Ahh, January first.
It's that time of year once again where millions of humans who have decidedly committed to getting fit AF will set foot into the gym. Many for the first time.
On the surface, most of them will look just as good as the next... or just as intimidating depending on who you ask. The average person is totally put off by gym culture. Whether it's intimidation, fear of looking silly, or just a simple loathing of getting sweaty it in't the first place you'd choose to spend your free time. We get it.
Statistically, only 1 out of every 5 American's work out. And half of those are between the age of 20 and 30. We know we should go but we still don't.
The fitness industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. With so many options, combined with an abundance of confusing and conflicting information, it makes it ridiculously hard to know where to begin. Just the thought of walking into the nearest gym or fitness facility is intimidating for the majority of us.
And most people who do join? They don't end up ever using those monthly memberships. Not once. Not even for the hot tub! (Studies show 67% of people never use their gym memberships. That shit cray!)
Worse still, many of these facilities actually plan their businesses around you just giving them money and not showing up! What kind of customer service is that?
So what do we do? Where do we start?
I’m so so SO glad you asked.
First, take a step back. Breathe. This is a big investment in the most important thing you possess—your personal health and fitness. We only get one body. That being said, because of the emotion involved most of us put more time and energy into picking out a computer or a car than our own selves. So treat it like any other big purchase. Do your research. Make a list of what you want to get out of your experience.
Looking for a fun, inclusive training facility with expert coaches? Maybe we can help!
Still not sure? Here are a few tips on finding a new (or better) fitness home.
1. Community (aka Relatedness):
While most of us say we would rather hang out with our pet cat/dog/hamster/iguana/pig, the truth of the matter is that humans are social creatures. We need each other in order to succeed at life. Think back to a really awesome moment in your life. Chances are there was at least one other person who either helped you get there or with whom you celebrated.
Simply put, success feels better when it is shared. We are also more likely to reach our goals in a supportive environment that meets our basic human needs. Finding a place that fosters this and is as invested in you as you are in it should be a major requirement of your new fitness home.
- Does the entire staff know my name? (or at least acknowledge my existence?)
- Am I always being introduced to other members?
- Am I celebrated as an individual and able to be myself?
- Do I feel others are on a similar journey as myself?
- Do I feel like I belong here and am not just another $?
2. You Feel Like Your Are Getting Better at Stuff (Competence)
Jumping around and sweating your ass off is fun and all, but is that really progress? What are you actually getting better at? Does anyone want to be better at being sweaty? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
When it comes to proper strength and conditioning practices, your progress should be measureable. And your fitness home should help guide you in that direction, not just make you tired and wet. They should help you along your journey, providing instruction and giving you more challenge when you need it and less when you don’t.
- Is where I am at actively helping me get better?
- Do I feel like I am getting stronger?
- Does my body move better?
- Can I do things now that I couldn’t a few weeks or months ago?
- Do I leave my workouts feeling better or just exhausted (and, yeah actually now that you mention it my lower back kind of hurts too)?
- Am I learning?
- And most importantly: Do I feel like the best version of myself here?
3. You Feel a Sense of Purpose (Autonomy)
As humans we like to have a sense of purpose. Although we all fantasize about laying on a beach somewhere not having a care in the world, we actually get tired of that pretty quickly. We value having something to work for and it makes us better people to be around.
With that in mind, your fitness home should also come with guidance; a pathway for you to be able to see where you are headed. Let’s take a second to define guidance here. I’m not talking about someone shouting at you to make you do stuff. A true guide is someone who helps direct and support you along that path, but also provides you with the tools to your own success.
We don’t like being bossed around and told what to do, but having a sense of purpose and direction…well that makes us all feel better. Think about using your GPS. Some of us have blindly followed it into lakes, dirt roads, or the wrong way down one-way streets. We listen to it blindly, but do we actually know how to get anywhere anymore? How much better does it feel when you know where you are headed?
- Am I being empowered to make my own decisions?
- Am I being provided with the tools for my OWN success?
- Do I get to decide who I want to be rather than be told who I 'should' be?
- Am I asked questions and allowed to choose rather than told what to do?
- Are the options provided to me, well, optional? (the answer should always be YES)
After years of experience, these are the things we've found to help with motivation, happiness and getting the BEST possible results on your fitness journey. They're not just the things you should expect when paying for a fitness facility, they're what you deserve!
So if you are terrified of going into a gym or are at a place where a sense of community, noticeable progress, and a sense of purpose are absent ask yourself if that’s really where you want to be. Then find a BETTER fitness home.
Remember: everything is optional!