Let’s be honest. If you go to a gym long enough, you get to know people. If you know and like those people, then the gym experience becomes something much different. Fitness centers play a bigger role in the community than you would think.
Who Goes to the Gym?
Depending on the gym, you’ll attract different types. Some gyms will attract more athletes, others will be your everyday person and others cater exclusively to the most affluent of society.
I’ve worked at all three and they are all good.
The common denominator is that they are all people who want to better themselves. Imagine a scale where those who are bettering themselves and others are at the top. At the bottom are those who are harming themselves and others.
A gym tends to collect those people at the top of the scale.
There is also a factor of money. Gyms cost money and the members pay for it. So you’ve got to have a little extra spending money to be there.
Networking at the Gym
Some life-changing connections have been made at fitness centers.
I’ve seen a man and woman meet in the gym and end up getting married. Moms often use it as a place to meet and coordinate their families’ social lives. I have personally hooked people up with jobs just because I knew someone who was looking for help of a certain type.
While I was in college, and even after, I got tons of side jobs house-sitting for my clients while they were out of town. They loved it because I was an upstanding member of the community and wasn’t just going to do weird things and disappear. I loved it because it was extra money and I got to stay in other people’s mansions.
Goodbye Social Facade
When you’re working out, it is hard to maintain any sort of poker face. You kind of get to know the person next to you as you are fighting to finish your workout.
This goes for everyone at the gym. If you’re a little annoyed, there’s no hiding it. It somehow has to do with the mechanics of stressing your body.
I’ve had women break down and cry because they couldn’t hold it together. One woman started unloading a massive problem about her son and how he was without a father figure. Guys tend to walk in and be mad and then just slowly bleed off the pressure. By the end they’ve calmed down.
Either way, once you know someone at the gym, you know them much better than when you’re wearing a suit and a smile at work.
And this type of environment brings together church groups, work groups and various other types of people that would never have met. Even with the “wonder” of social media, these types of things only happen face to face.
Where else would you go where everyone supports you getting as good as you can be?
Now, I’m not paranoid, but I know that there are others who would not wish me well. I find it amazing to watch people do things they never thought they could do, but some exist who would rather you stay small so that they don’t feel so intimidated.
The gym is mainly a place where people can go and support each other. If any of my clients need help, others offer help freely. But rarely do any of us actually need something. Bar-B-Ques, get-togethers with the kids running around, 5K races and obstacle course races are the usual meeting grounds.
When someone goes on a trip, I make sure that they take photos of themselves using their fitness or doing silly workouts in famous places. We post it up on our site and on social media and everyone loves it.
Not a Bad Place To Work
When I was in college, I wanted to go on and be a Physical Therapist. I put myself through college by being a personal fitness trainer and taking all sorts of odd jobs.
My degree was in Exercise Science but it was also a Pre-Physical Therapy lineup. I had originally intended to go be a Physical Therapist. When I took a look at the types of environments that I would be working it, I did a 180-degree turn.
My average day in the gym involved lots of movement, lots of bodies in and out, people making personal records, laughing, congratulating, screaming encouragement, demonstrating exercises, blasting loud music and overall pumping people up.
An average day in the physical therapy clinic was… not like that. I looked at what kind of place I wanted to spend my time and I would honestly be at the clinic looking forward to my time at the gym. So I decided to make things work for me as a fitness trainer. And I’ve made a good living out of it.
I’ve helped more people than I can count.
It makes a significant difference in your life if you have 20 people you know and talk to or if you have an extra 100 people you know and talk to through the gym.
There are probably books on the subject of networking and I might know enough now to write one. But the fact of the matter is that having a community greatly enhances people’s lives.
While the gym is actually there to just train your muscles and make improvements in strength, endurance, agility, balance, coordination, power, and so on and so on, it can also be put to a greater use to bring the community together.
I have held workouts in park settings, right outside the gym, at water parks and I’ve led 40 members of my gym hiking in the mountains.
There is so much community to be had, that it doesn’t make sense to not join one. What you’ll spend in memberships is made back in your own personal health (the obvious one), but also in getting a heads-up on a house going on the market, a good deal on renovations because you know the owner of a company or just an increase in your general happiness.
Some gyms don’t have the same kind of camaraderie as what I’ve described here, but try a few different ones and you’ll find your group.
If not, make one yourself. I did.