Kickstart your exercise routine in 2014 

No Excuses

No Excuses

If you walk into a gym, studio or any kind of fitness facility in the month of January, you'll witness an interesting social hierarchy.

At the top of the food chain, you have the people who work out religiously year-round. You'll be able to spot them immediately, because their fancy, perfectly coordinated activewear reveals they didn't gain an ounce of pudge over the holiday season. They're annoyed by the crowded state of their sacred exercise space, which has been invaded by people who repeatedly get stuck in the leg press machine and put the hand weights back on the wrong shelf.

But gradually, their barely concealed scowls will melt into smirks as they realize that just like January in years past, the majority of the newbies are New Year's Resolutioners — i.e., the bottom of of the food chain. Most of them will give up by the first week of February, and everything will be back to normal.

Resolutioners can be identified by the way they tiptoe into the cardio room like freshmen entering the cafeteria on the first day of high school. They timidly step on a piece of equipment and — if they manage to figure out how to turn it on — suffer through 30 minutes of cardio before one of the cool kids kicks them off, gesticulating toward the 30-minute time limit sign on the wall. (The cool kids violate this rule all the time, by the way.) You might see these ragged newbies in the locker room later, trying to keep a low profile so they can avoid getting a wedgie.

Hopefully you fall somewhere between these two extremes, because if you're the former, we don't really want to talk to you, and if you're the latter, we don't want to have to pry you out of the leg press machine. Losing weight is once again the No. 1 New Year's resolution for Americans, but according to Time, it's also the most commonly broken one. Still, no matter what your excuse is, you can buck this trend and actually lose weight by adhering to an improved fitness regimen.

Maybe you're kind of shy and you're afraid of trying something new. Use this as an opportunity to break out of your comfort zone — introduce yourself to a staffer at the gym or the instructor leading your class. You'll get some personal attention, which is important if you're doing something you've never done before, unless you like getting injured.

"Tell the instructors you are new," advises Sarah-Jane Hill, owner of Krank Nashville. "They will watch and encourage. If they do not, move on to another instructor. Demand the best!"

If you cringe at the idea of being watched, the instructor is probably the only person really keeping an eye on you, and that's for your own safety. Sure, your classmates may glance your way every once in a while, but most exercisers tend to watch themselves in the mirrors, and not because they're narcissists. (Well, some of them surely are.) If you're doing something that requires focus, like yoga, you'll probably fall over if you spend the whole time watching other people.

If you have a problem sticking with a new fitness routine, being accountable for your actions is integral to success. Committing to a plan ensures that others are aware of your fitness goals, and can lend much-needed support when you don't feel like going to yoga at 6 a.m. ... or 6 p.m.

"Make a commitment to some sort of challenge, or five days a week, etc., and ask someone to hold you accountable," recommends Susannah Herring, owner of Hot Yoga Plus. "[We offer] a 30/60/90 day challenge. It is a great way to commit to a goal, and fun to see your progress each day in the studio."

Maybe a gym or studio membership isn't really in your budget. Despite the recent cold snap, Nashville is usually agreeable to year-round outdoor exercise, so you can walk, run, skip or crawl throughout one of our lovely parks. (If you truly like torture, run the stone steps at Percy Warner.)

So no more excuses, friends. Get off your asses already, or you totally deserve that wedgie.



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