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Paige Waehner

Workout of the Week - Crowded Gym Workout

By January 10, 2013

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Oh dear. That's the nice version of what I was actually thinking when I showed up at the gym this past Monday and saw more people than I have since, well, last year at this time. What's funny is how people try to create their own little workout spaces while completely ticking everyone else off. For example, one guy dragged a hundred or so dumbbells to a weight bench, creating a little circle around himself like a little boundary to keep the masses away. No, you could not use those 12-lb dumbbells because he was going to use them very soon. The 15s? Sorry, he's going to use those too.

Another woman was on a treadmill, but she put her water bottle and towel on the elliptical trainer next to her, telling anyone who asked that she was saving it for a friend (which, in many gyms, would be considered illegal). Of course, she was really saving it for herself, something I realized when she switched over after 20 or so minutes.

There are ways to deal with a crowded gym - Going at strange hours, working out at home for a while or confronting the weight-hogger or the elliptical-saver, which I don't really recommend.

Another idea? Have a go-to crowded gym workout so you never have to worry about getting in a good workout. One idea? This Crowded Gym Circuit Workout, which I created last year when dealing with, well, a crowded January gym.

This circuit workout involves using a jump rope, a mat and a few sets of weights, although you can always substitute other activities or equipment. My gym, for example, has a track so I often alternate jumping rope and running around the track, just for fun. I like this workout because it works the entire body, includes small bursts of cardio and can be done in a small area with no waiting involved.

What do you do when the gym is crowded? Leave a comment and tell us how you workout in a crowded gym.

January 11, 2011 at 9:44 am
(1) Dave says:

I try to be patient as possible. I’ve been going to the gym for nearly 25 years and it happens every January. I see a lot of people that get into a Me vs Them mentality and think just because they’ve been going longer and will still be there in a month or more that they “deserve” priority, somehow like they’re entitled. They’re NOT. It does no good to disparage ANYBODY trying to do something to improve their fitness and ultimately their lives. Everyone’s life is just as important as the next. Will some not survive the month and drop it like it’s hot? Absolutely. But we don’t know who that might be. Who says it’s necessarily going to be the new person? It might be you. It might even be me! Who knows if an injury or illness lurks around the corner that might put us out of commission for a few days, a week, a month, or heaven forbid — forever. We were ALL new once. We need to remember that and encourage everyone. Does it suck to not be able to do the routine that you always do and with your favorite equipment? H3ll yeah! But isn’t it a good thing to shake up your routine once in a while? Does it matter if it’s by choice or forced? =) I’ve heard that muscle confusion is supposed to be good for you. It helps make you stronger by keeping your muscles guessing and not allowing them to adapt and make things easier on you. Change your attitude and way of thinking.

Consider January a late Christmas gift for your fitness! =)

January 11, 2011 at 9:58 am
(2) Heather says:

I agree with Dave. Have mercy on the newbies. It may be that you end up actually encouraging a few of them to stick with it.
Conversely, a person can generally tell when someone doesn’t want them around. That superior, “I’m a regular,” attitude definitely makes some newbies feel unwelcome and, ultimately, may give them the excuse to quit.
That being said, I hope gym staff helps train the newbies in gym etiquette. It’s so frustrating when someone just sits on a machine!

January 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm
(3) Darrell says:

When you want a machine, not a free-weight apparatus, it is perfectly acceptable to ask “may I work in”. All to often I’ve experienced so-called “regulars” hang their head, remove their Ipod and look at you like two extra heads just grew. Lighten-up folks. I’ve worked-out for over 20 yrs. You don’t have to strike-up an enlightening conversation. Just do your work and move-on. Machine-hoarding is something newbies have to learn not to do, and regulars should know better.

January 11, 2011 at 9:34 pm
(4) Sandy B says:

I try to show mercy. I go to the gym for aqua fitness and machines. One day I do lower body and aqua fit. The other day I do upper body and aqua fit.

I have a home gym with stability balls, versa steps and log, bosu ball, med balls, and more. I bought my own spin bike. So 4 to 5 days a week, I have no weight at all for my workout. I have great cardio kickboxing DVDs, Zumba dancing, rides for my spin bike and great music.

I have a wonderful person trainer for my home gym to keep me serious. I’m 61 and having the time of my life!

January 13, 2011 at 6:52 pm
(5) Brad says:

All I can say is that I try to be as courteous as possible and I’ll be glad when the herd thins in a few weeks. I get along fine inside the gym – there’s always another way/place/station I can work the same muscle group. However, there are only so many parking spots and will be glad when I don;t have to play “lot shark”.

January 17, 2011 at 6:06 pm
(6) Mary F. says:

When I DID belong to a local gym, I tried to be there as soon as the gym doors opened EARLY in the mornings when the working people (i.e.: teachers, etc.) would go because they didn’t sit and/or socialize around on machines & had to be at work in a few hours. That way we would all use the machines, etc. to do our reps & move on to the next available machine. I found that the 5:00 PM crowd (especially the teens & 20′s) just overfilled the gym & it would take me longer to finish my workout. I also remember patience with the January newbies & would assist them if they had a questionable look on how to use the machines. Now I stretch at home, use my own weights & walk and/or jog in the park daily with my 4-legged companion!

January 17, 2011 at 6:11 pm
(7) Patt says:

I avoid monday every week of the year. But especially in January. Since we live close to mountains and snow we have been going out 3-4 days a week alternating cross country skiing and snowshoeing for fun and fantastic aerobic exercise. We continue to work out on the machines, just not as frequently. Hopefully by the time the snow melts the crowds at the machines will have thinned too.

January 17, 2011 at 9:06 pm
(8) Dr_jim says:

I go at the odd hours or try to finish the other exercises first if the gym is crowded. Although its always better to warm up first and then go through a specific sequence of workouts, but then, if the gym is crowded, instead of dealing with other people or moving around the equipment, its better that you finish off the exercises first and then go for the remaining. Sometimes you can go for the other exercises only and forget the equipment that is having all the crowd.
At the end of the workout, its what you feel, how fresh you are, how satisfied you are with that days workout. Even a simple jumping with a rope can result in good cardio workout, but at the same time jogging on treadmill is another option, so at the the end its an individuals call.

January 18, 2011 at 10:51 am
(9) Jen says:

The best part of this workout is that it can easily be done at home, avoiding the crowd entirely!

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