Social media is flooded with workout videos, fit influencers, and cute workout gear, which has made at least the idea of getting fit more approachable than ever. But actually stepping foot in the gym for the first time? It’s intimidating, and the attitude often shown by gym regulars — especially at the beginning of the year, when the resolution crowds are out in force — isn’t helpful. Honestly, it’s toxic.
Do you remember what it was like to be a newcomer yourself? To feel that very specific brand of optimism and anxiety you can only find at the gym?
Everyone starts somewhere, and it may only take one frustrated look or comment to derail someone’s fitness journey.
You might have spent weeks comparing gym memberships and making a plan for your first workout, and several minutes before giving yourself a pep talk in the locker room mirror. You probably looked around the room for people who seemed to know what they were doing and watched carefully as they used machines you didn’t understand. You might have even mimicked their routine, thinking if you just did what they did, you’d reach your goals, too. Undoubtedly, you took longer on pieces of equipment than you needed or used them incorrectly. And in the process, you slowed people down.
The truth is that everyone starts somewhere, and it may only take one frustrated look or comment — about how long it’s taken you to get a machine, or how annoyed you are that you couldn’t get a seat in a 7 a.m. cycling class — to derail someone’s fitness journey. So, be kind and patient, especially during the first few months of the year. Remember that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Offer some pointers instead of passing judgment. You’ll feel better about yourself when you do.
Because putting someone down when they’re trying to improve their lives reflects more on you than it does them.