So you made the resolution…now what?  Have you seen the gym lately, it is packed with those newbies.  But what happens in a month or two when the business dies down and it is just you and the regulars in the fitness center…where do all of the other people go?  Some just quit, others are injured and/or are so sore that they don’t want to come back and some don’t know how to progress to the next level?  So how do you stay injury free in the new year, here are some tips.

1.  If you don’t have a gym membership and this is part of your resolution consider the following:  Hours of operation, childcare, personal training staff and equipment.  Big box gyms are great, but maybe a smaller more intimate gym is better for you.  Don’t be afraid to shop around, haggle with the person regarding price and most importantly make sure you feel comfortable there.

2.  It may seem like common sense but if you haven’t worked out in awhile and the only exercise you have seen has been walking from your desk to your car then please start slow.  There is no reason to start off going gang busters. Starting off too quickly can cause injury and soreness.  Injury will sideline you, soreness will make you not want to come back.  Be smart!  Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will be your “perfect” body.

3.  Personal trainers.  The cost of a trainer varies greatly…more expensive does not mean better or a better fit for you.  Be careful in selecting you trainer.  Watch how the trainer interacts with others.  Interview a few trainers.  Make sure that the trainer is listening to your goals.  Also, two cancellations from a trainer and I usually say dump him/her.  Your time is valuable and so is your money…find a trainer that respects you.

4.  Shoes.  So you got brand new kicks for Christmas and now your feet hurt terribly after working out.  Well, like anything new shoes need to be broken in.  If you are running, wear your new shoes for short distances.  If you haven’t gotten new shoes yet, then be fitted by a professional.  The new minimus shoe rage is great, but not for everyone.  Make sure you are getting the correct shoe for your activity.

5.  Apparel.  So your mom got you a great new velour track suit and you want to wear it to the gym.  Ummm…not so much.  Rock that track suit to and from the gym or anywhere else but the gym is not the place for velour.  It will be hot and doesn’t breath.  Get a few pair of workout pants and tops.  No need to spend a fortune. TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, Marshalls and Target have affordable workout clothes and shop the sale rack it is filled with great stuff.  (Target marks down workout clothes on Thursdays). Cute clothes will make you want to workout longer, trust me.

6.  Bras.  I have said it before but I will say it again.  Get a good bra.  There is nothing worse than watching a woman on a cardio machine and her boobs are bouncing so violently that you are sure the person next to her is going to be taken out.  Good support is key.  ONCE THE LIGAMENTS IN THE BREASTS ARE STRETCHED THEY CANNOT BE TIGHTENED WITHOUT SURGERY!  Think about this very carefully.

7.  Gadgets.  I am not a music person when I workout.  I feel constricted with the earphones on and when I run I don’t like to have music because I like to hear what is surrounding me…but…many people like music and gadgets.  Here’s my take…gadgets are great for some people but make sure you have all of the cords of the headphones in check before getting on a machine.  I have seen numerous people this week get their cords tangled when doing cardio and then the gadget when flying and the person was very flustered.  Have a plan for your gadget (arm band to hold it or pocket in your workout clothing and make sure the cord for the earphones are not too long).

8.  Etiquette:  Please do not do the following.  Talk loudly on your cell phone, the gym is my time as well as yours and I don’t like to hear your life story when I am trying to escape from mine for an hour.  I like to wear perfume, but not to the gym.  Overbearing smells make me want to throw up.  Also, wipe down the machines when you are done.

9.  ASK FOR HELP.  If you don’t know how to use a machine, why struggle?  There are paid staff at the gym to help you with this….if they don’t help this isn’t the gym for you.  If you don’t ask you are running the risk of getting injured and that will derail your fitness goals for 2012.

10.  Group fitness classes.  Make sure the instructor gives options for newbies/intermediate/ and advanced.  If a move hurts, PLEASE TELL THE INSTRUCTOR, they should be able to give you a modification that works for you.  If not, this is not the class you want to take.

Be smart in your fitness goals for 2012.  Don’t start off too fast and then peter out by February only to find yourself making the same fitness goals in January 2013.  Slow and steady wins the race.