How to spot the 'New Year, New Me' folk in the gym 8 months ago

How to spot the 'New Year, New Me' folk in the gym

Don't judge us, you were new too once...

Christmas is a fantastic time. You can lounge around the house and do absolutely nothing, and not feel guilty about it. You can do what you want, wear what you want, and dangerously, you can eat what you want. You pack on the pounds and you feel no shame about it. "Ah, it's Christmas," you mutter to yourself as you wolf down your 30th after-eight of the day.

But then January comes. You're back in the real world. You get up for work and all of your clothes seem a little bit tighter. The 20-minute walk to work has never felt this tough before. You have to accept it: you're really unfit. It's time to join the gym.

The gym is an intimidating place at the best of times. So when you're brand new, it can feel like something out of a horror movie. But you have to persevere. Before long, you'll strut through that place like it's your second home, with such confidence that the next lot of newbies will be terrified by you. And the cycle continues.

Here's how to spot a New Years Resolution gym goer, from a New Years Resolution goer himself. It's really not tough.

The gear

Well, you may as well look good, seeing as you have no idea what you're actually gonna do when you get there. You've probably spent all of the vouchers you got for Christmas on a new gym top, a new headband, new shorts, a new sweat-resistant towel and gloves (even though you have no idea why you need gloves, is it cold at the gym?).

The stare

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If you're a regular in the gym, and are lucky enough to actually know what you're doing, then you might have to put up with the eager eyes of someone who has never seen what you're doing before. They can only imagine being able to lift the weight that you're lifting, but if they stare at you long enough then you might actually teach them something without even having to talk to them. Win/win.

The phone

Nearly everyone brings their phone to the gym these days. Lots of people like to have their own music playing while they train, and some other people just like to have their phone on them at all times, just in case. But come on. There's just no need for you to have your phone out at all times. Although this one isn't exclusive to newbies, we can be guilty of it. Not only does it take away from the time you should be training, people around you can be self-conscious that you could be taking pictures of them. No phone, no problem.

The confusion

Without a doubt, the worst part of joining the gym is how complicated it all seems. Before you go, you just think of the treadmills, the bikes and then maybe a few dumbbells. Then you walk in the door and see the most convoluted machines. Machines that you don't even understand where your body is supposed to go. Do I sit on it? Do my arms go here? Or do my legs go there? Is this working out my shoulders or my calves? Ah, I'll leave it, I'll just go on the treadmill again.

The lack of structure

The more seasoned gym goers have a well-thought-out plan. Allocated days for all of the muscles that they need to train and allocated exercises that are used to train these muscles. But us newbies, not so much. Our game plan is a bit different. Don't be surprised to see us on the bench press one minute and doing leg extensions the next. Chances are, we're just using the things we actually understand. Don't judge us...

The nerves/focus

You may eventually reach a point where you can just casually pick up a weight and do what you have to do, but us New Year, New Me folk are far from there yet. We are still fairly terrified of everything that we're doing. So while you chat away nonchalantly as you lift what seems to us to be an impossibly heavy weight, we will be very much in Eye of the Tiger mode, just to ensure we don't make a huge mistake.

The fear

OK, this one might not be a visible way of spotting the newbies, but just know that we are feeling it. We are feeling it big time. The constant thought that everyone is staring at us and that we're making a show of ourselves. Don't be surprised to see us looking over our shoulders, just to make sure nobody is judging us.

Spare a thought for us newbies, we are trying our very, very best... Until February, when we quit again. See you guys next January!