Don’t let anything derail you from keeping up with your fitness goals. That includes a packed fitness center or your favorite locker near the shower being claimed. Gyms will always have peak and off-peak periods, but you can remain a year-round regular.

5 excuse-free ways to navigate busy gyms

You signed the paperwork, paid the fees and are inspired and ready to hit the gym, but you need a game plan to get started. Perhaps you’ve been hitting the weights and treadmill religiously, then a new crop of health enthusiasts descended on your turf. Don’t let anything derail you from keeping up with your fitness goals. 

Whether you’re a beginner or fitness buff, here’s some insider information on optimizing your gym time: 


Define your goals

Why is fitness important in your life? What are your health goals, and how can you best accomplish them? Whether it’s for health reasons or because your jeans are a little snug, remind yourself each day—especially the days you want to skip the gym—why being healthy matters to you.


Be positive

Rather than be bitter that the swim lanes are full, choose patience. Remember, you were once a newbie at the gym too. Take a moment to be thankful that others are choosing to make positive changes in their lives. Everyone has to start somewhere. Rather than give them an eye-roll or cold shoulder, smile and ask to share the lane with them.


Stick to a schedule

Don’t let a packed house keep you from working out. That’s one more excuse you don’t need to block your success. Plan and commit to a schedule. Whether you love running on the treadmill five days a week or alternate fitness classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, keep showing up. No matter the weather or how busy you are, get your workout in for the day.  


Switch it up

Some days are better than others. Rather than skipping a workout, have an alternative in your back pocket. If you’re feeling sore and didn’t sleep well, stretching is a great way to relax the body and mind while relieving sore muscles. If the bikes are occupied, try a class that meets around the time you’ve scheduled your workout. Couldn’t wake up early to sweat it out before work? Take your workout outside in the evening with a hike, bike ride, walk or run.  


Learn something new

So. Many. Machines! What do they do, and how in the world do they work? If this is your panicked thought when you eyeball fitness equipment, turn to an instructor or coach. Not only can they help you navigate the rows of equipment, they’ll teach you proper form and technique. If your routine feels a little blah, hire an instructor to put variety and challenge into your workout rotation.  

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