Having been away for a large portion of December, I haven’t written a blog for you for a while and this is a topic I come across very often. Whether it’s through conversation with clients/members, posts on social media or overhearing the conversations of others, the stereotypes of gym goers is a topic that is unavoidable. As soon as someone walks into the gym, the chances are they will already begin to categorize and stereotype those around them.
In the free weight section we have ‘the meathead’, at the squat rack we have the power lifter or ‘ultimate alpha’, in the cardio section and on the machines we have the gym ‘newbies’ too intimidated to venture out from their comfort zones for fear of being judged because of their ‘lack of knowledge’ or ‘level of aesthetics’.
There are gyms that set up and market purely to attract one or two of the main stereotypes. From a business standpoint, it’s extremely smart, as they have pounced upon an opportunity to ensure people feel comfortable within that environment. However, as far as I’m concerned, it’s damaging for fitness as a community.
In order to develop and grow as humans, we should feel uncomfortable every once in a while, we should learn how to face fear in the eyes and overcome it. We should learn and appreciate different aspects of fitness to ensure that our training is as productive and effective as possible. I have trained and still train with bodybuilding fanatics, power lifters obsessed with getting stronger, cross fitters aiming to be ‘the fittest man or woman on the planet’ and every single one has been able to add elements to my training I never would have added had I not conversed and trained with them.
Isn’t part of the purpose of fitness to get comfortable being uncomfortable?
That ‘meathead’ in the free weight section may have made the transformation you’re looking to make and hold the key to speeding up your transformation. That power lifter may have experience at the highest level with Olympic lifting and be able to improve your form with the deadlift so you don’t put your back out. The cardio ‘fanatic’ may show you how you can burn more calories in less time doing something more enjoyable than running on a treadmill.
From my personal standpoint and speaking on behalf of those I train with, our goal has never been to build muscle to intimidate those around us. We have stumbled across something that we have a passion for. We love it so much we want everyone to experience it. Why? Because its life changing! It allows you to grow as an individual mentally and physically.
When I started working out at 16, I was a skinny kid intimidated by the environment that was to become my life and my career. The ‘meatheads’ I was surrounded by turned out to be some of the friendliest, most trustworthy and passionate individuals I have ever met.
What I’m getting at is that we are all fighting a battle. Is anybody completely happy with his or her physique? No, hence the reason people are working day and night to improve them. It’s time that as a fitness community we all started working together and helping each other achieve results. No one person has more right to be in the gym than another, we are all there with one purpose, to be the best version of ourselves we possibly can.
The fear factor you have created is not real. The only way you will overcome it is by facing exactly what it is you fear. On the other side of fear is the person you’re destined to become.
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