Does your workout suffer during peak seasons and rush hours at your gym? Most health clubs fill up during certain times like January, when new members are trying to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions, and after work, when commuters are squeezing in a session before taking the train home.
If you enjoy the extra hustle and bustle, it’s all good. On the other hand, if you’re tired of waiting in line for the treadmill, try these strategies for avoiding the crowds or learning to workout alongside them.
How to Avoid a Crowded Gym
- Move outdoors. Exercising outside gives you a chance to admire the scenery and soak in natural light. You’re bound to feel more energetic and motivated. Plus, there are activities to match every season, like ice skating in winter or swimming in summer.
- Head for home. Work out in the comfort of your own home. Install a home a gym or pick up a few pieces of simple equipment like a jump rope and kettlebells. Hire a personal trainer or watch exercise videos if you need instructions.
- Drop by weekend mornings. Most gyms look a little lonely on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Wake up early and check exercising off your to do list before lunch.
- Stay up late. Browse online to see if there’s a 24-hour gym in your neighborhood. As long as physical activity before bedtime doesn’t interfere with your sleep, you may prefer lifting weights during the night shift.
- Leave for vacation. If you have vacation days stored up, use them to plan an active break. Instead of lolling around on the beach, go mountain climbing or volunteer to work on a construction project in Latin America. You’ll return home with new skills as well as a tan.
- Look for flexible work. If your boss agrees, you may be able to hit the gym while everyone else is stuck behind their desk. Ask about flextime arrangements that could give you a day off in the middle of the week in return for working longer hours on other days. See if you can take a longer lunch hour as long as you make up the hours.
How to Deal with a Crowded Gym
- Take a group class. Reserve your spot by signing up for Pilates or CrossFit. The music and camaraderie may help you to burn more calories with less effort.
- Share the equipment. Bodybuilders have a tradition of asking to work in. Partner with someone so one of you uses the barbells or the abs machine while the other one rests between sets.
- Eliminate rest periods. Then again, you may want to cut out the downtime altogether. Instead of trying to find a bench to sit on until you’re ready for your next shoulder press, rotate between exercises that target different body parts so you complete your workout faster.
- Increase the intensity. Another way to spend less time dealing with crowds is to increase the speed or amount of resistance. You can be out the door in half the time.
- Try something new. Observe your surroundings or ask the gym instructors about which equipment seems less popular. You may find that you love the rowing machine that most members have been ignoring.
- Be more flexible. Navigating a crowded gym usually comes down to thinking creatively. Be open to experimenting instead of sticking to a rigid routine.
You can have a great workout even when the gym is jam-packed. Adjust your timing to avoid the crowds or plan a routine that keeps you moving when the line for the treadmill is standing still.
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I really wanted to talk about this topic today because the overweight and obesity epidemic is at an all-time high! We are a fat society and it’s killing us prematurely. Not only do I truly believe that you have the power to lose weight to improve your health, but the science also agrees! You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of obesity so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you lose weight, and maybe reverse some of your chronic diseases. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Since weight management is very important in combatting chronic diseases, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor (*this scale cannot be used with a pacemaker or other implanted devices).
Physical activity (or exercise) can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, just to name a few. Physical activity can improve your mood, boost your immune system, and even help you maintain a healthy weight.
I often recommend yoga and resistance training for physical activity, but as you are aware, there are plenty of forms of “movement” that you can do! But for the basics, especially if you’re just getting started, yoga and resistance training are where I would start.
Yoga can be a great way to improve your strength and flexibility, manage your stress, improve your heart health, and lose weight! I recommend using a grounded yoga mat to connect yourself with the earth and reduce inflammation.
Resistance training is the mainstay for overall health. It not only has beneficial effects on reducing body fat, it also increases muscle size and strength. Check out some basic dumbbells/free weights that I recommend to everyone.
Another alternative for dumbbells/free weights are resistance bands. They are great for physical therapy, yoga, strength training, and excellent for traveling.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, and reducing stress are the best ways to maintain a healthy weight. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
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