“Hey Michelle! Happy new year!”
I had just finished up with one client and was waiting for my next. The long-time gym member plopped down beside me with her foam roller.
“It’s busy in here today,” she observed loudly, rolling her eyes. “I wonder how many of these people will still be here in February.”
“Hopefully all of them,” I answered, then turned my attention to my client who had just arrived.
It’s that time of year when gyms start bursting at the seams. There are ways we all can make this time productive, positive, and fun.
For folks who have been doing this for a while...be patient. And kind. A lot of people will be starting a new health regimen and that’s not easy. Many rookies come to the gym not knowing what to do. They can feel embarrassed, nervous, intimidated. That barbell you’re so comfortable with can be absolutely terrifying to someone who hasn’t ever felt its heft on their back. Some new members may know exactly what to do, but they got off track years ago and starting over can feel pretty demoralizing.
There are some very easy things experienced gym-goers can do to help the rookies:
Smile and say hello.
Model good behavior. Wipe sweat off equipment you use, put the foam rollers back where they belong, rack your weights.
Answer questions if asked, but don’t offer unsolicited advice. No matter how well-meaning your advice, it’s likely to be awkward for the newbie.
Refer people to good trainers. If you’ve worked with someone you loved, send some business their way. The rookie gets help, the trainer gets business, and you might get a complimentary service. Everybody wins!
If you’re a rookie hitting the gym for the first time...welcome! Amazing things can be achieved at the gym and there are plenty of ways to make that magic happen. Please don’t be intimidated by all those folks who seem to be crushing it in ways that (right now) you can’t even imagine. You belong here!
There are several ways to maximize your experience, especially if you’re just getting started:
Smile and say hello. You’ll find that you see the same members of the gym day after day. Some will simply provide comforting familiarity, others will become your friends.
Observe common-sense gym etiquette. Wipe sweat off equipment you use, put the foam rollers back where they belong, rack your weights. If you’re not sure what “the rules” are, ask a trainer or someone from the membership team. And if you find out you’ve been doing something that isn’t good gym etiquette, don’t worry. Now you know!
Have session with a trainer. Most gyms offer at least one complimentary session with a trainer to help you get started. Use that session to get some tips on good exercises, how to use equipment safely, and how the gym works overall. The trainer may pitch you for training sessions. Don’t feel obligated! But sometimes a few sessions with a trainer is exactly what you need to start feeling comfortable at the gym and to see results.
I love the beginning of a new year. Resolutions, fresh starts, everything is possible. Whatever your goals are, I hope you achieve them in spectacular fashion.
C’mon 2020...bring it!