They started in mid-December. The depressing comments about how only people who are “really” into fitness keep a fitness regime up when everyone else is partying. It was unnecessary and made my heart break. And I fear January is about to get even worse. The eye-rolls from seasoned gym-goers, about newbies “taking over” the gym are starting. And I don’t like ’em one bit.

The gym isn’t an elite club. Picking up a weight or sweating on a resistance bike doesn’t make you better than someone else. Wearing expensive kit doesn’t mean you know anything more than the person lifting next to you. This attitude is so damaging! And so, it saddens me every year to hear the negative vibes from regular gym-goers, moaning about newbies “clogging up the gym”. “Roll on February” they say, exasperated. “We’ll be rid of them by then”.

Just… NO!

If you’re someone who’s thinking like this, then I’m asking you to please just stop. Did you shoot out of your mother’s womb in a lunge, brandishing a dumbbell and understanding how to use a treadmill? No, you did not.

You used to be a newbie once too, remember?! Yes, I’m sure you’ve forgotten, but there was indeed a day when you walked into a gym and it was your First Time. You needed guidance. You were probably a bit nervous. You read the instructions on machines or watched videos at home so you knew what to do when you got there.

So – no more hating on those who are doing exactly as you did a while ago.

You’re probably the same A-hole who cuts up learner drivers. Perhaps you also sneer at toddlers for not being able to read, yet? GET A GRIP! NEWBIES ARE ENTITLED TO BREATHE THAT SWEATY GYM AIR AS MUCH AS YOU!

If you’re already moaning about the January Brigade, then just think about the damage your eye-rolls or tuts or sniggers or sneers might do to someone’s low self-esteem or meekly blossoming confidence.

The gym is a space that exists to help people feel good about themselves. Allow these January newbies the chance to do something that will make them feel good about themselves, without judgement.

That person is someone who you once were. They’re someone who might be at their lowest, and finally getting the guts to do something about it. They’re someone whose wrestled with their mind for maybe months, maybe years.

They’ve mustered up all their courage to get on their kit and get to the gym. Make them feel glad they did that. Don’t try and make yourself big by making them feel small.

If you see someone who looks like their new, or nervous, or in need of help or a smile, then welcome them. Celebrate their enthusiasm. Make them feel like they want to come back and enjoy cultivating their own personal journey towards fitness.

Every person on this planet deserves the right to move their body, and if they’re trying to do so in a way that’s new to them, then we should be heaping praise and high-fives on them for having the confidence to start. The number of people starting without a trainer too – meaning they’re being driven by intrinsic motivation alone, is staggering. I can’t motivate myself to get to the gym some days. If someone’s motivating themselves to the gym for the first time ever, perhaps using January as an extra factor to actually do it, then this should be celebrated! Good on them!

Newbie in the gym january resolution to get fit

If you’re that new person, you’re bound to be feeling nervous, and probably like everyone else knows what they’re doing. My best piece of advice here is: don’t worry, they don’t. Sure, some do, but many are probably just a bit better at looking confident that you, or they’ve had a bit more practice. You deserve to be there as much as ANYONE. Probably more than many, actually, because you’re not there looking down your nose at others.

Concentrate on you and you only. If someone’s taking the time to watch and judge you, then that’s their workout (and their sad, empty heart) that’s suffering. Walk, jog, run, squat, lift and roll. Do what you want to do as you get used to moving and feeling like you, in your body. Try new equipment (read the instructions or ask an instructor for advice if you’re not sure how to use it) You’ve paid to be there. Don’t give a single damn what anyone else thinks about you being there.

If you’re new but not sure what you should be doing, then book an induction, or maybe a PT session to learn the basics and know how to workout safely, without injury. And then – well, there are so many apps and online videos and workouts that you can download and watch, you’ll never have to do the same workout twice! Don’t feel ashamed about relying on these to educate yourself, mid-workout, either. So what if you’re carrying around a bit of paper or watching videos?

I’ve been relying on online stuff every time I go to the gym, for almost 4 years now. 75% of the time I go to the gym, I still google or write out a little plan, search google images for each move and take a screenshot of them all to check my form. I’ve seen people with scraps of paper and stuff scrawled on their hand too. There’s no shame in planning and following instructions. In fact, you’re more likely to succeed at what you’re doing, if you plan it anyway!

Newbies, this January, feel nothing but insanely proud of yourself if you’re stepping into the gym for the first time! And veterans, feel proud to offer encouragement to the people you once were! Now, can we all just enjoy sweating in a shared space, please?!

6 Comments on “BLOG: I Love You, January Gym Brigade!

    • Totally with you! I still feel so nervous every time I walk into a new gym, it never really goes away for so many people! It’s nice to imagine that there are friendly kind people welcoming you into a place they feel comfortable in :)

  1. I for one LOVE seeing newbies at the gym in January – and whenever they turn up. Though to be honest most of the time I don’t notice because I am too busy concentrating on doing my own thing. But when I talk to someone at the gym and it turns out to be their first time exercising in years, I think it’s brilliant and so inspiring. We were all newbies once so nobody has any right to a negative attitude to newbies now.

    • It’s so true – I always look around and feel like the newest person there who doesn’t know what I’m doing, even though I’ve been going for, like, 4 years now! So who actually knows who’s new and who’s old hat at it? Focus on what YOU’RE doing, smile if someone’s looking your way, welcome one welcome all. Let’s all sweat happily together :)

  2. I do comment on the January brigade, but not in a hateful way. I’m like “i’m gonna stay at home in January and let them enjoy the gym”. It does hurt me at the bottom of my heart to know that some one them won’t be there in February too. But it’s all down to their motivation, right? 2 years ago I was part of them. I started with a PT on the 19th of January 2015 to slim down for my May wedding. I became a fitness lover since and enjoy my healthy balanced life. But it was so important for me to have someone in the beginning to teach me stuff and support me!

    • Hi Andreea! I think you’ve hit the nail on the head when you say it’s all down to a newbie’s motivation! Motivation is a funny old thing which is mixed up in so much – spare time, dedication, reasons for starting, a goal, a support network, self-confidence etc etc. It sounds like you had the motivation to get fit for your wedding and a good support network in the form of a PT which is great! I do think that, if someone’s creeping into the gym alone with no real goal other than to feel less rubbish than they currently do, and especially if they haven’t got a PT or a friend to go with, then it’s down to every one of the gym community to try and contribute positively towards keeping their motivation high! Big smiles, help if it’s asked for, and a welcoming atmosphere, that sorta thing. Anyway, I hope you are doing something fun while not in the gym this January, like lots of running outside or some swimming, maybe! A good time to try new stuff! Thanks for dropping by and commenting xx

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