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I Was a January Joiner

by Meghann on January 2, 2012

Greens! I’ve been missing greens from my diet lately!


I loaded up for lunch today with a warm kale salad topped with cooked carrots, green beans, mushrooms, and some plain greek yogurt and hummus.


With 1/2 a white cheddar cheese quesadilla to round the meal out.



January Joiners

Every January a fresh crop of health and fitness enthusiasts (inspired by New Year’s resolutions or the guilt of overindulging during the holidays) commit themselves to a new year of working out and eating right. They find a diet plan, join a gym, and claim this is the the year they will reach such-and-such goal.

You’ve seen them around and if you haven’t seen them yet, you will soon. They’re called January Joiners and they’re about to invade a fitness class/ gym near you. (Caitlin has done a whole series on January Joiners) Get ready for good deals, big crowds, and some unflattering workout gear that hasn’t seen the light in over a decade (or since last January). πŸ˜‰

Unfortunately, the level of newfound dedication and crowds won’t last for long. More than likely over 50% of January Joiners will be calling it quits on their new healthy habits before the month of March even begins.

There are plenty of jokes out there surrounding these statistics and the probability of how many January Joiners will see their goal to the end, but I promise they’re not all goners. There are successes and I am a prime example of one of them.

Back in 2008, I was a January Joiner. That New Year’s I made a resolution to lose the 20 stubborn pounds I had gained while working at a desk and finally get my butt in shape. It was a commitment I had made mentally in the past, but not one I had ever acted on. This time around I was bound and determined to make it happen.


Back then I knew nothing, NOTHING, about eating right or staying fit. I knew enough to know that fad diets would get me no where and if I wanted to be healthy, I had to start moving, but that was it.

I roamed the internet those first few weeks soaking up any information I could on the best ways to lose the weight. I discovered healthy recipe sites, I took advantage of January fitness deals, I became one of those annoying newbie fitness freaks who talked about nothing, but running and new accomplishments (I guess much hasn’t changed?), and you know what? I stuck with it!


My January Joiners status transferred to February (when I ran my first 5k), to March (when I ran my second), and so-on and so-on. Four years later I’m still a committed fitness freak and, as they say, the rest is history.

I stayed committed because I had an awesome group of family and friends who encouraged me along the way. Without them I probably would have become another failed statistic. There truly is power in numbers and strength in support. I also stayed away from the ‘all or nothing’ attitude that so many January Joiners fail with. I ate healthier and I exercised more, but I also still enjoyed my treats and didn’t take a rough day as an excuse to throw in the towel. I think that’s the key.

I know the gyms are about to get very crowded and you’re going to get very sick of hearing the phrase ‘Have you called Jenny yet?’ on the television, but please be kind to all of the newbie January Joiners. Most of them are just as excited and thirsty for knowledge as the rest of us on how to live a healthier life. Who knows? That kindness may be just what they need to reach the goals they’ve committed to.

Here’s to a new crop of January Joiners and the hope that the passion for health and fitness stays with them.

Were you a January Joiner?

1 Cara @ I Don't Believe in Diets January 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I was not a January joiner, but I am definitely a supporter of them. I might however avoid the gym for outside/at my home workouts for the first 2 weeks of January because waiting for machines drives me nuts. heh.

2 Lizzy January 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I was a JJ in 2010. I made a major lifestyle change and over the past two years have lost about 80 pounds. Exercise and eating healthfully are now just a part of who I am. Be nice to those JJ and give them support because it may just change their life!

3 Cait's Plate January 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm

I’ve never been a January Joiner…simply because I’ve always been pretty active and have always tried my best to eat healthy. And even though it’s a little annoying to have the gyms fill up so much in January, it makes me feel proud of those people at least getting out there to do it – and hopefully they all stick with it like you did!
Cait’s Plate recently posted..2012

4 Amy January 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Thank you for reminding all of us who are fitness fanatics that we all started somewhere. Kind words of encouragement are possibly the difference between JJ sticking with it or quitting. This is a great post!
Amy recently posted..2012 First Run 10K

5 Heather January 2, 2012 at 3:13 pm

yes and no. I worked out regularly, but I was a distance running January Joiner after watching friends run the 2009 WDW marathon I knew I HAD to run it, so my running journey began in my favorite place on earth!
Heather recently posted..Holiday Wrap Up

6 Brittany January 2, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I was more of a September Joiner. When I went off to college my freshman year I knew I couldn’t gain the freshman 15 so I set out to eat healthy and workout. It worked. I lost 20 pounds my freshman year and have kept it off since using the same habits I started in 2003. πŸ™‚

Hope you’re doing well Meghann!!
Brittany recently posted..Vegan Gluten Free Gingersnap Cookies

7 Meghan January 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm

With a Facebook wall full of people complaining about January Joiners, it’s was great to read this! Joining a gym can already be intimidating for many people, so I can only imagine how hard it is too stick with it when your fellow gym goers are complaining about you instead of welcoming you. I’ll keep your post in mind as a way to keep my patience when I have to wait for a treadmill tonight.

I can’t remember when I officially joined a gym! I remember easing into it by taking a few classes first, until I felt comfortable at the gym and could see myself going their on a regular basis.

8 Emily January 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm

I am not a January joiner. And I struggle with them. I have to learn to take a deep breath and help more. Instead of getting stressed when I see someone with improper form on the squat rack, I should help them. Right?

Here is to hoping that some of the joiners become fitness freaks like you Megann and really work to change their lives! πŸ™‚
Emily recently posted..Marathon Training: Day 1

9 Alice January 2, 2012 at 4:08 pm

i was a january joiner! last year i joined a gym the first week of january and a year last i’m down almost 40 pounds and am training for my first half marathon.
Alice recently posted..december, 2010.

10 Amy January 2, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Thanks, Meghann. I needed to read this. As a regular gym goer (September joiner) for 10+ years, I often dread the first few weeks of January, where all the equipment I want is taken, and where all “my” regular spots in group fitness classes are full. I will keep this post in the back of my mind the next time I’m tempted to utter curse words at my fellow (albeit newbie) fitness enthusiasts.

11 Aimee January 2, 2012 at 4:17 pm

I’ve never heard the term “January Joiner,” but maybe that’s because I don’t go to a traditional gym much. It can be really intimidating for gym newbies to put themselves out there in front of seasoned gym-goers (surely someone will see that I have no idea what I’m doing!), so I think it’s great that you’re promoting a welcoming attitude for people just starting (or re-starting) out. As someone else said, everybody’s gotta start somewhere!

12 Sana January 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm

I hate it when people complain about the gym, being packed, at least people are exercising!
Sana recently posted..First Day of the New Year

13 Shannon January 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm

I wan’t quite a January Joiner, because I started my “healthy journey” two fall’s ago, but I did make a hefty list of fitness related new years resolutions from running my first 5K, 10 miler, triathlon, and half marathon this year and I reached them all! I think New Years resolutions can definitely be great motivators if you put your mind to it. People who are convinced that they can’t change for good don’t have the desire to. There is always room to grow!
Shannon recently posted..Sushi and Savasana

14 Chelsea @ Go Chelsea Go! January 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm

I was also a “January joiner” two years ago, although I didn’t join a gym to kick my butt back into shape! I ended up using one of the two lonely treadmills that my apartment called “a gym” and started a Couch to 5K plan. Now, two years later, I’m still running!
Chelsea @ Go Chelsea Go! recently posted..12 Hours to Start 2012!

15 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats January 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I was not a january joiner, and I definitely get annoyed with all the extra people. BUT I’d much rather have the world a healthier and happier place so I do hope they stay!
Katie @ Peace Love & Oats recently posted..Small Town NC–NYE 2012

16 Liz January 2, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I am a complainer about January joiners and while I appreciate your sentiments here, there are still many downsides to the new crop of work outers. Yes, people are working out, but do they need to do it on groups, stand around in the way in the weight room and take up all the treadmills and lift 5 pound weights? I’m sure I sound like a totall bitch for saying it but I have to tell the truth: January joiners make me hate the gym until February.
Liz recently posted..Self Defense

17 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen January 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I kind of was! I had started to lose the 20 pounds I needed to in the fall, but January was when I started working out and became addicted to running. I think I’m one of the few people that don’t get annoyed by January joiners, I want them to stick with it!
Gina @ Running to the Kitchen recently posted..My favorite cardio & strength workouts

18 meghan January 2, 2012 at 4:54 pm

While I wasn’t a January joiner I was close. I was a March joiner in 2011 and have actually stuck with it. I ran my first 5k in August, 10k in September, and half marathon in October. I also now have added spin and yoga to my repertoire. I’m hoping to add BodyPump as well…

This morning at the gym though I definitely did see a few January joiners with interesting wardrobe choices. One lady was wearing a long tank top with thin leggings/thick hose, and I just have to say when she bent over to stretch after spin class it wasn’t the most beautiful thing I saw all day.
meghan recently posted..a place for everything…

19 Cait @ Beyond Bananas January 2, 2012 at 5:21 pm

It’s funny. I used to dread this time of year because the gym becomes packed with January joiners.. and in about 3 weeks it usually thins out to a more regular crowd.

But since starting my blog in April… my feelings have changed. Was I looking forward to a crowded gym? Not necessarily. But knowing how important health is and how key it is to treat your body right and keep in shape, I felt guilty when I was angry I had to wait for a treadmill. I want the January joiners to succeed… and to follow through with their commitment. If I wait.. then I wait.

20 Kathy January 2, 2012 at 5:47 pm

I am a Joiner…period.

I join or start a lot of fitness / eating plans …get the weight off and then party (eat) for a few months and it comes back! Thus…repeat cycle…every 6 months or so.

I lost the stubborn 20 almost 9 years ago to have a baby ….lose the weight except for the last 10. Now I have waffled between the 10 ….up and down and up and down for the last 5 years. I thought last year was my year to finally keep it off after running my first half marathon.

However, I guess the high of the marathon didn’t last long once Halloween hit and the candy high took over. I have gained back the 10 once again!

Here’s to another year of trying and succeeding!!
Kathy recently posted..Fun Weekend.

21 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City January 2, 2012 at 5:57 pm

I was a January joiner too, but my story is a little bit different. I was active in highschool (7 letterer) but didn’t have the best eating habits and at the start of my junior year (college stress, first breakup), I really started to put on the pounds. They accumulated until the end of December my senior year when I asked my mom for help to lose the weight.

Luckily my family is amazing and supported me and come January 1st my mom helped me clean up my diet and the rest is history. After I graduated, I started running more and the pounds came off even faster.

Yay January joiners!
Lindsay @ Running the Windy City recently posted..Interval-tastic

22 Katie For Life January 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm

I work at an athletic club and today was the busiest I have ever seen it! We actually ran out of towels! A lot of our “regular” members are annoyed by how busy it is, and I can see why, but I do want all of the January Joiners to succeed. The gym might be crowded, but it is great to see so many making an effort to be healthy!
Katie For Life recently posted..PCOS: Another Reason to Get Healthy

23 Jana January 2, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Love this post! I think it’s so important to not judge others at the gym. There will always be someone there more physically fit than you, and how would you feel if that person looked down on you because you may not know what a Crow pose is in yoga, or what Zumba includes. We should encourage the newbies knowing there will always be a day we need the extra support too!
Jana recently posted..What’s to come in 2012?

24 Dani Eats Veggies January 2, 2012 at 6:51 pm

No, but I’m definitely a supporter… when individuals get healthier, it’s better for everyone!
Dani Eats Veggies recently posted..2011 Hershey Half Marathon

25 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama January 2, 2012 at 7:07 pm

As someone who has worked in the fitness industry a long time, I’ve seen many highly motivated people start the year off at the gym. I admit I’m guilty of being annoyed by January Joiners but I try to remind myself that everyone needs to start somewhere and applaud those who are at least attempting to change their lives. Maybe if we all can show a little encouragement to someone new, they’ll stick with it.
Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..A Beach Day in January

26 Laura January 2, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Thank you! I was not a January Joiner but I keep seeing negative comments all over the place about how crowded the gyms are and such. It’s so difficult to take the first (and second, and third and 50th) step to getting and staying healthy, without feeling like your fellow gym-goers are scowling at you.
Laura recently posted..Spiced Pork Chops with Butternut Squash

27 Laura January 2, 2012 at 8:45 pm

The most recent time that I got into fitness was in January, but it wasn’t because of New Years… it was because I got engaged. I had always been athletic, but the big girl job helped me pack on a few pounds that I needed to get rid of.
Laura recently posted..Monday Morning Motivation

28 January 2, 2012 at 8:48 pm

I always start near the holidays like a dumb butt. πŸ™‚ I do look forward to the new blogs that start at this time of year. recently posted..Your giggle for the day

29 Vikki January 2, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Hmmm…I’ve given up on going to my gym for the next month or so. I’ll hoop in my living room or take a walk or do my yoga DVD. By the end of the month, it will be less crowded.
Vikki recently posted..Rejection Sucks

30 Sara@RunningInPinkProject January 2, 2012 at 9:11 pm

I liked this post. πŸ™‚ Im a January “re-joiner” this year at the gym and trails. Last year I was a Jan joiner at a Bikram yoga studio and Ive stuck with it a year. I just started my second 30 day challenge. Im hoping the rest (diet and workouts) stick this year like the yoga did last year. Ive struggled…a lot. But I really do feel ready to take care of business this year. Kindness does go a long way for sure! Great post!
Sara@RunningInPinkProject recently posted..So Hot, So Cold, So Cozy

31 Nicole January 2, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Amen. Very well said!
Nicole recently posted..Sneaking in one last day of vacation

32 Reenie January 2, 2012 at 10:29 pm

We’ve all gotta start somewhere…..whether it be January or another month. I’m getting my butt in gear and making myself go ………so I guess I’m kind of a January joiner ~ or re-joiner =)

33 Jess January 2, 2012 at 10:52 pm

I’m a January re-joiner. I fell off the wagon in the middle of my last semester (Augustish) and December being crazy (birthday, graduation, work in retail) I figured that January would be a good time to start again.

I hate all the negativity around JJ. People have to start somewhere!!

34 Army Amy* January 2, 2012 at 11:30 pm

I was a JJ! In 2010, I set my sights on running a 5k. I was ran my 5k in March and kept on running to a full marathon that December. I’m still going strong. In fact, I ran two half marathons this weekend!*
Army Amy* recently posted..NYD Day Two Race Recap

35 Allie January 3, 2012 at 12:51 am

I AM a January Joiner, this year!!
Allie recently posted..Ringing in the New Year

36 Rachel January 3, 2012 at 9:41 am

I was a joiner the same year as you! I had a few more lbs to lose…85. Also like you I’m 100% still a freak…I’m a personal trainer these days. I was mainly a cyclist but this year I want to be a Running Joiner!
Rachel recently posted..Operation Finisher: Phase 2

37 Jennifer V. January 3, 2012 at 11:23 am

I was a January joiner last year and stuck with it! Your blog along with many others inspired me to be healthy. Since last January I have lost 45 pounds πŸ™‚

38 Alicia B. January 3, 2012 at 11:31 am

I was a corporate-fair joiner. Thanks to the benefits of one job I held in Arizona, I joined a gym at a discounted rate during enrollment periods for our insurance. As part of the deal, I got a couple free consultations with a trainer. It was the first gym I ever joined, and I slowly embed myself in it by getting to know the staff — and by training one-on-one with a trainer. That helped me feel comfortable in going. Ever since then (when I saw weight loss results), I’ve stuck with it!

– Alicia

39 Rachel January 4, 2012 at 11:10 am

I started in November because I didn’t want to wait until I gained 5-10lbs! It has worked out nicely and I’ve been able to eliminate almost all processed foods and added sugar while cutting back on portions big time!

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