I’ve never been a big fan of making a new year’s resolution. Mainly because everyone else is doing it and I’m so not main stream. But if for whatever reason (peer pressure, wanting to fit in, a weak moment) I have made some lofty goal for myself, I find that somewhere between January 7th at 9:34 am and Jan 8th at 12:31pm, I’ve either given it up or forgotten about it. Which is why today, the first day of Febuary is a good day to reevaluate any resolutions you’ve let slip your mind or think about making what I like to refer to as the anti-resolution.
Now I’m sure you are wondering what an anti resolution is. Is it the new “it word” in fitness? The new super one hit wonder cure all idea that will get you on your way to success? An ideology that will help you shed pounds, take 5 minutes off your PR and stop world hunger? No, unfortunately it’s none of those. I know what a let down, right? Let me explain-
The idea of the anti resolution hit me last week when I was “running” on the elliptical. I’ve been going to the gym since the beginning of January because I got a bit too carried away playing outside and incurred a muscle injury. Naturally the gym was a complete cluster during the first week of January with New Year’s resolutions fresh in everyone’s mind. Though over the past few weeks I noticed that not only was the number of people at the gym falling, but the enthusiastic smiles that once graced their faces were as well. It was as if they had overdosed on game replays or reality show drama on the TV screen in front of them. Puzzled, I naturally badgered some people to get to the bottom of this. I mean, trashy reality TV has its lulls, but it shouldn’t be THAT painful to watch. Right?
After a barrage of questions- I went home to mull over the answers that I received from these wary gym goers. After a nice yoga stretching session and a piping hot mug of tea I had come to some general conclusions about why people seemed to fall off the resolution bandwagon. Based on my observations at the gym and the responses to my questions, this is what I concluded: Very few people are at the gym to have boat loads of fun and create lasting memories. WHOA. Calm down..Don't take that the wrong way. I'm not saying that I think the gym is the devil. It has its place for sure. (Although I'm going to guess its unlikely there are photoalbums dedicated to the many gyms you've traveled to.) What I'm saying is that most (not all!!) people are at the gym to a) get in shape b) lose weight or c) fit into those skinny jeans. While these are terrific reasons to be active, I personally feel like something is wrong when it takes TV, magazines, and iPads to get us to spend time working out. That something is fun. Exercise and fitness do not have to equal spending hours at the gym. You can get fit and have fun (at at cheaper cost) by hitting the trails with some friends, skiing, backpacking, snowshoeing- all in the great outdoors. I doubt on the drive home from the gym, you'll look over at your friend and say, "I feel like we really bonded today when we put our ipods on, simulated running moments and ignored each other for 60 minutes." On the other hand, you might just have some awesome stories and pictures to share after a day spent in nature.
This leads me to the anti resolution. This year, make a resolution not to change yourself, but to change the way you look at fitness. Don't work out with the end goal of losing weight- instead try to guantify fitness by the amount of fun you are having. You might find that the more fun you have, the more likely you'll successfully remember and follow through with your anti resolution.
Ideas to Busy yourself at the gym-
1) Listen- no join in on- the phone conversation the person on the machine next to you is having.
2) Someone’s iPod music so obnoxiously loud that you are able to hear it blaring from their headphones? Impromptu dance party.
3) Want to run for a long long time? Listen to the entire audio book of any of the following titles- “War and Peace, “God’s and Generals” and/or all books from the Twilight/Harry Potter series.
4) Multi task- buy language leaning CDs. To really get a good vibe, have it playing in your head phones, but practice out loud.
5) Dress in race day gear- bib number, GPS watch etc- and race the person on the closest machine.
6) Not really sure what all the grunting is about in the free weight section? Yeah, me neither, but try it out anyway.
7) During the course of your run, get off the machine and ask staff how far away the next aid station is. Keep this up for at least 3 hours. If a “never” or a confused look is the response than--
Wear a hydration pack or several water bottles. Maybe even a visor.
9) Take pictures of you with different machines. Ask others to take your picture as well.
10) Talk to others at length and great detail about your trail races.
1) Do not step off the treadmill like you are stepping off the side of the trail to use the restroom.
2) Don’t talk about politics, religion or money. You might offend someone
3) Don’t get ready to go to the gym- aka no make up or perfect outfit required.
4) No littering.
5) Do not cut the course.
6) Don’t forget to check into every aid station.
If you commit of the above mentioned items, you are subject to disqualification.
I'm pretty sure I was regretting this hike, as I missed a Real Housewives marathon.