I’ve been going to the gym for years now. And for us, regulars, the first few months of the year are rough. This is the time of the year when New Year’s resolutioners show up at the gym in a bid to improve their health or fitness. Every single year, I hear so many regulars complain how the “newbies” are just taking up space and, “Why are they even here if they will eventually stop going?”. Yes, it’s true that some resolutioners only stick with such a change for a few weeks or even a few months. But during those weeks, their mere presence rankles the regulars.
But why hate or be mean to those people? Weren’t we all once a newbie at the gym?
Yes, I know, it freaking sucks – the gym is crowded with a bunch of new people and you’re trying to do your routine. However, it’s important to remember that all these newbies are on the way. You have to wait to use machines, squat racks, dumbbells and everything else. Yes, I hate it, too.
But, please be nice to all the new people. Don’t be that asshole who makes fun of new gym-goers.
Those people are at the gym because they made a decision to become a healthier version of themselves — and that is something to be proud of. Sometimes these people have eating disorders and complicated relationships with food. Some of these people may be over or underweight, and they just want to look and feel better. Sometimes these people have low self-esteem and low confidence. So mentally, the gym can be an intimidating place. And for them to walk in there and have regulars be mean to them can make their quest for self-betterment feel even more discouraging, if not outright impossible.
So, instead of being rude to them, please be nice and helpful.
The thing is, those new people are there for the same reasons that we go — for fitness, for health, for a better body and newly-discovered self-confidence.
If you’re a regular and someone new is using a machine you normally use, don’t stand there waiting for them to be done. Instead, skip to the next part of your routine and come back later rather than make them uncomfortable. Or you can always modify your routine, use other machines or free weights for some exercises.
If you see someone that is not performing an exercise correctly, kindly show them the proper form. If you see someone struggling with some weight, ask them if they need a spot.
Help the new members who don’t yet know how to navigate the space or where some of the equipment is located.
And if it really bothers you so much that the gym is that packed, try going at a different time so you can avoid the crowd.
You don’t have to be outwardly nice to everyone. But you also don’t need to be an asshole and wish that the newbies were gone just so you no longer have to share oxygen with them at the gym.
Be a decent person — it costs nothing to be kind to new people at your gym.