Feeling Crowded

By Shani Petroff

The idea of Times Square during New Year’s Eve makes me feel anxious and slightly claustrophobic. And this time of year, the gym gives me that same feeling.

While I like seeing so many people working on their resolutions, trying to get healthy, working out, there are a lot of things I don’t like.

For starters, I don’t like: fighting to get a space in a class; gym members seeing me; having someone stand next to my treadmill, watching the time so they can make sure I don’t stay on for longer than my designated 20 minutes so that they can get a turn; and so on.

BUT, I want to get my exercise in (the star stickers I bought to mark off the days I do it have arrived, and the little kid in me really wants to get as many as I can). So I’ve come up with ways to cope:

I-Don’t-Care Attitude. I sometimes get nervous about what others think when they see me exercising (I get very red in the face very quickly, and I have parts that jiggle). But I have to remind myself that I’m going to the gym to get healthy, to get in shape, to take care of my body — and that’s why most people go. They don’t show up to judge me or anyone else. So I can’t worry about what they think. It doesn’t matter. And the truth is most people I’ve seen while working out have either been very nice or so wrapped up in their own exercise that they barely even noticed me.

Off-hours. I tend to work evenings, so I am trying to schedule my gym time during non-peak hours. This time of year, it’s still crowded even then, but it’s much better than during the early-morning rush.

Videos. I live in an apartment building, so I’m not the biggest fan of working out at home. I always worry that my downstairs neighbors can hear/feel me jumping around. But when the idea of dealing with a crowd is too much for me, I’m going to put a workout DVD on anyway. There are lots of alternatives to jumping I can do. My neighbors will never hear my lunges, sit-ups, push-ups, handheld weights, etc.

Paying the Price. Last year I signed up for a one-month membership at a barre studio. It was expensive, but I went almost every day. And at this particular studio, there’s no jamming in extra people. Each person gets a designated barre, and once they are filled, so is the class. There’s advance sign-up, and I always made sure to get to class early to get a spot in the room that I was comfortable in. It’s not something I can afford to do every month, but to kick-start my 2017 exercise routine (and avoid the crowds at my regular gym), I signed up for one more month. I’m hoping the price, my star stickers, and my commitment to getting healthy will help me once again get the most out of my membership.

I hope your 2017 is off to a great start!

I’d love to hear from you. You can find me on Connect at @shani!  

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