2 Ways to Break Into the Gym Environment
25, Mentors: Wayne Dyer, “Mike”, Adam
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” — Wayne Dyer
Do people watch you in the gym?
Yes, you will be noticed. Gym patrons look at others to see where they are at, where they’ve been and where they want to be. Sometimes they forget where they started and get caught up in themselves and do make make fun of newcomers.
Adam lives for the gym. He is quite a specimen of fitness and always posts on social media about his progress and the amazing healthy meals he prepares. He is definitely noticed and inspires others to higher goals. Recently he posted this admission:
“I’m kind of guilty of making fun of stupid people at the gym… Mostly “Bros”… But I actually really like this kid. He’s a scrawny nerdy kid that can’t lift a lot… But I see him here almost every single day putting out. Sometimes he has a friend with him, who isn’t so dedicated… But this dude is here working hard. Whatever his motivation is… Good for him. I hope he reaches his goals. I appreciate good honest effort done in silence.”
I never stepped into a weight room until my mid-thirties. I grew up in an atmosphere where the weight room had some kind of a stigma, which was really an excuse to stay away. I couldn’t see myself fitting in. I started hearing about benefits of resistance weight training, such as increased metabolism, alertness, and a stronger heart and cardiovascular system. I warmed up to the concept, but didn’t break the barrier. They had built a new gym at work. Out of mild curiosity, a couple of times I stepped inside, but that was it.
Then my friend Tracy gave me with the ticket I needed and invited me to the weight room. I respected him as a trusted friend and an outstanding fellow worker. I took the step and snapped up his invitation. As my coach he guided me through the intimidation fear. He taught me the basics and about the culture of this new environment. Tracy’s invitation opened up a new world to me.
Method 1 — Ask a friend or accept a friend’s invitation.
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That scrawny kid
During a workout I heard a faint and weak voice behind me, “help, help”. I turned around a saw a small and thin young man on a bench with a weight bar at an angle across his chest. He said, “I know it’s not much weight, but I can’t get it off of me.” As I freed him from that immediate burden he told me that it was his first visit to the gym. He saw himself as “that scrawny kid.” I realized that this was a critical moment for him, a tipping point. At this point he could embrace the discomfort of a new environment or quietly shirk away. I don’t remember his name, so I’ll call him “Mike”, for me a stereotypically strong name for the gym.
Mike pointed at a very muscular individual broad shoulders and a large frame. He dropped his head in dejection and said, “I’ll never look like that.” He was actually right; Mike had a different build, a much smaller frame. I scanned around the room and pointed out someone with the same build as himself, but with fully developed and well defined muscles. I asked if he’d like to look like that. He wiped his lips with his tongue to keep from drooling onto the floor. “Yes! I want that!”
The common goal should be to optimize the body we are blessed with. It is a journey of discovery. There is a place for everyone.
Mike took the courage to start, to break through the barriers. His goal wasn’t clear at first, but he knew he wanted to improve. Even if someone were to make a wisecrack or laugh at his poor technique, in his mind it was a minor issue and a small price to pay.
Armed with this point of view he consistently showed up. He soon discovered that he could accomplish more than he could previously imagine. He tapped into this new world. He boldly asked for advice. He was careful to observe and read the regulars at the gym so he would know who would be likely to help him. He received continual praise and feedback for his consistent and effective efforts. He was soon surrounded by mentors who also became his friends.
Mike’s entire life transformed and improved in all areas. He crushed the intimidation factor when stepped into a foreign environment. With just a little encouragement on the first day, he put his remaining fears aside. I don’t know what preparation he had made to get into the gym in the first place. But from that point, by the eight month mark he looked like the original role model that I had pointed out. His health and energy levels surged. His entire countenance had changed along with his body.
Method 2 — Blast through the fear
Crossing the sales barrier
In some cases a challenging part of starting the gym experience is working through the sales process… Do a bit of research by talking to friends to know what to look for and what questions to ask. Often you can get a trial pass for one or several days. Even though the sales process may seem confusing and intimidating, the sales reps are basically humans just like you. They may be under pressure to sell, sell, sell, but in the end they do want to help you.