- Happy New Year!
For those of you who are regulars at the gym, you probably are warming up to let out a collective sigh in anticipation of the gyms becoming overcrowded as January welcomes the latest cohort of new members inspired to sign-up so that they can get fit and in shape for a new year.
This can be quite frustrating when your space is encroached by a larger number of people, especially when you know from experience that their commitment isn’t the same as yours.
Your mind might move to Mid-February when you can look forward to the hype dying down and normality resuming.
But, it’s worth remembering – for any new starter you have to respect the guts it’s taken to make that commitment towards a better life.
Therefore, don’t make them feel uncomfortable, make their life easier and make them feel welcome to keep coming back.
As you encounter people, please bear this advice in mind:
8 Nice Things You Can Do to Make People Feel Welcome at Your Gym this New Year
1. Put away your weights / take the plates off the bar.
I shouldn’t have to say this as every gym goer should be tidying after themselves 365 days of the year, but I feel this is worth reiterating at this time of year as not all gym members are capable lifting and shifting heavy plates you’ve laying around.
Don’t be a dick, you might think it’s impressive to leave dozens of 25kg plates on, so the next person knows how much you’ve leg pressed, but by leaving them on you can really impact the quality and enjoyment of someone’s session.
2. If you don’t get asked for advice, don’t offer it. If someone asks for advice, feel free to offer it.
I’m conflicted at suggestions to make new members feel welcome by offering advice.
The intent is correct, but if you go around offering unsolicited advice this can come off as intimidating.
As a new member I always remember someone interrupting my session telling me how it was done, then giving me a few exercises off my set program that I didn’t really know how to perform correctly.
The mustached bro who offered me the advice, then took his shirt off and started flexing in the mirror which creeped me out.
In my opinion, leave this to the staff who are employed to offer this support.
On the other hand, if someone asks a question about something you are doing, feel free to explain.
3. UNLESS… if you think someone is going to cause severe danger to themselves.
It’s quite subjective what someone putting themselves in danger actually means. For me it’s something that could cause serious injury/death, such as some dumb workout put out on Instagram for likes.
In all my time at the I’ve never seen anything excessively dangerous, except someone going a bit too heavy on the bench.
I’ll usually just ask them if they would like a spot… keep it simple so they don’t feel like they are being lectured by another gym member.
4. Don’t hog equipment
It’s a busy time of year, new members have joined and old member maybe getting pushed out of what they normally use.
In circumstances when the gym is busy, be more considerate on the amount of time I spend on equipment, especially popular items like the squat rack.
5. Don’t hang around equipment
Yes it’s frustrating with all these extra people, you have your set program where you MUST do something, but don’t hang around the equipment you need to use.
This can come off as intimidating and distracting, simply ask them how many sets they have left, go work on something else, then come back when they have finished.
6. Don’t Judge.
Respect that someone is trying to make a positive change.
If they are obese – respect that they are taking steps to make a positive change.
If they are weak – respect that they are taking steps to make a positive change.
If they are unfit – respect that they are taking steps to make a positive change.
7. Don’t stare.
A simple way of making someone feel like they are being judged is by constantly looking over at someone.
A woman you may find attractive, may feel uncomfortable if you keep checking her out (my general rule, even before marriage was to not use the gym as pick up point.)
Maybe you are really impressed with what they are doing. Maybe you are wondering WTF they are doing.
Maybe your just bored resting between sets and want to see what else is going on.
Just don’t stare, it’s really off putting.
8. Be as friendly and approachable as needed.
When I go to the gym I like to get in and get out.
I don’t talk to people I just get on with my workout.
I don’t invite attention, but I’m always curtious and polite whether it’s someone asking when I’ve finished or a question – I am a courteous as I need to be.
A final word…
Remember, we all started somewhere.
Think of how far you’ve come with your progress. Now imagine if you hadn’t had the support and patience of long establish members – how far do you think you would have got?
If you think you’re better than other gym goers because you have more plates on the bar you’re a dickhead.
It is frustrating not having the space and freedom you normally have, but if your objection is that deep, perhaps you should look to setting up a home gym instead?
And if you can’t do that, then you’ll just have to suck it up.
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