By HEIDI GLENN
WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 âˆ’ Veteran gym-goer Allen Kenney knows that there is no such thing as a quick workout at his Northwest D.C. gym in January. Gym memberships reliably spike around the first month of the year, thanks to resolutions to lose weight or get healthy, and Kenney dreads the new crowds.
“I’ve always found that January is an absolute nightmare. It’s like everyone and their dog has decided that this is going to be the year that they actually stick to their resolutions,” said Kenney, who’s been working out for more than 10 years. “It’s not even worth trying to go during the post-work ‘rush hour’ around 6 p.m., which is when I normally go.”
But for Kenney, the resolution rush inevitably quiets as the new members lose steam.
“Things are back to normal by about Jan. 15,” he said. “The machines are all open, the showers don’t run out of hot water and the towels are plentiful again.”
It seems that no matter what the goal, resolutions often fade as the new year unfolds. Because gyms can be intimidating and working out can be strenuous, fitness resolutions can be especially tricky to keep.
So what is the best way to ensure you keep working out and stick to your resolution?
Dani Browne, a District-based ACE-certified personal trainer, suggests starting small.
“The problem is that people go whole hog and expect to lose 10 pounds and they wear themselves out the first week they go to the gym and then they never come back because they’re tired and sore,” Browne said.
Browne suggests making small investments that build toward something bigger. For example, buy an exercise video before making the commitment to join a gym. “If you like it and keep at it, then join the gym,” she said. “If you’re determined to join a gym, though, buy a few personal training sessions to learn how to use the equipment. It’ll give you the confidence so that you’re not intimidated or overwhelmed,” she said.
And instead of trying to lose 20 pounds, for example, say, “I want to get to the gym and do 10 minutes of cardio three times a week,” Browne said. “It’s more realistic than saying, ‘I’ve never exercised but I want to run a marathon.’ It works for some people but generally it’s not a good idea.”
Working out will produce more energy, which ideally can be turned into more workouts. “Focus on that, not the scale,” she said. “The scale’s not going to make a big jump right away unless you’re also pairing it with a sensible diet.”