Respect in the Gym

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Believe it or not, we all have different reasons for utilizing a fitness facility. Some have transitory goals are to look our best for an upcoming vacation or wedding. Others are more long-term serious physical accomplishments like training for a competition or show. Some people use the gym as a break from their everyday lives, a time to focus on themselves and nothing else. Whether you are using weights, cardio equipment, or taking classes, the gym can be a place of peaceful solitude to relieve stress. Some gym-goers have dreams of running in a marathon, while others may be using the treadmill on doctor’s orders. In the end, it simply does not matter what the goal is, the reality is that the individual has taken time out of their day to better themselves.
Too often, I have seen people intimidated to join a gym simply out of fear of what others will think. I have seen people teased or pushed around because they didn’t look like they belong. Not understanding a piece of equipment, or wandering around aimlessly can put someone in the position of being bullied or teased. This type of behavior leads people to avoid a gym setting, putting their own goals on the back burner out of fear. It’s important to remember that every successful person started their journey as a beginner. You are not born with the knowledge of to excel in a field. It is taught to you, learned, practiced, and then mastered. Dedication to this educational paradigm is what leads to success. Every single person standing in the gym had to start somewhere. Sadly, many have lost touch with that part of themselves, placing their energy in the wrong direction.
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The easiest solution to a hostile environment would be easy to give advice to those who are fearful of joining a gym. Many of us in the training field place our focus on helping people move past this fear, so that a person can realize it simply does not matter what others think. I myself believe this to be true. However, being the advocate for victims and helping them become stronger is not always the best approach to see a real change in society. We should all stop placing the focus on those who are afraid, and instead try to influence those who are the center of the issue itself. Changing the mind-set of all gym-goers who do anything to add to a less-welcoming environment can yield far more expansive results. The self-proclaimed gym-rats who dominate the gym floor with their presence should be the first ones to accept gym newbies. If only one person took the time to help another struggling individual out, or just be welcoming and friendly, we would likely begin to see a trend unfold. Imagine a gym setting of people helping others achieve their fitness goals by a mix of words and deeds! What a wonderful vision.
You can read more of this article in the May issue of ModelsMania