Being a Part of the Tribe | Gym Ettiquette 101
A successful contender knows that every win is a group effort. Success takes more than one person with a dream, but rather a dedicated team of people sharing their knowledge, positivity, and support through every rise and fall of the journey. There is no such thing as a champion without a tribe. But it takes more than just any coach or training partner to reach the top – it takes the right coach, the right partner – the right support system.
To become our best selves both in and outside of the ring, we must actively create a supportive environment. We can have all the right intentions, but without people in our lives to encourage, nudge or even push us when needed, it’s rarely enough. We need a tribe of individuals that are invested in our success to make a real difference.
Be the Partner You Wish to Have
Like attracts like, and sometimes the easiest way to create positive, goal-attaining surroundings is by becoming one of the valuable tribe members you wish to attract. Consider how having the right influences in your life could help make staying the course with your current intentions so much easier. What could those close to you say, or how could they behave to help you feel supported? Be specific and then lead by example. Show up in these exact ways to help others in your life reach their own objectives.
For example, it might sound fun to tempt your training partner (the one that is trying to lose 10 lbs.) with French fries. But a quick reminder of how hard it is to stay true to your own nutritional goals will encourage you to offer carrot sticks instead. Be consistent and kind while still being that added bit of strength and resolve that we all need to make the right decision at a weak moment. Other friends might continue to push the fries, but by respecting another’s commitments, you help move them closer to the goal. You also secure a partner that will return the favor – that’s a pretty significant return on your investment!
At the gym, make yourself accountable by stating your goals out loud to anyone that will listen and always to your workout buddy. Question them, as well as other friends about their healthy ambitions, workout routines, progress and setbacks. Show interest in the struggle and triumphs of others while offering your support or just a good ear. It will help build stronger relationships that lead to an investment in each other’s health-related goals. As a bonus, these conversations often lead to new information, great tips and unexpected results.
As part of the boxing community, it is imperative to learn and follow basic gym etiquette. Adopting courteous gym behavior is probably the most supportive thing we can do for one other. Nothing derails a good training session more than gym-goers not following these unwritten but fundamental rules. Here are just a few.
Get Off the Phone
The moment we step foot in the gym, we are expected to leave the rest of the world behind. However much time you have allotted for this workout is the time you should be focused on your training and results. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can exercise and take a quick call because when the two compete, it’s your body that will suffer.
Not only is it dangerous to divide your attention but it is incredibly distracting (and let’s be honest, annoying) to your fellow gym-goers and especially to the one closest to you – your training partner. Imagine being in the zone at the speed bag. You’ve been working on this for months, and finally, you’ve got it! It’s never been this easy before, and you are pumped and enjoying the rhythm. That is until the person next to you takes a call, starts speaking very loudly (because for some reason we can’t help that) and disrupts your whole groove.
Don’t be this person! Focus is often the only thing that gets us through a tough workout. Constant distractions can even be the catalyst for some to abandon their routine altogether. If you want to maintain an atmosphere of drive, determination and expected gains for yourself, then do the same for others. If it’s an emergency, you can always take the call outside.
Respect Other’s Personal Space
Noise is one way to invade a person’s personal space, people physically do so as well, even if it is unwittingly. Yes, you want to get into the zone, block everything out and focus solely on the exercise at hand. Unless you have your own gym, it’s important to be mindful of those around you and your proximity to them.
If there are three empty treadmills in a row, which do you pick? If you said the second one, try again. Taking the middle machine means the next person that arrives has no choice but to be very close to you. Most people would prefer more space for their workouts, so always pick an end in this situation. If one person is running on the far right, pick the equipment on the far left. See how this works?
This applies to every location. While using free weights, try not to set up or camp out in front of them. Doing so is essentially hogging the entire area. Stay within your personal space, by not spreading out with your gym bag, water bottle, etc. Keep it simple and keep it moving. Make it easy for other people to work in and use the same equipment. They’ll return the favor.
Of course, if you’re working in a group, you’ll want to be together. Just ensure that your tribe isn’t overtaking a solo member’s personal space.
Clean Up After Yourself
To peacefully co-exist in any tribe takes consideration. Nothing says “I am considerate of those around me” the way cleaning up your pool of sweat does. First of all, it’s unsanitary and gross not to, but mainly, it’s neighborly and shouts, “I know that not everything in this world is about me!” If you are lucky enough to be training with someone that shares your vision, don’t mess it up by leaving them with a bench soaked in your hard work.
Along this same line of thinking is washing your hands. Obviously, we will all want to wash our hands before leaving the gym and after touching a bunch of equipment. But, washing your hands before you begin is courteous behavior extended to everyone around you. We each (including your partner) have our own specific fitness goals. Be careful not to derail them with even a remote possibility of spreading germs and causing illness. This is Support 101.
While we’re on the subject of cleaning up after yourself – don’t forget the weights. Some of us have limited time to work out. If we have to hunt for free weights or re-rack other people’s plates, it cuts into our training time. Weights on the floor also become a danger. Make things easier for the next person, and you’ll likely start a trend; it’s harder to be lazy when you see everyone else take time out to do the right thing.
Be the Change
A fully equipped gym is beneficial, but without people in our lives cheering us on, it can be challenging to maintain the attitude and motivation required to get results. We can build a tribe that actively supports our dreams and makes the journey a tad easier and a lot more enjoyable. The hardest find is the right coach, but Gloveworx did that work for you. Come in for an intro session to learn more.
With the right coach locked down, all we have to do is continue to model positive and encouraging behavior. Peak performance is more than just physical. Remind yourself daily what it is that you need from others and then be the first to change. Do this consistently and then look for signs of reciprocity. Your environment and the people in it will be inspired to give the same support they are receiving. That adage, “the more you give, the more you get,” is true for boxers too.