As we continue to work towards our goals and make changes to our routines and habits, some of us are joining new gyms while others are continuing to frequent the same gyms they’ve always been a part of.
That being said, try to remember what it was like when you were new to the gym. You were probably intimidated, scared, nervous, overwhelmed and unsure. What does that piece of equipment do? Who is that really buff guy over there? Where is the spray bottle to wipe down this sweaty mat? I wish I knew someone who could spot me….and so on. These concerns are especially valid for someone who has never worked out in a gym before.
So, how can we work to ensure that our gym (and, really ourselves) are welcoming, kind and approachable? Follow these steps to improving your gym environment:
- Get to know the regulars. Introduce yourself. Sure, it might feel awkward at first, but it’s more awkward to run on the treadmill beside the same person every day and not know their name. Knowing-and using- a fellow gym member’s name also makes them feel important. Think about how you feel when you’ve only met someone once or twice, but they remember your name when you next run into them. Addressing people by their name also helps to create a more familiar and comfortable atmosphere, sort of like a Cheers “where-everybody-knows-your-name” culture.
- Share your personality. Have fun! Let people get to know you. Have fun and make jokes. Ask people how their day is going. Comment on someone’s great form or ask where they got those awesome shoes.
- Be encouraging and motivational. As you get to know people, find out what their gym goals are. When you see them working towards that goal (or even achieving it- yay!), commend them on a job well done. Knowing that someone is in their corner could be just the motivation they need to keep going.
- Know what you’re there for. While all of the above is true, it must be done in conjunction with actually working out. No one likes the person who shows up to the gym and barely lifts a finger. As we say at Aspire, if you look good leaving the gym, you’re doing it wrong. Work your butt off and people will respect you.
- Be willing to learn. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Be open to people offering suggestions. Chances are someone may have a tip or suggestion that will get you over a particular fitness or health hurdle, you just need to be open to learning from those around you.
Contributing to your gym environment isn’t just good for others, it’s good for you too. When the gym becomes a place that we feel welcome in, we are more likely to want to return over and over again!