As we approach a new year and a new decade, more and more people will begin their fitness journey. This means that gyms will be full of new people looking to improve their physical health. As a fitness trainer, I have seen people start as “New Year’s Resolutioners” and instantly become regulars, but I have also seen many leave nearly as soon as they started for a variety of reasons. In an effort to help people stick to their fitness goals I wanted to provide a little advice for everyone in the fitness world to help make 2020 the best year for fitness yet.
Do: Ask questions. The gym may be an entirely new atmosphere for you. And that is okay! Most people are happy to offer a spot to you if you ask and will show you how to use a machine.
Do Not: Try an exercise or machine you are unfamiliar with. That is a guaranteed way to increase your risk of injury in the gym. It is always better to get a demonstration before you attempt anything yourself. Also, make sure you nail your form before you add any significant weight.
Do: Explore different areas of fitness. As much as fitness is about health, you should also enjoy what you are doing. Perhaps you will be into CrossFit. Maybe you’ll be more interested in Olympic lifting. Or you may want to look at something else altogether. Find what you like and keep your options open.
Don’t: Ignore your base. Especially if you are an OCR athlete or want to become one. You improve your cardio by doing low heart rate running and you improve your strength by incrementally increasing the amount of weight and reps you lift and giving your muscles an opportunity to recover. Contrary to what you may think, you need to run slow in order to run faster and longer. I would highly encourage you to research Long Slow Distance running and the benefits of it.
Do: Slowly immerse yourself into fitness. As tempting as it may be to try and work out every day, your body needs rest and time to adapt to a new lifestyle. Small increases in training days and time at the gym will give you a better chance at long term success. Make sure you consult with your doctor before you start any fitness program.
Do not: Do too much too fast. Not only are you increasing your risk of injury, but you are also more likely to burn out and lose the motivation to train that you started out with. Ease into fitness and give yourself time to adapt.
Do: Offer to help someone who may be struggling rather than stare or make fun of them from a distance. It can be very intimidating entering a gym for the first time, especially when you aren’t sure of what you are doing. Make sure you ask permission before you help.
Do Not: Try to be a trainer. While you may have good intentions trying to help someone with a new exercise, do not try to coach someone in an area you aren’t familiar with. Most gyms should have trainers and coaches available for technical questions. Leave the form and programming questions to the professionals.
Do: Be welcoming in your gym. People new to fitness can be easily intimidated by an unfamiliar atmosphere and may not want to return if they don’t feel like they fit in. Something as simple as saying hi or congratulating them on a good workout goes a long way in helping them on their fitness journey.
Do Not: Make people feel terrible for not knowing something you think is relatively beginner. There are some people who legitimately do not know what a push up is. That is okay. Give people permission to learn. It is better to encourage and educate than to “weed out the Resolutioners”. Remember, if your gym doesn’t have people coming in the doors, it may not be able to stay open which means you will need to find somewhere new to train. Not fun for anyone involved.
Do: Be patient. You are likely quite used to having regulars in your class, or at least clients who are experienced in fitness even if it isn’t with you. Try to give more of your attention to those who are newer to fitness and be the resource they need.
Do Not: Try to rush your new clients. It can be tempting to try and get them to the level of your regulars, but that is not a realistic expectation. As difficult as it may be, try to remember how long it took you to get to where you are on your fitness journey.
Do: Take time to invest in the person, not just the client. Having the influx of new clients is exciting for a trainer for many reasons. Building the right culture with your clients goes a long way to not only improve client retention but to create mutual trust between client and coach.
Do Not: Ignore your current base of clients. We rightly give a little more attention to new clients to make sure they are safe in the gym, but we still need to give support to our long-term members to ensure they have the tools they need to reach their goals.
Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and official policies of Mud Run Guide LLC, or their staff. The comments posted on this Website are solely the opinions of the posters.