As we all know, January tends to be a month that brings lots of new faces to the gym- maybe they’re New Years Resolution goers or maybe they’re semi-regular gym goers who have been on a holiday hiatus. Whoever they are, for us avid, consistent gym goers it can bring a certain level of, shall I say… frustration. I mean that in the nicest way possible, too! It’s not that we don’t want you there, because we do! Everyone who loves the gym and working out and working towards being healthy and fit wants others to share in those feelings. But, when our spots are taken, our machines in use and the gym has an overall crowded feel, it can frustrate us.
“Ugh. I hate the gym in January. It’s so crowded with people who won’t be here in another month.”
“That girl is totally in my spot… who does she think she is?!”
“I swear, if a January resolution goer takes my spot in spin…”
… the list goes on, right? Last year, I shared some tips for surviving the January Rush, but this year, I’ve got a different thought going into the January rush. That thought is to be kind to the new goers. To help them in the class with the weights and other equipment. To introduce yourself. To make them feel included and better yet, to not make them feel like they are unwanted.
For these “new” gym goers, the first few experiences could make or break their thoughts on the gym and could send them home even faster than the end of January. If they feel unwelcomed, they’re going to have a negative experience which may just justify why they don’t “belong” at the gym. But guess what- they DO belong at the gym! Everyone does. Whether you’re old, young, fit, need to get fit, have injuries and limitations, etc., we ALL have the right to go to the gym and get healthy and fit.
So, I challenge you this month- and for the next few months- to smile. Say hello. Offer assistance. Learn their story about what brought them to the gym and share your story. Because you know what? Maybe it’s not the actual act of working out that stops people from enjoying the gym experience. Maybe it’s the fact that they feel lonely and not welcomed. Ever thought of that? Personally, as an instructor, my biggest goal is for new members to feel welcomed and included in my classes- to feel like they have the right to be there and that I want them there.
I’m excited to see lots of new faces at the various gyms I teach at this month! I hope that we can all give the new people a positive welcome and encourage them to make fitness a lifelong journey… a 12 month journey, year after year. And lastly… remember that we were all new to the gym at one point, too, so give these people a chance!
Questions for you: What’s your approach to the January rush at the gym? Do you welcome people or do you get frustrated? What’s something you can do this year to make people feel welcomed?