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5 ways to make sure you use your gym membership

Here is some advice on how to stick with a new fitness routine.

Some tips for those with New Year’s resolutions who want to achieve their goals and pointers to help keep the peace with others at the fitness facility.
Some tips for those with New Year’s resolutions who want to achieve their goals and pointers to help keep the peace with others at the fitness facility.Read moreiStock (custom credit) / Getty Images/iStockphoto

The drum beat on social media has already started.

“Dear All The Upcoming New Year’s Resolutions People, STAY AWAY FROM MY GYM!!!! Thank you, Monte,” a Twitter user wrote recently.

“I’m not going to get upset at the countless people who are going to flood the gym for 3 weeks and then disappear for the year because of their New Year’s Resolution #ipromise," said another Twitter user.

For the uninitiated, New Year’s resolution people turn up at gyms, pools, and yoga studios after the first of the year, crowding the facilities, annoying the regulars, and generally are no-shows by February.

We asked experts how resolution people can become regulars -- and fit in at the gym from the start.

Set goals

“If you don’t have a goal, you don’t know you are being successful,” said James Gaddy, head coach and manager of OrangeTheory Fitness in Cherry Hill. “There is no measurable way to improve.”

Decide on your objectives and then plan achievable goals to get you there. Enlist the help of a trainer or coach, if necessary. Commit to a schedule and have all your equipment organized and ready ahead of time, he said.

“Don’t go in there thinking it will happen overnight,” Gaddy said. “In reality, succeeding becomes simply showing up.”

Don’t cave to distractions

“I hear people make a lot of excuses,” said John Kenny, owner of French Creek Racing and a certified training coach.

“You need to rise above the excuses and do what you need to do,” he said. Even traveling shouldn’t be a reason to pass on a workout.

“Traveling is a chance to work out some place different and that is exciting to me,” said Kenny.

Find what works for you

To create a sustainable fitness routine, incorporate changes gradually and thoughtfully.

“Explore a few different types and methods of working out to see what feels good and fits into your schedule,” said Megan Provost, a yoga instructor at Amrita Yoga and Wellness in Fishtown. Once you find something that is enjoyable, it is less likely to feel like it is disrupting your life, she said.

Have the right gear

Especially for runners, start at the bottom with your shoes. “The right foot gear is a huge help for preventing injuries,” said Ed Brittingham, manager at the Chester County Running Store in West Chester. Spend the time to make sure the fit is good, he said.

Wearing the right layers -- moisture-wicking fabrics, not cotton -- will help keep you comfortable when working out in the cold, he said.

Try group classes

There is more accountability when a group or even just one friend is involved.

“It gives you another motivation for going back,” said Provost.

“Find ways to have fun," said Brittingham. There is a shared camaraderie in joining a group even if you are not training for an event. If you show up, others will be there and you won’t be alone on your fitness journey, he said.

“It is not as easy to fall off the bandwagon,” Brittingham said.

Workout facility do’s and don’ts

  1. If you are taking a class or are in a group workout, show up on time. Arriving late is disruptive to others.

  2. Do not talk on your cellphone. Take the call outside so you don’t disturb others or keep them waiting for equipment. Better yet, leave your cellphone in the car.

  3. Be mindful. Don’t hog equipment or do something dangerous such as jumping in a lap lane without alerting other swimmers or swinging weights around without looking to see who’s in the way.

  4. Keep your stuff organized; don’t spread it all over the place. 

  5. Clean any equipment you use and put it away when you are done. Those disinfectant wipes are there for you to clean up your own sweat. 

  6. Do not eat in any of the workout spaces or the locker room. No one likes spills and crumbs at the gym.