Beat the New Year’s Crowd

Mooooaaaan. That’s the noise I’ve been making all “Moanday” :P For the third week in a row, I had high hopes of making it to a Monday morning spin class. And for the third week in a row, I failed to go! I’m not very good about going to bed early Sunday nights, so the idea lost all appeal by the time I set my alarm last night. Oh well, the sleep and nice breakfast was well worth it!

I went through a period where I was buying a lot of stuff at the Bulk Barn. I thought it was awesome because I could scoop out just as much as I wanted and the price was right. But the more I did it, the more I realized the product quality sucked. Everything was stale, and the oats were a “bad cut” (you oatmeal snobs know what I’m talking about). I finally finished up my bag of bad bulk oat bran last week and went back to my Golden Box.


It’s like reuniting with an old lover. I made 1/2 cup custard style with a whole egg whisked in.


Topped with Bekah’s Coconut Chia Granola, cashew butter and molasses. Heaven.

Also bought yesterday was a $3 lunchbag! I’m quite proud of it. The top separates from the bottom, so I don’t have to lug the whole thing to lunch with me if I don’t need to.


Hiding in that bag  was…

Morning snack:


Yogurt mixed with vanilla protein powder and granola.


IMG_3022Pita with mustard hummus, pickles, turkey, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach. The mustard hummus with pickles was awesome.

Afternoon snackage…


Homemade protein bar. I used just chocolate protein powder on this batch and it actually made it taste more bland! Next week I will spice it up a bit ;)

Had a good day at work today, despite being in a daze for most of it. Have to work tonight too, filming a lecture for the website. So dinner was quick! Good thing I had leftovers ;)


Bean and vegetable chili. Chili leftovers rock my socks. So does turkey. I don’t know how I was a vegetarian for so long when I’m clearly a heartless carnivore :P


Crowded Gyms

I figured it’s pretty much safe to assume that everyone’s gym is crowded these days. I thought it would be fun to compile a list of some helpful tips to beat (or tolerate) the crowds.

1. Stay away during peak times. This is the most obvious one. Everyone goes to the gym at 5pm. If there’s a way you can sneak it in elsewhere – do it! Friday nights and weekend afternoons are some of my favourite times to workout because it’s always abandoned there.

2. Try new machines. Good luck getting a treadmill or elliptical this time of year. Instead of throwing a hissy fit, try something new! Churn out some sprints on the stationary bike, work your arms on the rowing machine, or even (yes) climb onto the dreaded stairmaster. It’s your chance to step out of your comfort zone.

3. Hit up the weight room. New years resolution-ers tend to stick to the cardio equipment. Gym newbies are a little more apprehensive of free weights, so you’ll likely be in there with all the usual suspects. Perfect excuse to incorporate more strength training into your routine ;)

4. Take turns. Forget what I just said – sometimes the weight area is packed! I’ve gotten into the habit of asking people who are obviously doing alternating sets if they mind I use their machine or weights while they’re on their other set. Just because weight lifters are big and scary looking, doesn’t mean they’re not polite and sensible too :)

5. Be a hog. Okay, forget that polite thing I just mentioned too :P If I see a window to grab popular machines or weights, I grab them and hog them for all their worth. I was once the most hated person in the gym by hogging the 10, 20, and 25 lb dumbbells for 30 minutes.

6. Get there early. Exercise classes fill up fast in the New Year! I know getting there is sometimes hard enough, but make the extra effort to get there 10-15 minutes earlier. You can take the extra time to do a slower warm-up, which will boost your performance while you’re at it.

7. Be flexible. Don’t ditch your workout just because you can’t get your favourite treadmill, second last from the water fountain. And do not kick someone off your favourite spin bike! (yes, I’ve heard of both of these things happening before) Now is a perfect time to practice going with the flow.

8. Keep your cool. Don’t let the newbie incorrectly hogging the squat rack ruin your workout. There are worse things in life than having to sub out a set, or opt for a different machine. Remember, we go to the gym to relieve stress, not instigate it!


Question of the Day: How do you deal with busy gyms?

Posted on January 18, 2010, in Health, Workouts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 36 Comments.

  1. I like your “be polite” but then “grab that machine” tip. I don’t belong to a gym, but I think your tips are spot on!

    Love that lunchbag too!

  2. Beautiful eats!

    These tips are great – my gym is so crazy right now with all of the new years resolutioners around. I’m quick to grab a treadmill whenever I see an open one, but got on the stair master a couple of days ago when there were no open treadmills or elliptical machines. I really liked doing stairs! had my whole body pumping. Not sure why it’s the most intimidating machine at the gym!

    Have a good night!

  3. Good tips for the gym! Right after New Year’s I find my gym is PACKED. But recently I’ve had no trouble getting equipment. Maybe they’ve all fallen off the bandwagon already!

    I also LOVE LOVE LOVE leftover chili! I made some awesome veggie chili last week and I’m already craving it again

  4. GREAT tips for crowded gyms!!
    love chili!

  5. Flexibility is key. I haaate it when all the treadmills are full, but I try to put a positive spin on it–“hey, running on the track will be an interesting change of pace!” or “lifting weights instead will make my legs stronger for when there finally IS an available one.” Mental pep talks are cheesy, but work.

  6. Love the tips! I hear you about purchasing bulk. It can be so hit or miss on the freshness issue. Old grains and beans never end up as anything but bullets and BBs in the bowl, no matter how long you cook them. :D

    I really try to go at an unbusy time, which I seem to have found. Occasionally, someone will grab the cable machine after I have set it up to use during rotations, which can get irritating, but I always have a backup exercise I will fall back on if I can’t work in.

  7. Great tips!! It really is annoying to find the gyms so crowded with “Resolutioners” when we’ve been there all along!

  8. Okay so happy to see your no-bake protein bars. I don’t have a bunch of protein powder on hand though so I’m wondering what I can use instead. Hmmm, back to the drawing board!
    P.S. LOVE the new ‘do!

  9. I go at 5 a.m.! And like you suggested, I show up early to group exercise classes. I also hog the machine! Sorry New Year’s resolutioners, but I will spend 60 minutes on a machine. I don’t care that 30 minutes is the limit. I know that some people may consider that rude, but I just can’t concede to the 30 minute rule.

    • I went to a gym once that had a TWENTY MINUTE rule. Lame!! The machine would shut down after 20 minutes too, and I had to stubbornly restart it every time :P

  10. Mustard hummus intrigues me. Is this just mustard and hummus used in unison, or something you actually buy already combined?

    I am lucky in that I can generally hit the gym whenever I want so unless absolutely necessary I never go at peak times. When FH is outta town I totally go on Friday nights. I like being the last one there!

    • Friday nights at the gym kind make me feel hardcore too! :P I added just one tablespoon of yellow mustard to the hummus itself. It adds a really subtle flavour. Next time I think I’ll throw some dill in there too :)

  11. grumble, i hate how busy the gym is this month! every january…

    i have a hard time going to bed sunday nights too! always.

    dope new bag! and i NEED to try the custard style. i have never even tried egg whites in oats actually. i need to hop on the egg train.

    i also need to try your mustard hummus! two things i love combined? yes please.

    love the pp + yogurt combo. stellar.

    this comment is all over the place! love you!

  12. I don’t go to the gyms…I hate gyms! The only work out I do is run outside though. I’m a free bird! :-)

  13. “Chili leftovers rock my socks”–me too! It’s one of those foods that just gets better with time, for sure!

    Crowded gyms. I teach yoga at gyms and yes, January is “try yoga for the first time and after ive hogged the teacher’s attention, I will never go back” month. LOL Sad but true. You just suck it up and smile and know that by March everyone will be gone.

    I love your new header too!

    And great comment u left me:”I’ve learned stepping out of the monotony of life is essential. No. More. Excuses.”
    I am soooooo happy for you!!!!!!!

  14. I hate crowded gyms which is partly why I don’t have a membership, it stresses me out!

  15. My gym is *never* busy, so I don’t have to worry about it. I like your tips, though.

    I used to do a run workout at the pool before swimming and occasionally both of the treadmills would be taken and it would totally throw me off my game. I like to think that I’m flexible but when it comes to runs I can be far too organized. Thanks for reminding everyone to loosen up. You’re right, it’s no sense stressing out about something that should be fun.

  16. Hmm, oatbran. I haven’t had that in a very looong time! I need to stock up! And I love that lunch bag, but let’s be honest–I would always need the whole thing! I take SO much food to work with me! Have a wonderful Tuesday! xoxo

  17. I’ve dealt with the busy gym by not going! lol! I’m waiting until after my doctor’s visit on the 25th to figure out what exercise is okay. Hopefully the gym will have settled by then…otherwise I’ll be using your handy tips! :)

  18. Great tips!

    I have been going to my current gym since August and after the new year this is the most crowded I have ever seen it, I do want everyone to succeed in their fitness goals but I’m also ready for the crowds to die down as well.

  19. Ugh I’m hating the new years resolution group that is crowding up the gym! I like going in the morning when it’s less crowded. But still! Hopefully it’ll lesson up by februrary! haha

  20. Beeks’ chia granola- NOM, I must make that when I get home!

    Yeah, I try to do all of your good suggestions. Be flexible- use a new pc of equipment if your fave is occupied- sometimes it’s what you need to push you out of that comfy zone.

    I admire anyone who can work out at 5pm. I’ve done it rarely and feel stellar afterward, but usually my energy is somewhere between slim and none at that time.

  21. Sadly I work till 5:00 so by the time I make it to the gym the crowd is already there, stealing prized parking spaces and my beloved machines. I try and work around it and tune them all out. Most of them will disappear in a month or two anyways, as is the case at the beginning of every year. Resolutions never stick for most people. I listen to my music and do what I can, where I can.

    Yeah, sure, sometimes I want to elbow someone in the face, but I resist the temptation. HA! :)

  22. That is an awesome lunch bag!

    I try to go to the gym at non-busy hours, like mid-morning. One perk of being a student! :)

  23. I’m loving your new pics! That Canon is nice!

    I either go in the mornings…or, sometimes, with the guys in the gym, you just have to stand your ground and make them realize they can’t push around the little ladies in the weight room!

  24. erintakescontrol

    With my schedule and childcare issues, I can usually sneak in from 330-430pm. If that isn’t possible, I get up and go from 645-730. I am usually a pretty shy person, but when it comes to asking a meathead if I can use one of the 25lb weights while he’s off walking around the gym between sets, I have no boundaries. They always say yes…another thing that helps when the gym is busy is to keep my headphones on the entire time I’m there.

  25. I bitch and moan about it until the people are gone :-) Really though, I love your thing about “your” machine. I do think women need to feel comfortable in the weight room with the boys, even if they are lifting light weights. Besides, most guys are way more interested in checking out themselves than you (at least, that’s what I find, but I also wear ratty t-shirt to the gym and probably give off “F U” vibes!)

    • People are definitely way more into themselves than those around them at the gym! Realizing that was what helped me get over my fear of the gym in the first place – it’s human nature! I think guys are either impressed by chicks in the weight room, or totally intimidated by them :P

  26. I really don’t like when the gym is crowded! I practice #5 a lot…
    I need to get a lunch bag like that!

  27. i love that all your meals you prepped ahead of time, and bada bing, bada boom, you were able to eat them all with ease today! fabulous.

    happy tuesday love :)

  28. hahaha since my weight routines are usually one set, i never am one to hog a machine (the elliptical- that’s another story!) but i don’t fear asking to use a machine either.. if all i’m doing is one set- psh, not a big deal.

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