Written by Colbie Rose
I see you there. You’ve been going to the gym for a while. You know your way around; you feel confident when you step through the front door. Yes. You are here to workout.
Then January 1st rolls around. You groan a little. It’s time for the New Year’s Resolution-ers to start filling up your precious gym. You preplan your workout schedule to try to avoid peak busy times. You complain about how full the gym is. Maybe you even glare a little.
Stop that. Stop that right now. You were not born in a gym (probably). Even if you were, you were not born knowing your way around said gym. To put it in the language of the internet in the 2000s, you were a noob once too.
So. When you see new people in the gym, here’s what I want you to do. Think back to when you started. Think back to WHY you started. Think back to who you were as a person at that time. Then take a look at yourself now. Think of what you have gained from this experience, whether it be mentally, physically or what have you. Think about why you are still here. Hopefully, it’s because you are trying to better yourself in some way. Maybe you’re an athlete that wants to be nationally competitive. Maybe you’re a dude that wants to pull a 500lb deadlift. Maybe you love the feeling of being out of breath after interval training. Maybe running makes you feel alive. Whatever the reason, know that you are in the gym for a reason. You have a purpose in being in that wonderful space that is DEDICATED to better yourself. That’s pretty damn awesome.
And that is exactly the same reason why all these “new” people are there. You cannot fault someone for wanting to improve themselves.
Instead, try to be the person you would have liked to have known (or maybe did know), when you started this fitness thing. Be the person that smiles at newcomers. Be patient and understanding. You were there too, once. Don’t be in such a terrible rush; there’s plenty of time in life to do the things you need to. And if this ONE workout has to be modified a little, so be it. Fitness goals are not short-term. Your health is not short-term.
Now, depending on where you work out, how much you interact with other gym members may vary. At my gym, we have a very close-knit community and are fairly involved in each other’s lives. If you go to a gym where that’s the norm, please, please introduce yourself to new members. Praise their progress. Contribute to making the gym a positive environment. If you go to a gym with less member interaction, just use some basic common courtesy. I still think a “hey, you’re doing great!” is an acceptable comment, provided you stand a “safe” distance from said person (at least a meter), and make an effort to seem genuine. Do not go up to someone and start critiquing their form on a certain exercise. If it looks like someone is confused or in need of help, ask “would you like some help?” Respect their decision, no matter what their answer. If you see someone doing something that is flat out dangerous, alert the gym staff.
Too many people don’t go to the gym because they feel like they don’t fit in. They don’t want to stand out with their lack of knowledge. It takes time to find your groove in this whole fitness thing. It’s never easy, eventually, we all learn how to make it look easy. New people don’t know that. They haven’t discovered the wonderful joy that comes with doing a workout you LOVE, even if it leaves you shaking and sore. So I challenge you. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Effect positive change!
And if that’s too much to remember, just think. Hey. Dude. Be nice.