First week of the year. The gym is packed with people filled with passion towards their new years resolutions. Did you know that 80% of new years resolutions are related to health? Some of the new people at the gym this week are there to lose weight, others to tone up, others to get fit, perhaps others to please someone else.
The place is packed! How does this make the “regulars” feel?
I was surprised this week at my office gym. You may know that I have the benefit of a gym right at my office. When I moved to this work location one year ago, I promised myself that I would go to the gym every day that I was at the office. I am there twice a week. And those days are very early days. I leave my house way before the crack of dawn and in fact the idea of getting showered and dressed at home and waking the boys is just not acceptable. So I roll out of bed, pack breakfasts and lunches and hit the road for work.
Once there I work out!! I almost have to since at that point I havent even showered. See my trick there.
Working out at work is a strange thing. These are the people you work with. The ones you sit across a conference room table and negotiate resources with or argue over spending. And now you are positioned two feet from them on some mechanic device sweating and maybe even crying like I do sometime at the gym. It can be a little weird. Then you shower and change next to each other in the locker room (woman only of course) and wiggle into your stocking. Again not all that comfortable.
Well, back to the behavior at the gym this week. I was there on Wednesday and Thursday. The first two days after the holiday. So these were the first days. ”The big show.”
As I hustled into the gym, you see I have a very specific routine! I’m in and I’m out. As I entered the gym I immediately felt a different energy. I was thinking that maybe there wouldn’t be any treadmills and on a Wednesday I’m all about the treadmill. I did think “oh there will be LOTS of people here today. But no, there were treadmills, at least one for me.
Typically at the gym no one really looks at each other. And I can understand that. The front desk woman always gives me a morning greeting but other than her we all avert each others eyes.
Most of the people around me were new, not regulars. I hopped on the treadmill, all business and I fired that puppy up and went at it. I felt eyes. I decided I would be welcoming and I smiled. I didn’t avert eye contact. I thought “hey these folks are trying to start a new habit. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone was welcoming?” I decided to smile at everyone. What I noticed was the new ones smiled back. The regulars continued to averted eye contact.
Then I thought WOW what a tough place to go on that first day of a new years resolution. Regaining health is a solo project BUT hey couldn’t we be friendly.
I wasn’t surprised. I had been experiencing this coldness for a year. So when I started at my gym last year I started a morning ritual. After my work out and shower and dressing, as I walked out of the locker room with my gym bag I’d say loudly to all the woman around me “Have a Great Day!”
I’d say for the first month I didn’t hear much response. I think I shocked the ladies most of the time. Why wouldn’t it be shocking to hear someone give you a positive statement when for the previous 40 minutes everyone was averting each others eye contact, FORGET even speaking to each other.
I did make a difference with my morning shout out. After about four weeks I got some murmurs. Then I noticed woman making eye contact with me during workout. And there were head nods. But my favorite contact was the shout out. I can understand the passionate focus on your workout routine. I am very focused. I have only so many minutes and I want to make it worth it.
But hey people let’s support each other.
I’m hoping my eye contact and shout out help some of the new gym friends this week. I know not all of them will be back. But perhaps my behavior made their visit a little more appealing. And that will help them come back.
How was it at your gym this week? Lots of new people? Were you friendly?
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