The class environment and the culture in our gym as a whole are two core components that we as coaches value highly. We want everyone to leave the gym doors feeling better than when they walked through them, and we hold ourselves responsible for the experience that our members have in our classes, good or bad. However, we would be remiss if we failed to acknowledge the contribution our members make in providing a positive class experience, especially for those who are newer to our gym.
The street goes both ways; it is difficult to deliver a good experience to a class if the coach is incompetent or has a negative attitude. It is also difficult, perhaps even more so, to deliver a good experience to the class if the members in it have a negative attitude. We want to take this opportunity to thank all of our members for bringing a positive attitude to class and just being great to work with in general. For the sake of discussion, what specific factors are we referring to when we say that a member has a positive influence in class?
Be positive. As cliché as it likely sounds, in order to have a positive influence on those around you, you have to be positive. This goes beyond simply avoiding talking negatively about others. Do you speak negatively about yourself and your abilities in the gym? Do you show self doubt when a challenging workout is presented? Being positive does not mean feigning a smile or frolicking about like you are in a field of daisies. However, excessive negative self talk can bring others down, especially those who are new and likely struggling with their own challenges.
Be approachable. If you have been a member for quite some time, it can be easy to forget what it was like to attend a class for the first time. As an experienced gym-goer, new members often look up to you. Your warm demeanor goes a long way in making them feel welcome and comfortable in an unfamiliar environment. If someone new seems lost or unsure, extend a helping hand. If appropriate, partner with them for the strength and/or conditioning piece(s). Apply fist bumps and high fives liberally. Tell them they did a good job. We want everyone to know and feel that their efforts in the gym are worth it.
Be humble. As mentioned above, newer members often look up to more experienced members. As an experienced member, you can likely do some pretty cool stuff! But, what will stand out to a new member more than any party trick is when an experienced member humbly recognizes their own weaknesses and makes appropriate modifications to a workout. Understanding your own body and nailing the stimulus is way cooler than burying yourself six feet under in a workout because you wanted to check the Rx box. Set the example in showing others how to make sustainable progress.
This discussion primarily focused on how more experienced members can have a positive influence on newer members. However, all members, old or new, have an impact on class experience. Again, we want to thank you all for doing your part to make our classes a consistently positive experience. Keep it up!