Guidance for working out your healthy conundrums.
FAQ: So I made a resolution to regularly go to an indoor cycling class at my gym. I’m a little intimidated; the class seems to be pretty full all of the time, and I notice a lot of the same people go to the class I want to attend. I’ve never done this before. Do I just show up? What can I do to make sure I fit in and don’t have an epic fail due to newbie insecurities?
Congrats on committing to regular exercise. A first class, no matter what the workout or sport, can be intimidating. With an indoor cycling class, plan to get there at least 20 minutes before the class begins so you can talk with the instructor. He or she will be happy to fit you on a bike and explain the settings as well as go over what the workout will be like. When the regulars come in, you’ll be established on a bike (and, no, there are no “saved” bikes, so don’t let anyone talk you off your ride once you’ve been set up). Classes vary greatly in intensity and type of workout, but the beauty of indoor cycling is that you control the resistance. Don’t hesitate to start out easy and work your way into the harder zones as you become more familiar. Be sure to bring a bottle of water to drink and a small towel to sop up the sweat as you ride. It’s not necessary to have cleats or cycling-specific shoes; the bike pedals have rubber straps (called cages) you can slip your regular gym shoes into. However, if you do have cycling shoes and want to clip in, make sure you have universal clips (SPD works well).
FAQ: I’m a regular user of several different machines at the gym. A lot of times, I see somebody using a machine incorrectly. While I don’t want to come across as a know-it-all, I hate seeing someone not get the most benefit (and potentially hurt him/herself). Should I say something?
If you feel you can tactfully help out, go ahead. You can always make eye contact, lean over and preface with, “Have you used this machine before?” If the door is opened for you with an appropriate response, then give your information, such as, “I learned that you really don’t want to lean on the stair stepper if you want the best workout” or some such. Take your cues from your fellow gym goer; if he or she isn’t interested in making eye contact or pointedly ignores you, just drop it.
FAQ: I joined a new gym to help me meet my 2014 fitness goals. The other day, I overheard some gym regulars complaining to each other about how crowded the gym was with all the "New Year’s resolution-ers," and how none of the “those people” seemed to know what they were doing. How do I manage unfriendly/unwelcome gym regulars and easily integrate into gym culture while establishing my own workout routine?
Good for you for getting to the gym. It’s always hard to be the new person, and a lot of how you handle this really depends on your personality. A more outgoing person might engage those Negative Nellies by directly commenting on the overheard remarks. “Oh, hi. I’m new—perhaps you can steer me toward some of the better classes since you’re a regular,” might take the edge off. You can always be the silent type, who simply goes about your business and ignores the snippiness. It’s the speakers’ insecurities that are showing in these blatant attempts to establish superiority. Who cares who rules the gym? After all, in just a month or so you’ll be a regular.
This new column takes reader-submitted workout questions and finds the polite/ethical/safe/sensible solutions for sticky situations. Send your FAQ with your name, email address, and daytime phone number to FAQ@austinfitmagazine.com