by Cade Thomas
To bodybuilders and serious physique enthusiasts, there is one day on the calendar that looms overhead like a cloud which rains not water, but misery and frustration…
This is the day that our precious safe house of all things muscle is invaded by an army of house wives, out of shape husbands and elderly people summoned there by their Doctor. I know, I know. These people should be encouraged as they are taking their health into their own hands and at least their heart is in the right place…but let’s just be honest, we all know 90% of them won’t last and all they really do is clog up weight room.
Besides being a membership salesmans wet dream, these people serve as an interesting study for human behaviour. The thing that becomes very obvious to me during New Years resolution time is that when people need an outside excuse to do something, they are much more likely to fail as opposed to their self motivated counterparts. How many body transformation success stories start with “I joined the gym on January 1st…”? I can’t remember hearing any, to be honest. Rather, most of the time the beginning of a success story starts with someone either hitting rock bottom or snapping into reality and seeing how far they have let themselves go. There is no magic date or square on your kitchen calendar that can truly spark the will to change, it has to come from within.
While it’s easy to be harsh on these new people, they are the unfortunate target of other frustrations. It isn’t annoying that these people are trying to get in shape, it’s annoying that the place you have frequented for years is now over populated and you can’t function as you normally would. This might not be the right attitude, but I can see how someone would get aggravated by not being able to park anywhere near their gym due to the parking lot being filled up by people who half heartedly wished up a resolution to lose their beer belly. You’ve been dedicated all year, why should you be punished?!
One particularly obnoxious stereotypical offender of the New Years crowd is the “Debbie’s getting her groove back” middle aged woman who has turned this into an emotional event of taking their life back. Usually this involves using way too much gym space and resting all sorts of shit across benches, or telling you that they are “using that machine” while simultaneously using that other machine…and letting their dumbbells sit on that bench, and that mat laid out in the middle of coveted weight room territory. I get it; They are finally taking control after putting themselves on the back burner possibly mothering a whack of kids or being involved in a failed marriage, so to them this is their triumphant return with a J-Lo performed theme song soundtrack and some hollywood pretty boy waiting at the end of the movie for a big kiss when the credits roll. They dreamt about getting back in shape for so many years that the fact they are finally doing it is a “you go girl” moment and they expect everyone to make way for them because we should just be so proud! Well good for you girlfriend, but the rest of us pay the same damn fees and should have equal access to the equipment, so perhaps avoiding turning the gym floor into the fitness equivalent of your terrifying bathroom counter (men, you know what I am talking about…) would help aid in a more seamless integration.
Now that I have that out of the way – Be kind to these people. If they ask for help (few do) show them ways they can get the most benefit out of their efforts so possibly they can melt into the pot and become a more community minded gym member. The reason most people quite after the first month or so is because they don’t have the guidance to really get the results they expected. Well, that and the fact it requires a lot more effort than the NOT going to the gym thing they had been doing so successfully for so long.
While it might not be the most inspired excuse to get off your ass, joining a gym is intimidating for the average person and it offers us bodybuilders a chance to disprove some of the negative stereotypes that exist about us and try to be a team player, even if it’s short lived. Give it a shot, you might feel good about it….and worst case scenario your gym will be back to how you remembered by mid February and maybe you helped one person start on a path that involves them falling in love with the same passion you have.