Building your social support networks can pose a challenge. Where do you begin if say, your spouse, partner, kids, parents, co-workers, peers, and anyone else either fails to take your lifestyle change seriously or is antagonistic about it? Well, to be honest, such a network, and often the best network can be found in one spot: your local gym.
Many of us tend to associate gyms in an old school manner, but to be honest anywhere with weights is considered a gym. Planet Fitness, contrary to the claim that they’re not a gym, is a gym. And so is the hole in the wall place down the street where most of your hardcore lifters congregate.
They’re gyms, plain and simple, and it’s where your social support resides.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are different gyms for different people.
Do you just want to find a place with all the basics?
A small-box 24-hour gym might be for you.
What about somewhere that hosts a variety of fitness classes?
Then go with a large-box gyms.
But I urge you to be careful with each of the above, as both love to sell you ‘something,’ often with layered packages involved.
In other words, you’re both a number and a paycheck to these people, not a real person. They just want your money and most won’t even care if you walk through the door again; just keep paying the monthly fee you signed up for, often in a one-year agreement.
The best place, in my opinion, is a gym that can be compared to a small community. When I started off working in a small-box gym in Weirton, we pulled this off. We took a corporate gym and transformed it into one complete with a club culture along with a ‘Cheers’ type of atmosphere.
We transformed lives.
Read on for my recommendation to you.
Find A Small Group Studio
Seriously, these places are by far the best when it comes to building support in my experience. The trainers stay, the owners are friendly and often visible in the club, and the members well, feed off one another’s energy.
Such is the perfect recipe for your success – and support.
Sure, it’s fantastic to have a trainer and it’s even better to attend your training sessions on time, 100% of the time, but it’s top of the line to have members in the place care about your results as much as anyone else.
And best yet, no one’s trying to sell you any add-ons. What you see in these places is what you will get.
Many of these places prefer small and large group training, which may be a little intimidating for the first-timer but let me tell you, we had many more training in small group and team stick around for the long haul.
How does my entire four and a half years working at this particular location sound?
It’s a thing of accountability and with accountability comes social support. Again, this doesn’t just occur in the client-trainer relationship, but also in the client-client relationship, because not only did clients talk to one another, they wanted to train with each other at every single session.
Further, not only did they expect to see one another attend classes and training sessions, but social media has made a strong impact in the fitness world over the years. Clients added one another to Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, etc., and collaborated as to when the next hot session took place.
In other words, you’re going to find lifelong partnerships in your fitness journey so if all else fails at home, you have your gym. If your spouse, kids, parents, and even colleagues from work aren’t going to support you (and some will be VERY antagonistic about you bettering yourself), the other members and clients will become that support system.
And that gives you a huge, huge, huge advantage.
Fun, Fun, and More Fun
Sure, these were serious training sessions, but when the music hit and I started directed clients of all ages and fitness levels in these sessions, I was no longer at work – sure I was getting paid and had a job to do, but I was no longer at work.
Instead, I changed lives for the better. For the best. And I had a blast doing this. The atmosphere had the rest of the gym turning their heads and yes, more than a few started training from the positive atmosphere alone.
Honestly, nothing was more rewarding than seeing clients have a good time despite the exhausting workouts I put them through day in and day out, as often as they showed. And the fact remained real – they supported one another and saw – results!
Which is the most rewarding aspect of this job.
And some of these members didn’t have a shred of support back home. Husbands were antagonistic (I seriously can’t stress how much antagonism some clients and members faced), kids didn’t understand, and yes, friction existed between my clients and some of their co-workers. But hey, they invested in themselves, the results came, and they trained until my very last day on the job in Weirton.
When I took my business to Pittsburgh before taking a hiatus (which I’ll share in my next article), the same thing occurred, especially in the Westmorland County club. That place had been open for nearly ten years at the time and over the course of ten years, the same clients came in and trained. And they added new clients to their repertoire as well.
They even had a huge photo montage on the wall depicting each client’s success story. To this day, the Westmorland Club was by far my favorite one to work in, even if I was in Weirton for the bulk of my first six years on the job. I’ve never seen so much success regarding a group of personal training clients anywhere in my career and the club applied the same formula.
So, your best support system will come from within the doors of your gym, especially those training studios that specialize in small group and large group training, with private one on one training serving as an alternative.
Best yet, the workouts in these studios are tailored to fit any fitness level via modification, so literally any movement is possible regardless of one’s experience. Not just that, the trainers working in these places tend to stay and again, the owners are personable and want to be part of the club culture as well.
It’s my recommendation that this is the type of fitness center you belong to, due to the fact you will meet others in your shoes, or had been in your shoes far more than you would at a corporate fitness center. While corporate centers are great for those who work strange schedules or those whose schedules may reside outside the realm of attending classes (such as night-shift workers), if possible, join these training studio type of gyms – you will always be a name, and never a number to them.
And it’s a staunch contrast to what you’ll find in a corporate center, especially your large box gyms.