I dread going to the gym in January. It's almost as bad as standing in line at the DMV. It's not that I don't want to work out. I do. In fact, I work out all year long.
It's like clockwork. Every January. New year, new people at the gym. They make their New Year's resolutions. They vow to exercise. They buy a gym membership or get one for Christmas.
And for the first 30 days of the year, the energy in the gym is electric. These newbies are motivated! They are determined to fulfill those resolutions. They try every class, from yoga to strength training to spinning.
They are on the treadmills, stair-climbers, row machines. They're on the weight machines, learning how to do lat pull-downs, leg extensions, bicep curls. They're everywhere! It's a mob.
That's what I dread, and I sound like a gym snob.
There are no parking spots, no lockers, no spin bikes. When you have a certain amount of time to work out, you don't want to have to wait for a treadmill, a free weight or a lane in the pool. Those of us who exercise regularly have to change our routine — the same one we've been doing all year long.
I polled a few friends about how they deal with the January mob. Their advice? Go to the gym early or late. Change your routine, try a new cardio machine or take a new class.
Some friends are so annoyed by the crowd, they avoid the gym altogether, brave the cold and run outside.
Others said they embrace the mob. They encourage them, help them learn how to use the equipment and look at it as an opportunity to make new friends.
Don't get me wrong. Most of us gym snobs were part of the January mob at one time.
I applaud their New Year's resolutions. I think the more people who exercise and take care of themselves, the less health care problems they will have and the happier people will be.
But the problem is they give up too easily.
I pack my patience into my gym bag, knowing the crowds will soon disperse. Their motivation goes away, and so do they. We get our gym back.
If you're one of the newbies making exercise a priority in 2016, go one further and make it a priority in 2017, too! Become a gym snob instead of a member of the January mob.
Michelle Bandur is a TV media program chairwoman at Iowa Western Community College and a 4-time Ironman finisher. She writes occasionally for livewellnebraska.com.