Accepting the new guy... At one time or another, you too were a new guy in your gym. Think back to when you were in the gym for the first time, how did you feel? Intimidated? Nervous? Not knowing the proper form and then seeing the guy next to you lifting 4x as much as you can be pretty intimidating. If you see that someone is struggling, rather than just shaking your head at him or her and their poor form, offer them some help. They may be too afraid to ask for help and reaching out to someone new could not only prevent an injury but could also boost that person’s confidence and attitude in the gym.
Also, in terms of attitude, I hope that people realize that new members are actually beneficial to the current members. Running a gym costs money, and without the new members, gyms often aren’t able to purchase new equipment. If anything, current members should encourage and promote new members joining, not discourage them.
I have to admit that I personally dislike going to the gym the first couple weeks in January, the gym is often over capacity, the people in gym have poor form, and it’s nearly impossible to keep your recovery/lifting times on pace with people jumping on and off the machines, often not even knowing how to work them. Although I think it’s great that people are setting high goals heading into the New Year, I sometimes get frustrated with the new members and I know I’m not alone. But it’s not necessarily fair of me to get upset with the new members and I want to encourage others to try and not be so frustrated as well. All the frustration around the gym seems to create a bad stigma around being new in a gym and if anything, I think it’s important to promote the opposite. New members should feel welcome and be excited to start working towards their goals, not be afraid of irritating the current members.
If you really can’t handle the new members in the gym, just go earlier in the morning and avoid the situation all together. It’s not beneficial to anyone when the regulars complain to everyone how much they dislike the new members when in fact the new members are helping the gym. Although New Year’s resolutions are ambitious, they often aren’t ambitious enough to make it to the gym at six in the morning. So by going earlier, you can avoid them all together.
Think about how important the gym is to you, and think about how the gym has helped you. Isn’t it only fair to allow others to have the opportunity to experience that same feeling you get from going to the gym and seeing yourself improve? The gym can change people not just in terms of body composition, but also emotionally. There is an incredible amount of confidence and self-satisfaction that is gained in the gym, don’t try to ruin or take away someone’s opportunity to improve themselves.
Jack Burdick is majoring in Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota and along with his weightlifting workouts, he competes in marathons and ultra-marathons (50 mile races) and is looking to earn a Cross-Fit title or to be recognized with The World’s Fittest Man title which is reserved for an ultra endurance power athlete.