5 Ways to Navigate Your Post-New Year's, Overcrowded Gym

“With the New Year approaching, the first thing that comes to my mind is crowded gyms,” says Angela Lobrutto, personal trainer and coach at Orangetheory in White Plains. And she isn’t kidding. Gym attendance reaches its peak during the months of January and February, when all those New Year’s resolutions come home to roost. LoBrutto offers several ways in which you can make the most of your time on the treadmill, while avoiding the winter rush.


Try Off-Hours: While it may seem obvious, hitting the gym very early or very late — at least for the next month or so — can go a long way. “I suggest trying to go during off hours,” advises LoBrutto. “Yes, that means going to the gym at the crack of dawn. I mean, they do say ‘the early bird gets the worm.’”

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Sharing is Caring: Try sharing equipment with that one annoying guy who claims a bar or machine but only uses it once every ten minutes. “If you happen to be waiting for a machine, ask the current user if you can ‘work in’ with them in between their sets,” says LoBrutto. “While they are resting, you can use the machine and switch so then you can rest.” 


Don’t Ignore the Cardio Machines: “People tend to shy away from cardio machines like the strider or elliptical because they don’t think they will get a ‘hard enough’ workout,” notes LoBrutto. “Truth be told, if you increase the resistance or raise the incline on the ramp, your effort level will prove that theory wrong.”


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Skip the Gym: “Don’t feel like waiting?” asks LoBrutto. “You can always get a killer workout by doing body weight exercises including pushups, tricep dips, situps, and planks without using any equipment. You can always find room on the floor for that!”


Machines and Dumbbells: LoBrutto is quick to point out that machines are just as effective to use as dumbbells, so don’t be shy about using either. “It’s all about the weight you use, or the exercise you superset it with,” she explains. “Try increasing the weight on the machine and doing ten push ups in between each set to really ‘burn out’ your shoulders.” According to LoBrutto this goes for both sexes: “Ladies, don’t worry! Increasing the weight will not ‘bulk’ you. You will actually burn more.”


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