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You Need These 8 Tips to Navigate the Gym After New Year’s

New Year's resolutions send the masses to the gym, which makes regular gym rats want to avoid it like the plague. Here's how to enjoy your workout without getting in a fight over your favorite elliptical machine.

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The early bird gets the treadmill

Even the most well-meaning New Year’s resolution setters sleep through their alarms sometimes so, even at the beginning of the year, the gym is filled with more regulars than newbies in the wee early morning hours. (Plus, morning workouts have all of these insane health benefits.) If you have a flexible schedule, mid-afternoons and late nights are also safe bets.

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Try a new class

Ask the front desk or group fitness manager which classes are least popular and give them a try. Every gym has a different flow so a club filled with moms might be busiest mid-morning while a gym with more young professionals is likely packed in the late evening. The busiest class doesn’t always translate to mean the best so you might find a new favorite, with plenty of space, if you do your research. Avoid making these mistakes in your group fitness classes.

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Hire a trainer

If you’re nervous to navigate the busy weight room floor on your own, hire a personal trainer who will scope out open machines or even ask other gym-goers when they’ll be finished (helping you to avoid any awkward encounters).

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Pack light

Unless your gym assigns lockers, bring only what you need for your workout. This way, you don’t have to skip your workout if you forget a lock or if all the lockers run out during this crowded time of the year. Here are more secrets gyms won’t tell you.

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Befriend your classmates

If you do attend classes at busy times, look around for the veteran student and ask if the bike next to them is taken. They will tell you if Jim’s been riding that same bike for the past 10 years and they’ll probably tell you whether you ask or not so you may as well get on their good side. Plus, making friends will help you stick with your goals!

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Offer to share equipment

Equipment can get tight this time of year. Offer to share a set of weights and alternate exercises with another member on the weight room floor or go halves on resistance bands in barre class so that the instructor can squeeze more people into class.

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Don’t be late

It’s never nice to show up late to a group fitness class or personal training session but, at this time of year, your trainer won’t be able to extend your session and you might miss the last open spot in your favorite class if you’re tardy. Here are more annoying habits you have at the gym, according to fitness center workers.

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Be efficient

Maybe one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to run your first full marathon, but training for a marathon is, well, a marathon not a sprint. Now is not the time to hog the treadmill for two hours unless there are several others open and free. Be aware and notice if any other gym-goers seem to be checking on your status before you add that extra 30 minutes and, don’t worry, as the weeks go by and you gradually add time to your workout, the gym will simultaneously get more and more empty.

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