This time of year brings a flurry of activity to the gym. In the middle of that flurry are the newbies, the returning and the steadfast constants.
January brings a natural surge of motivation to feel good, look good and get back into healthy habits. Naturally, many turn to the gym. And many of those folks are either brand new to the scene, or returning after a long hiatus.
For the population of folks who fall into the “steadfast constant” category, be mindful of those around you. Be welcoming, offer assistance, acknowledge with a smile or a nod when you make that dreadful eye contact during a rep. Because, while we may find the gym to be a comfortable environment, there may be some folks who are terrified, feel out of place, but desperately want and need the endorphins and camaraderie the gym can provide.
If you belong to a group exercise class or strength and conditioning gym that provides classes in cohorts, welcome them into your circle. Offer to partner. Provide them a tip on what equipment to pick and suggested weight range.
If you see someone with a perplexed look while standing next at a piece of equipment, stop and say “That machine can be tricky… it helps me if I do (insert XYZ)”. Even though the equipment may be second nature to you, offering up your expertise by buffering it with a comment that brings all parties to equal ground could be the one comment that releases the nervous tension and keeps that new member from throwing in the towel. Getting to the gym could have been their biggest win of their day. Help make them feel comfortable enough to return.
It’s been two years since I offered a steady schedule of multiple group exercise classes. Two years and I still talk to the majority of those individuals. I miss them terribly and often miss the hustle and bustle of teaching a full load of classes, but those memories I cherish and will keep with me forever.
When thinking about your gym and the community within you will also most likely see a family. Open your arms to the new guys.
Be that person that keeps them coming.