Posts Tagged ‘gym etiquette’

While this is a pretty broad topic, I feel it’s safe to say….many people do not know their limits or boundaries when it comes to others.

Take, for example, when someone at the gym is lifting free weights and a fellow patron goes up to them to offer them their opinion about how and what they are doing correct/incorrect, etc.  There are a few issues with this situation:

1.  The person lifting didn’t ask for your opinion – although I am sure the person offering their opinion is an expert in the way of said exercise (please tell me you’re reading in to my sarcasm).

2. Unless you are a certified personal trainer….keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself…..and even if they are a personal trainer….that doesn’t always mean a whole lot.

As a fitness instructor and a coach, I am aware that my advice to people isn’t always what will work best for people.  I am aware, also, that not everyone wants my advice or opinion.  I often seen people at the gym doing the wrong exercises or wrong technique and some times cringe at their bad form.  BUT – it’s not my problem.

So now you’re saying..”but that’s not helpful…be a source of the solution and don’t be so passive to allow the problem continue”.  To that I would say….”you’re absolutely correct.  I am more than happy to help those that WANT the help…but if someone is carrying on and just doing their thing…who am I to tell them that they are wrong?”

More often than not, people feel as though they are being 1. helpful, 2. proactive, 3. caring, and 4. kind.

While I would say that these are all genuine feelings behind trying to offer advice….understand that if people want it…they will ask for it…..and if they don’t ask for it…..that is something they have to face on their own.

Many of the habits I learned in the gym and during sports or activities came from watching others.  I’ll admit though, I am incredibly proactive about improving and doing my best – it’s just in my nature.   In the case that people ARE looking for advice on exercise and/or advice with those you see doing the wrong thing at the gym….I have a few things that might help:

To the observer:

1.  Be patient.  If they want the help, they’ll ask for it.

2.  RE #1 – unless they are hurting themselves with the way they are lifting something or maneuvering equipment….let them watch someone else to figure out what they are doing wrong.

3.  RE #2 – if you are a fitness instructor with the proper technique and/or certification(s) – ASK THEM if they want some advice/help.  For example:  When I see someone on a bike before a class and it looks like their seat is too low or their straps are not tight enough on their bike…I say, “Would you like some help with that?” or “Does that bother your knees at all?” – in a NICE and non-condecending manner.  I also throw in, “If you try it this way, it might make a difference.”  People are much nicer to you when you don’t say, “Your form is all wrong…this is wrong…this is wrong…etc., etc”.

4.  When and IF they do ask for help…..be sure to tell them that your advice is merely based on your learnings/experience and that it works differently for everyone.  Remind them that they need to do what works best for them – not what works best for you.  As a fitness instructor and coach, I always tell my students and swimmers of the things I’ve done in the past, what’s worked for me, and what hasn’t worked for me.  With that, I also tell them that they should make sure whatever they do – it has to WORK FOR THEM.

 

To the person that is afraid to ask:

1.  DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP IF YOU AREN’T SURE.  I can not tell you how  many times I’ve had people say to me in a spin class, “I never knew how to adjust my seat”….or “I never knew that I would get a better workout this way”…or “if I had only known to buy new sneakers that it would’ve helped my joints”…etc.  I start every spin class (usually) with, “Do I have any new riders?”…especially if I have never seen them in my class before.  This usually helps alleviate some of the anxiety that people build up in their minds about “not knowing” what to do and “being afraid of looking like the newbie”.  EVERYONE HAS TO START FROM SOMEWHERE….You’re obviously interested in bettering your well-being….don’t be afraid to ask! 🙂

2.  Once you’ve asked for help…remember that you have to do what works for you.  IF a trainer or instructor tells you there is ONLY ONE WAY TO DO SOMETHING…more than likely they are incorrect.  THERE IS MORE THAN ONE WAY TO DO EVERYTHING (even in Math).

3. If you STILL can’t bring yourself to ask for help…..do your homework.  Observe others, read about fitness, read about healthy living, read about eating right.  Your health is on you.  OWN UP TO IT.

 

My questions for you are:

1.  Have you ever been approached by someone at the gym for advice?

2.  Have you ever given advice without it being warranted?

3.  What have you done in these situations?