.

    that’s the plan.

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