Let's just be honest - joining a new gym (or any gym) can be daunting. Even if you are someone who plans on becoming that "get in, workout, get out" person who dashes through the gym each day, you still want to get to know a bit about your new gym community. The challenge can be just how to do it easily and confidently.
Why? Intimidation, feeling out of place, nervousness or simple shyness can all get in the way of our sense of belonging. This is more than just uncomfortable, though, because it can also interfere with our workout regimen. Consider that many fitness experts highly recommend you buy at least one or two workout outfits that make you feel good and which support your performance. Why? Because if you are confident in what you are wearing and how you feel, you are more likely to go to the gym.
Now, consider what feeling out of place at a new gym might do…yes, it may keep you from going as often as you should or wish to go. As one professional wrote: "Feeling a sense of belonging is the most important piece for making each trip to the gym a satisfying one. Once you feel like you belong, the better your work ethic will be and the faster you will see results."
So, how do you integrate confidently? You actually have to begin even before you join. Here are four tips for fitting in at your new gym:
- Visit multiple gyms before choosing one to join. You will be able to tell immediately if the atmosphere is one you like, and which will encourage you to show up regularly for workouts. Many have day passes or trial memberships, and you would be wise to use them. Get a tour if possible, and definitely take a class if you are going to use them after joining.
- Once you pick, make friends with the front desk staff. There is nothing more encouraging than being greeted by someone who knows your name and who greets you with familiarity each time you arrive - even if that is every day. Remember too that they might also be trainers or instructors, and they can introduce you to others in the gym.
- Take at least one group course or training session. This is a great way to meet the staff, share your goals and then meet a lot of other gym members - many who are going to share the same goals or who may become great workout buddies.
- Go online. This may seem counterintuitive but almost all modern gyms have social media sites and websites. Join them, follow them and look at them regularly to see what sort of events are occurring, who are the most active staff and to discover as much as you can about the community.
It goes without saying that asking for help from gym staff if you are unsure of how to use machines is a great way to start meeting others, and be the person who nods first and says hello to those you recognize from daily visits. Everyone is "the new person" at some point, and you will find these tips help you stop being that new one quite quickly.