It’s that time of year again, everyone is making a new resolution to workout more and eat healthier. That means the gym is getting busier and maybe now it is hard to get your workout in because of the larger crowd. It may be inconvenient to not be able to use the machine you want or maybe your group exercise class doesn’t have any open spots, making it easier to start feeling resentful towards the newcomers. Try to remember to have patience and empathy towards those that are trying to improve themselves and their health! Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t judge the new gym goers this new year:
They might just be getting started
Something everyone can agree on is that one of the hardest parts of any goal is getting started. For any person you encounter at the gym, it could be day one for them as they start their health journey. It is important for them that they are getting started, as that is what helps keep them going! Think back to a time when you first started working on a goal, such as starting an exercise routine or a weight loss program. If you knew someone was judging you, you may want to quit at the beginning. Whether you say something to them or keep it to yourself, it is best to pass along the motivation and encouragement to someone rather than frustration or rude comments. Let their inspiration for their new health routine spark some motivation for yourself!
The gym can be intimidating to people
The person who is trying out the gym for the first time might be nervous, scared, or self-conscious about being there. If you are rude or mean or judgemental towards them, that might be the one experience that causes them to stop going to the gym altogether! You never know what someone is going through or the kind of day they are having, so don’t be the one who gets in the way of another person’s health goal.
They are prioritizing their health
Many first time gym goers are people who are looking to lose weight and we all should be supportive of anyone who is trying to focus on ways to improve their health! Just imagine how a small gesture like a smile, or letting them use the machine before you, can make the gym seem like a welcoming place to that person rather than an intimidating one. The more they view the gym as a place to work on their goals and less as a place to be afraid of, the more they will be able to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
What can you do instead?
Switch up your routine for the day
Yes, with all these newcomers you might not be able to get the treadmill that you usually run on or your favorite squat rack might be occupied, but it’s very easy to change up your routine for that day. Studies show that besides compound movements, it doesn’t matter what order you do strength exercises in as far as muscle gain goes. So if it is leg day and the hamstring curl machine is taken, head towards the quad extension first and then work on your hamstrings! This will avoid a confrontation with a potential gym newbie and still will allow you to get your workout in without sacrificing your progress.
Focus on your own goals
Rather than focusing on the negative aspects of more people in your gym, focus on your own goals. Adapting your routine to the new obstacle of sharing gym space will help you develop the skill of getting the workout done no matter what stands in your way. Focus on the positive benefits you’re experiencing from your own gym routine rather than complaining about and focusing negatively on others. The more you stay in your own lane and focus on yourself, the more you will see progress with your own workout goals!
Tell them good job
If you notice someone is struggling with a weight and they look defeated, give them some encouragement and tell them good job! If you’re waiting for someone to get off a machine, give them a high five when they’re done. You never know how much of an impact a kind action can have! If someone asks you a question about where something is in the gym or how to sign up for a class, take the time out of your day to help them and answer their questions. They might even ask you for a helpful tip, make sure to help them navigate this new part of their life!
Make a new friend
Rather than looking at every newbie as someone who is annoying and is getting in your way, look at them as a potential friend. The more you’re open to interacting with them, the greater the chance is that you make a new friend. You could even end up with a new gym partner! Making friends that go to your gym will help keep you accountable with your own health goals. So your openness to making friends could result in having someone that will push you to show up to class or will provide you motivation to do a workout when you wouldn’t have been motivated to do it on your own. Being kind to others can end up benefiting yourself!
As you move into the New Year and get back into the gym, keep these things in mind. Someone may view the gym as intimidating, they may be working out for the first time, and working on their health is always something you should celebrate. Try to focus on switching up your routine to accommodate new people, tell a newbie that they’re doing a good job, and be open to making a new friend!