Wednesday, January 2, 2008

"Resolution Month" at the Gym: This Year, Try Sticking With It!

I admit to being a fitness elitist.

With 16 marathons under my feet, three Chesapeake Bay Bridge swims, countless additional road races, triathlons, adventure races and innumerable hours spent in gyms throughout the world, my fitness portfolio is filled with accomplishments.

While fitness is for me a year-round pursuit, every January I generally stay away from the gym. Because January, as anyone who spends any time at a gym knows, is "Resolution Month."

During "Resolution Month," people who haven't been inside a gym for months--if not years--resolve to shed the excess pounds accumulated over months and years of indolence; they strive to regain the level of fitness they had in their 20s or 30s.

Filled with admirable intentions and ambitious (if unrealistic) goals, for three to four weeks they infest the gym.

"Regulars" recognize these newcomers by their trendy new fitness clothes, their sleek Nalgene water bottles, their new iPods, their 'hit-it-hard' approach to weightlifting and cardio, and their often dangerous techniques. When we see the newcomers, regulars exchange knowing glances: We know it's January and we know that come February the infestation will subside.

I admire people who resolve to do the extremely hard work of losing weight and getting in shape. I always say it's harder to get in shape than it is to stay in shape, so when I go to the gym in January (which as I mentioned is not often), I compliment the newcomers.

I encourage them to stick with it, to persist, to persevere, so that next January they too will recognize the newcomers; so that next January they'll realize where they were this January and be justifiably proud in their accomplishments.