Pay It Forward: Navigating the New Year’s Resolution Crowd

Every year gyms are flooded with people who have made New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight, be healthy, gain muscle, work out regularly, and they all vow to stick to it.  We know that this is not true for everyone.  Despite some people’s best intentions, they are unable to maintain their program, enthusiasm, and will slowly start to miss gym sessions until they no longer go at all.  There are many reasons for this and there is no judgement needed as to why some succeed and others will fail.

As seasoned fitness enthusiasts and gym goers we have made health and fitness not just something to do but rather a lifestyle that is as much part of our life as showering and brushing teeth.  We have a responsibility to this group of fitness newbies.  I have seen two different approaches towards these people and one is somewhat alarming.  I for one, love an empty gym and predictable routine.  Unfortunately every year the gym fills up with people taking up space as they start their own fitness journey.  I have seen some people take offense to the fact that these people are in “their” gym and quite honestly are downright rude to them.  THey take it as their sole charge to run these people out of the gym by making them feel  like they don’t belong and are out-of-place.  In reality, all that does is make the rest of us look bad and perpetuate false stereotypes – much like the “I lift things up. I put them down.” stereotype recently seen on a commercial.

Quick tips to handle the new years resolution crowd:          

  1.  You are the veteran.  Take the responsibility to teach and lead how things work in your gym.  In every gym or fitness center there is a way and a routine to how things run on the gym floor.  If yelling is not encouraged, kindly point it out to a newbie who is screaming his or her head off on every rep.  If carrying your coat/gym bag/clothes etc is not acceptable in a gym where the expectation is personal belongings  are kept in the locker room, let new people know that. 
  2. When it comes to equipment, no one likes to wait for equipment when the person on the equipment is using it as a seat or texting/phone conversation area.   Most of us have a set routine in the gym and don’t like to wait and be taken out of our groove.  This is a great time to ask or show the person how you work in on equipment so you are not waiting for them to finish. 
  3. If you see a person using equipment wrong, take the moment to show them proper form.  It will benefit you in that they will be more efficient in using the equipment and hopefully get on and off quicker.  
  4. You do not need to take on the role of fitness instructor but when needed it only takes a minute to show someone correct form or point out proper etiquette and expectations in the gym.

We all started our fitness journey at some point.  At one time, regardless of how involved we have become now in fitness, we were once newbies.  We had to try things for the first time.  We had no groove on any exercise and workout was a new adventure.  Over time we saw results and were motivated to keep going.  We learned, we made progress and we were driven to continue on our journey.  That is the point where all of these new people are starting from.  Some are in the gym for the first time ever, some are returning after various layoffs.  We must be patient.  Over time, it is a fact that some people will stop coming and the crowds will die down.  But some people will remain.  They will be driven like ourselves to keep going, to learn, to get better and keep making progress.  I challenge us not only be patient, but to get involved.  If you see someone who may need help figuring out a machine or the form on an exercise, take the 30-60 seconds and show them the right way to do it.  Somewhere along the way, someone did it for us, let’s pay it forward and welcome more people who will embrace the fitness lifestyle.

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