In part one we began to explore exactly what Sam, our new to exercise gym member might be feeling. In this section, we’ll pick up before Sam even steps foot in to the facility…
So, Sam’s now heading to the gym and what do you imagine his thoughts would be? How fast he is going to run on the treadmill? How much he is going to bench? How he’s going to show off his flexibility in that yoga class? Or might it be trepidation? Things like, I hope I don’t embarrass myself. I wished I’d got fit before signing up to this? How much is this going to hurt?
If it helps think about how you feel before a job interview, going into a meeting where you are not prepared or where you know you are in trouble. This may provide some if the same apprehensions…
So, Sam arrives at the club and once greeted he is taken to the changing room where he’s asked to put on the correct clothing. His previous concerns return, he may or may not have to change in a communal space! If Sam is out in the open, while changing, how do you think he is feeling? Probably a little awkward, out of place and exposed?
How confident do you think Sam is feeling right now, before even stepping into the gym? Once we have Sam in the gym, he’s looking around. We’ve previously established what Sam is seeing will likely be very alien to him. It’s an odd environment in there. With strange moving equipment, some with TV screens, some with cables, some with seats, some without.
For me, I compare it to going into a manufacturing plant for the first time, there was equipment and people everywhere. Everyone knew what they’re doing and then there’s me, stood in the middle, without a clue what I’m doing there, let alone what I should be doing! I know at this point I was feeling incredibly nervous, particularly as I suspected I was about to be shown the equipment and asked to use it!
So, Sam is in the gym met by the fitness instructor who introduces themselves as Alex. Alex greets him with a large smile, a warm handshake, maintains eye contact and asks how Sam’s doing. For the first time in the last thirty minutes Sam feels just a little bit more comfortable and at ease.
What if Alex hadn’t been so warm and friendly though, what if Alex was having a bad day and simply grunted, ‘hello, come with me.’ How might Sam feel now?
Before we continue, I’d like to share a perspective with you…. It is my belief that those of us who work in the health and fitness industry are a little strange. In fact, I’d go as far as to say I believe we are all freaks!
We know that in any country there appears to be a threshold of only 15% of the population owning a gym membership and attendance rates are at best one to two times per week. Now those of us who work in health and fitness may consider this strange.
Many of us wake up thinking about training, almost every day, what it is we’re doing today, what muscle groups or energy systems we’ll target. Then we’ll probably think about what we’re going to eat for each meal, what the calorific count will be, maybe even the macronutrient breakdown is. Of course, we already have all the answers as it’s all pre-planned!
Now, let me be clear, normal people do not think about these things, only freaks do. It’s not normal to be proud that after a heavy leg session we get on and off the toilet like this. Or after a big row session to struggle washing our hair. These are not badges of honor to normal people. Instead, one would consider them abnormal behaviours, even freakish!
In the next blog we’ll explore Sam’s exercise journey further as we begin to examine, five key influential, intertwined elements that Alex can utilise to assist Sam develop his confidence.