Why You Should Stop Going to the Gym

First thing: New Year’s resolutions are bullshit. They’re arbitrary, they don’t mean anything and, almost 100 per cent of the time, they don’t get kept. And yet, every year, almost all of us end up making one or two — and more often than not, they have something to do with getting into better shape.

Which is exactly why you shouldn’t go to the gym right now.

If you are a loyal reader of Sharp, no doubt you have a well-trod fitness regimen. You are a devoted gym-goer, swimmer or racquetball enthusiast. You understand the way your body works, how the effort you put in to strengthening and sculpting will yield physical and psychological (and, let’s face it, aesthetic) benefits. You already work out, and you don’t need us to tell you to do more of it. Also, importantly, you probably went all through December, diligently squatting off those turkey dinners while the rest of the world watched Making A Murderer.

Problem is, now it’s everyone else’s turn. January at your local gym is a nightmare. It’s overcrowded with desperate, resolved faces, all of which are determined to shut you out of your favourite equipment. Locker rooms are especially overrun and, honestly, kind of gross, with staff unable to keep up with the requisite floor mopping. A 45-minute workout suddenly takes an hour and a half. What’s more, it’s dangerous: free weights flung across the floor and improperly replaced, newbies swinging their bodies wildly and unceremoniously into too-heavy lifts, too-complicated equipment, too-irritated regulars.

So here’s our endorsement: stop going. Take your gym holiday now, in these first couple of weeks of January. Let the resolutionists join up and either quit or learn what they’re doing. Give everyone some space. You can practice at home by running or doing push-ups, planks or whatever else you’re into. We’ll see you back in the weight room in February.