I posted a question to my friends on Facebook, those that follow my Exercise2u Facebook page, and my colleagues on LinkedIn. “What are your top 5 complaints, comments and fears of joining a gym?” Admittedly, the engagement I was expecting didn’t turn out very high. However, the few that did respond had some common comments.
The number one fear, comment, complaint was by far “Being Judged.”
Which in itself is a judgment on the respondent’s part. What the respondent is saying is “All these current gym goers with their “After” bodies are immediately judging my body, my gym clothes, my shoes, my headphones, the amount of weight I lift, how fast/slow I run, etc.”
More often than not however, this is rarely the case. More often than not, current gym goers are more concerned with getting their workout in, without interruption, and getting out of the gym. Their frustration with new gym goers is not in how they look, or what brand of gym clothes they are or are not wearing, but if they are going to be using a piece of equipment that they plan on using and generally if they are going to be in the way.
Now I’m not saying there aren’t times when current gym goers give the occasional shade to new gym goers. Nor am I saying that there aren’t judgmental people at the gym. But I think to assume that each glance that comes your way as a new gym goer from a current gym goer is a hurtful, spiteful, or negative judgmental gaze is self defeating and shows a lack of self confidence. The truth is we are all at the gym on a single common mission: Self Improvement. We are all brothers and sisters who are forging ahead in the mission to make more muscle, lose more fat, increase our cardiovascular endurance, or regain our health.
Everyone has to start somewhere. Those “After” bodies you see today, they didn’t always look like that. They didn’t always have so much confidence. They didn’t always know how much weight to use on an exercise. They too thought people were staring at them when they first started, when they struggled to learn a new weight training movement, or perhaps were too aggressive in choosing a heavier weight for an exercise that compromised their form.
The difference is, those “After” bodies, they stuck with it. They lasted longer than most “New Years Resolutioners”. They found their groove, experimented with new things, challenged their bodies week in and week out. They got over the fear of “Being Judged” and focused inward on their own goals and why they were at the gym in the first place.
So my challenge to all “New Gym Goers”, “New Years Resolutioners”, or “Before Bodies” is this:
1) Focus on yourself and your goals. Don’t worry so much about perceived judgments.
2) Have a plan to reach those goals. Don’t just “Wing It” and for god sakes don’t just “Do Cardio.” There are hundreds of FREE resources on the internet to find a routine that is perfect for you. Or you can hire me as your distance coach and I can make a specific routine for you. (More on this in my next post! Stay Tuned!)
3) Prove the “After” bodies wrong and become a regular at your gym way past the New Year Resolutioner’s predictable expiration date of February 14th.
And my challenge to all “Current Gym Goers”, “New Year Resolutioner Haters”, or “After Bodies” is this:
1) Practice kindness. Remember how you felt the very first time you walked into the gym.
2) Be helpful. Show someone the proper way to adjust a machine or perform a movement.
3) Share. The “New Gym Goers” pay the same price each month for access to the gym that you pay, probably even more if you’ve been a member at the same gym for quite some time. None of the equipment has your name on it or is specifically reserved FOR YOU. If you’re going to be “Resting” more than 60 seconds, allow another person to work in.
Next I will discuss what you can do in a crowded gym instead of waiting for specific pieces of equipment…