It's that time of year where people are coming to the gyms in droves with their brand new Lycra and earnest faces, desperate to shift a bit (or a lot) of weight and fulfil their newly created resolutions. It's also that time of year where regular gym goers and fitness fanatics sigh, moan and despair that their previously safe haven and temple of fitness worship has now been invaded.
"It's absolutely rammed. I can't get my favourite treadmill anymore!" whines one lady in luminous leggings.
"They're not even using the leg press machine correctly..." sighs another one dramatically.
It's true, gyms in January are suddenly packed and the experienced regulars are forced to mix with the inexperienced civilians. But, as it always happens, by February it'll be mostly back to normal. Perhaps one or two of those beginners in January are inspired and join the ranks of the dedicated, but more often than not, the habits don't stick and the initial plans and goals fade away into the black hole of Failed Resolutions.
I won't lie, I'm a fitness fanatic and I too have often felt annoyed that I've had to wait for the machines I want to use, or that the gym suddenly feels very claustrophobic and, well, extra sweaty. But this shouldn't be our reaction. We should welcome these newcomers. Make them feel like they're not alone in their pursuits of whatever goals they have: run a 5k, shift a stone, gain some muscle...whatever it is they want to achieve, we shouldn't bemoan their efforts. They have every right to be there too. They're paying customers too (albeit with a shiny special offer price and no joining fee).
In the current obesity climate and with depressing health scares constantly making appearances in the news, the more people making an effort to get fit should be celebrated! And often than not, it will be the fit and healthy who bemoan and complain about the people clogging the NHS with their obesity-related issues.
"They should just get off their backsides and go for a run" says one.
"They should try and lose a bit of weight" says another.
So let's not roll our eyes and secretly laugh at the people who are making the effort to do just that. We should smile at them, help them when they look like they're struggling and cheer them on (not loudly at the gym, that's embarrassing for everyone after all...). Basically, health doesn't need to be a one person struggle that makes people embarrassed or afraid. Stop moaning about your favourite cross-trainer being in use and be glad someone else is working it hard instead.