For those of us committed enough to sustain gym attendance all year round, January represents an overwhelming army of seasonal athletes, commonly known as the ‘New Year New Me’ crowd, or more succinctly, ‘The Resolutioners’. Regardless of nomenclature, we’ll look down at these novices and silently critique their lifting form or running style almost subconsciously. But this probably shouldn’t be the case.
Gym culture is something that’s consistently under fire from a variety of ethical standpoints. For something deemed a leisure activity, it contains far too many aggressive grunts and subconscious hierarchies. The Church of Iron can be quite the amphitheatre, especially here at Exeter.
exam season at a successful sporting university is quite a tough time to start a bodybuilding career
Which makes 2018’s newbies ever the more impressive. With being shredded becoming even more of a fad thanks to social media (we’ll leave that can of worms for another time), exam season at a successful sporting university is quite a tough time to start a bodybuilding career.
Sure, it’s annoying to have your gym packed to the rafters for two weeks and there’s justified anger at those who feed the university only then to make use of it just for the first year of the month. The NHS thinks that 88 per cent of people fail New Years resolutions, leaving a measly one in ten people still hard at it at the gym come summertime. Quite frankly, we’re content with sharing our gym with that added 12 per cent, we’ve all been through the mill at the beginning and the difficulty doesn’t last too long.
It’s easy for us to be jealous of someone who can slap an extra 5kg on to the bar week after week
The small fraction of those who do make it through the first month will be quickly rewarded. They’ll soon be experiencing the magical time in one’s gym career where muscles seem to grow just by picking up a couple of weights off the floor. The ‘noob gains’ one experiences in their first six months of training are the cornucopia of physical activity. It’s what keeps you coming back four times a week and breaking into oven-baked chicken breast when all of your friends are enjoying their second round of garlic bread. It’s easy for us to be jealous of someone who can slap an extra 5kg on to the bar week after week, and it’s from here on we know that this guy is now a full-time gym bro, just with a bit less experience than us.
I guess it’s like learning to drive. I’ve only had my full licence for three years, meaning every time I see the big red L I’ll give them space and remain patient even if there’s been several opportunities for them to pull out already. You simply respect them because you were quite recently in their shoes. But I’d probably give up being patient if I realised that that learner was going to throw in the towel in a couple of weeks time.
So for me the problem lies in the retention. Citing the gym as a New Year’s resolution should be greeted with confidence and respect, but it’s not a challenge that should be taken up lightly. Routines are difficult to change just due to a change in the date, and anyone coming in half heartedly will quickly be doomed to this year’s pile of fallen comrades.