So the gym, aka your second home, is suddenly full of new faces and chaos, find out why the new members should be encouraged
Human nature seems to do well with new beginnings, a fresh start, a new chapter, a rebirth.
If there is one date that is celebrated all over the world, it is the beginning of a new year. And all businesses will use this time to attract new business, and gym owners are not immune to this trend.
On social media, I am surrounded by passionate athletes, personal trainers, nutritionists, all of them constantly reminding me how much it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. I am a firm believer of prevention, and lived on my own skin amazing health improvements once I learned all about eating healthy and training in a productive way. So why is it that these same people that share daily motivational quotes and selfies about how amazing it feels to train, are so eager to make fun of anybody that discovers the fit lifestyle?
The Fitfam is big enough for everybody, and you were once a newbie
Remember that anybody joining a gym was promised the same services as you, a great environment, in clean safe premises.
Do not blame the new members
A gym is still a business, and sometimes, management will make the mistake of accepting more members than the gym can actually welcome for their size, disregarding the quality of the service. The result will often lead regular members to go somewhere else, and new ones to give up early on their new found gym passion, or go somewhere else once renewal time arrives.
Remember that we all have a different story, remember your story.
You were once a newbie. The now IFBB pro athlete was once a kid that was trying to figure out his program by reading Flex, and by staring with the corner of his eye at a more advanced athlete in the gym.
Not all people who love the gym are bikini competitors, there will be women in their late 50s, anybody in my mom’s age bracket that will not get intimidated by a room full of half-naked women half her age, gets all my admiration. Do not make them feel uncomfortable, let them do their thing, just like you do yours.
Take a moment and remember what made you start training, or how you were a newbie and now are a successful trainer, or pursuing your prep in the hopes of becoming a pro, or how your health improved exponentially thru the years, thanks to your discipline and love for the iron. Why not allow the same opportunity to grow and discover this discipline to others? Not to mention that if you are a trainer, you have here a full batch of potential new clients.
Don’t be a dream killer!
Years ago I had just started at this new gym, as a student I was always looking for the best deals and was very happy of the gym I got to enroll in.
During my workout, I went and took a bench in front of the dumbbells and proceeded to do my biceps workout. There was a woman on my right, and a man on my left. The woman, loud enough for me to hear, said to her friend: “Not only do they come and take up our space, but on top of it they take the best spots.”
I was crushed. I was minding my business enjoying my workout. Why would she say such a thing? I finished as quickly as I could and went home to my boyfriend with tears in my eyes. He was a seasoned bodybuilder and competitor, and he said to me: “Do not worry one bit about them , you go back and keep going back and train, just remember that they were once exactly in your position, a beginner.”
So I did go back, and my love for training and prevention brought me to amazing discoveries, I became a certified personal trainer, and there is no telling of how this passion will develop thru the years.
Considering that we do not know the story behind every new member at the gym, let’s all remember that a new environment can feel very unsettling at first. Also for a newbie, it can feel pretty unsettling to be surrounded by men and women that all look like they know what they are doing, going from one machine to another like they were born to do it.
Let’s remember why we love this game of bodybuilding.
When a person is new at a gym, sometimes they won’t know where the equipment is, or won’t remember where the water fountains are, and so on. If they are overweight and used to be fit, they might even feel a bit of shame, so please let’s not make it worse by staring or acting annoyed when a new member uses “your”machines. Let’s remember why we love this game of bodybuilding.
Respect goes both ways
If you notice that a fellow member does not put the weights back, or doesn’t clean the cardio machines, or if you see way too many members to even do your workout, go complain to management. They are providing a service that you pay for, they should make sure all members respect the rules.
If a member is sitting on a piece of equipment and just staring at the wall or at their phone, politely go up to them, and with a smile, ask them if they could go seat somewhere else while you continue with your workout.
Don’t assume they know all of these “obvious” rules, when you start, it can be overwhelming, and a lot to take in. You need a specific machine? Just smile and ask how many more sets they have, how much longer they need, and so on.
Making an easier transition into the New Year
Since every year is history repeating, I recommend a few tips to not loose your cool, ruin your workout, and end up shaming and discouraging new members
- Ask management to please stretch to new members what the busiest times in the gym are, and recommend them to avoid those time slots.
- Maybe just for January until mid-February, try to work-out around the days where you notice a lot of people training, usually new members tend to train right after office hours, and Friday is the day with the least people working out.
Below is the link to an article where I compiled great advice to give to new members, feel free to share it.
Remember that the members are not to blame, just like you, they have a passion for the gym and simply want to improve on their health, and the effort that it implies deserves respect. So next time a newbie stares at you while doing some very basic move, just smile with encouragement. We were all newbies once. We have all been there, so let’s help each other, let’s be each other’s motivation. Because bodybuilding is a lifestyle, bodybuilding is about turning yourself into a better you.
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