The New Year is a great time for people to set new weight loss goals! That means that gyms are more crowded and there is less space for you to use all the machines you need. However, if you go to the gym a lot, this is not an open invitation for you to scowl at anyone who may seem new to the gym. For those of you who have a routine and go to the gym pretty regularly, these five things to remember are for you! I have had many of my 2l friends approach me to help them get back to the gym and the first thing they tell me is, “I am scared that people will look at me funny and judge me because I am so out of shape.”
1.Remember that you had a first day at the gym too. You also did not know what you were doing.
I was at the gym today and I overheard two fellow law students making fun of some undergrads because they could not figure out how to use one of the machines. Rather than helping them, they kept talking about them. It was obvious that these girls were just learning and new to the gym. As someone that has once felt uncomfortable and lost in the gym, having people actually starring at you does not help. If someone looks like they need help or are unsure kindly approach them and ask if they need help. If not, go back to your workout, but if they say yes, show them how to use the machine. In the end, this will not only help people who are new to the gym, but also decrease the time that people are using the machines you need.
2. If you haven’t been to the gym in a few weeks, take it slow!
Most people, because of the holidays, take off more days from the gym than they normally would. I know I sure did. All I wanted to do over break was binge watch Parenthood and lay on my couch. Law school is so mentally draining that after the semester is over the thought of even moving from your couch is too much effort. Needless to say, I was not going to the gym as much I should have.
When I went back to the gym after the new year, I had to start slow and work my way back up again. I really like to lift, but I had to drop my weight and work back up. At times its frustrating, but starting slow pays off in the end.
3. Try something new, maybe a class.
Keeping a consistent gym schedule and also tending to all of my law school responsibilities is very hard. I usually need at least an hour at the gym and then shower and eating time. Some days this is just not possible. I have too many meetings or too much homework. This is why having a class that you like to take is a great idea. Classes are usually 30 to 40 minutes. You get a quick and effective workout and then you can go back to work. I also really like classes because if you take one in the morning, it forces you to get up and start your day. 2L year you get to pick your own schedule, so naturally, I picked later classes, which makes it very hard to get out of bed.
4. Schedule your workouts.
When I went back to the gym after the New Year, I wanted to try everything. I wanted to do HIIT because I felt out of shape, but I also wanted to hit the weights. Another part of me also wanted to box, which is something I do a lot during the semester. This chaos in my head makes for some very ineffective workouts. This year I bought an app called Fitlist, which allows you to jot down your workouts and put them on a calendar. The app lets you write down your reps and sets so that when you get to the gym you know exactly what you are going to do. This allows you to get to the gym, do what you need to do, and get out.
Moral of the story: Just remember we all have to start somewhere and everyone that goes to the gym is on their own journey. The gym is my safe space away from the chaos of law school, it is my therapy. I like to think that when I go to the gym I am part of a community of people all trying to reach their goals.