Oh, Doooooog, I hate this time year. Utterly freakin’ joyful that the holidays are over but then that segues to my least favorite season on the calendar: the season of New-Year-Resolution-Yahoos at my gym.

I could go on with a nasty rant but I’m really tired after my workout and spending all my available ectoplasm on this breed of people who seemingly exist only to piss me off. But one of my many New Year’s Resolutions is to be a nicer person, so as a former certified professional trainer, I am going to extend the proverbial olive branch to these people and be done with it.

Dear Yahoo:

1. You won’t last. If your motivation for entering the gym on January 2nd is based on the remorse of a year passed when you didn’t go to the gym then either, then I doubt you’ll stick around. So do us all a favor and get your guilt-membership in May when most of the gym regulars start exercising outdoors.

2. Should you last the first month, here’s the thing: it takes at least 4 months of regular gym going for it to truly become a good habit in your life. Because if you’re willing to trudge through the snow to workout, chances are good you’ll stick it out a bit further. That being said, don’t aim for the freakin’ moon. Pick three days, work out then, consistently, for an hour, no matter what, and then add more time after about 4 weeks.

3. It’s perfectly normal that you will curse and swear all the way to the gym, BUT, you will always be glad you went. There are precious few things in life you can say that about. I curse and swear my way through most daily activities and when it comes to the gym, I usually leave cursing and swearing as well, but never because of the workout.

4. Get a real trainer. Do not ask the people who work at the gym. Outside of major metropolitan areas, 95% of them don’t know what the hell they’re doing. They are paid babysitters who exist to sign you up, check you in, and mop up your sweat when you leave. And don’t go asking the Meat Heads** in the free-weight room. About 50% of them don’t know what the hell they’re doing either. I see such poor form, lousy technique and stupid, stupid, dangerous lifting on a daily basis from these lugs, it’s an effen miracle most of them aren’t crippled. But trust me, it’s just a matter of time…

Meat Head: (noun) a weightlifter who incorrectly lifts weights. A lifter who lifts weight they can not reasonably control. A Prima Donna who has to stare at himself in the mirror a full five minutes in between sets and has to convince himself he is “hot” or “looking good” before he can stop bogarting the equipment. A jackass who grunts, yells, and throws weights around thinking this is somehow cool. Which it isn’t.

5 . When meeting with your trainer, make sure they are certified through any of the following organizations: ACE, ISSA, NCSF, AFPA or a here’s a thought: a college degree! Someone who has studied Kinesiology. These people are few and far between, but they’re out there. Now certification doesn’t mean they are any good, but it does mean they at least made an effort to know more than the average bear.

6. A personal trainer who absolutely cripples you on the first day must be fired immediately. If you are unable walk, lift your arms, bend over, or breathe without massive amounts of pain, it means your trainer sucks. Anyone worth their salt will go lightly with you in the beginning and increase your workout intensity accordingly. There’s an old saying in fitness: you have to ease into killing yourself. No truer words have been spoken.

7. You can fire a trainer if the chemistry is off. Nothing personal, you just don’t get along, or it feels weird, or you don’t like their shoelaces. Trust your gut on this one, it’s usually right. Now if you don’t like the trainer because they don’t let you give up, or because they won’t let you be a lazy slug during your training, then you’re a wuss who needs an attitude adjustment.

8. Ladies: get in the damn free-weight room already. I know the dirty, sweaty, rude men make you uncomfortable, but muscle your way in and stake your claim.

9. Men: stop being dirty, sweaty and rude and make some room for the ladies.

10. All y’all: rack your weights when you are done with them! And do remember to mop off the puddle of skin juice you left on the bench. Nasty, y’all! Just plain nasty.

11. Educate your damn self. There’s millions of magazines, web sites, books, and videos out there with good information. Start experimenting (reasonably), ask questions, and find what works for you. Some you will like, some you will hate, some you will try and never do again, some you will become utterly addicted to and say “where have you been all my life?”. You need to be proactive and not rely on someone telling you what to do all the time or else this “health craze” will never last.

I could go on, but I’m getting pissy. It’s late. I’m tired. So good luck. If you clean up after yourself and stay out of my way, we’ll get along just fine.

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