I talked in the last post about becoming a more complete person - becoming someone others will want to get to know at the gym. My recommendations were focused on learning more about specific aspects of working out. This information can then form the basis of your developing friendships at the gym. Otherwise a gym can be a pretty lonely place.
In addition to developing know how in specific areas so the gym is less intimidating there are a number of things you can do to make the gym more pleasant for those around you – and, by doing so, nicer for yourself. I have put together a series of “Rules” - things I think are important to become someone who stands out in a very positive way.
Rule 1 - Make it a goal, each day, to give one stranger a compliment. Today, an older gent was struggling with chin-ups, but he was getting them. I called out to him at one point that he was doing great with the chin-ups. Initially he clearly didn’t dream I was talking to him. Then he turned, I nodded, gave him a thumbs up, and he realized someone noticed.
Next time he sees me we will nod to each other, and he will know that someone noticed he was there. Which will make it a little nicer for him, and for me, every succeeding day.
2. Apply rule 1 to the folk who are clearly not all that excited about being there - the old guys and gals who are doing their best, but perhaps a little lost in the black-spandex world populated with fit young folk. Make sure they know someone notices their effort and achievements.
3. Make note of people’s progress - and let them know you noticed.
4. Make very sure you do not ever try to get someone to do something just because you can do it. Never taunt someone - “If I can do it - surely you can”. Fastest way I know to get someone to hurt themselves. In fact, I find anymore that the most important thing is to help people understand the risks of new exercises – to keep them from hurting themselves.
5. Don’t let anyone else in your group taunt others. Safety - often protecting others from themselves - is really the most important aspect to working out with others.
6. Don’t brag on your own accomplishments - if you are doing well, folk will notice, and comment.
7. Focus your routine on balance and core, body-weight exercises, and functional strength. It is soooo important as we age that we maintain our ability to live our lives. Bench pressing 325 pounds has nothing to do with functional strength - it has instead something to do with torn rotator cuffs.
A word on functional strength. This is a term that is used to describe the strength to do things we do every day. Walking up stairs, lifting groceries, bending over. As I think about it I realize there are a couple of other functionals – functional joints – being able to walk up stairs without knee and hip pain, and functional balance – being able to recover from a trip rather than going down. Hmmm, will have to develop these ideas in future posts.
More ways to enjoy the gym tomorrow!