It’s that time of the year again.
School is out, the summer gym rush is on and the demographic at the gym where I work and train changes dramatically. As in the median age of the daytime gym-goer drops by at least fifteen years.
While I’m thrilled to see young people choosing exercise over hanging out at the 7-11, it does make for some interesting encounters in the weight room…
Many of my 40+ female clients are less than excited to be suddenly sharing the free weights section with a bunch of teenage boys.
Fair enough. They tend to hang around in bunches, one exercising, the others watching while answering their phones or swigging on brightly coloured workout drinks.
They also tend to be a little less mindful of personal space and the effect their cologne might be having on the people around.
As I have no clients in this age group, I can’t speak to the challenges we ‘older women’ present to them, although I’m sure there are many 😉
With the goal of encouraging peaceful coexistence at the gym during the months ahead, I’d like to offer suggestions to both groups of gym-goers; the younger, summer-time crowd and the older, rest-of-the-year bunch.
- Pay attention to your surroundings. Just like in the boat yard, larger, moving ‘ships’ go first. If somebody nearby is moving with a heavy weight, stand back and let them pass or finish their set before you continue on. When setting up your bench, make sure it’s far enough away from your neighbour’s so as not to impede their range of motion (or scare them to death when your dumbbell suddenly moves over their body).
- Remember why you’re at the gym. Sure, exercising with friends can be more fun than exercising solo. But if you’re standing around chatting with your buddies/girlfriends/cronies rather than lifting or actively resting, you’re taking up space that another gym-goer could be using. Workout first then take the coffee talk to the coffee shop.
- Shift your workout time. In my gym, the 14 to 19-year olds don’t tend to make an appearance until 10:30 or 11:00 am. And when the sun’s out, they tend to head for the beach by about 2 (pump up first, beach second…). If you’re looking for a quieter time to exercise, avoid the peak daytime hours.
- Keep your volume down and your language respectable. Nobody wants to hear your music, no matter how awesome the playlist. Lower the volume to protect everybody’s ears. Remember that you’re in a public place and keep the F-bombs to yourself. You never know who’s on the bench beside you; it just may be the woman that’ll be interviewing you tomorrow for the summer job you’ve got your heart set on…
- Treat others with respect. Regardless of age, everyone deserves to be treated respectfully. That means asking before you commandeer equipment. ‘Working in’ when two or more people need to use the same machine. Wiping off your bench and cardio machines when you’re done. Saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and ‘excuse me’. Giving someone an ‘atta boy John’ or ‘good job’ when you’re impressed with their effort or performance.
Above all, remember that ultimately, we all go to the gym for the same reasons; to improve our fitness, health and over-all sense of well-being.
Does the demographic in your gym change over the summer?
If so, how does it affect your workouts?