The Importance Of Gym Culture

When I was first starting my journey as a personal trainer, I thought I knew it all. With a freshly printed certification in one hand, and my NASM textbook in the other, I knew I had what it took to help anyone reach their goals... Boy was I wrong.

You see, what most certifications don't teach you is the psychology behind helping people reach their goals. As human beings we are very susceptible to peer pressure whether we realize it or not. In his book The Righteous Mind (awesome book btw), Moral Psychologist Jonathan Haidt speaks on how humans are actually "groupish", not selfish. He, in much greater detail, explains that as an evolutionary survival skill humans developed the need to prove to the group that they were worth keeping around.

Actually... today you will do what others won't, so you can fit in with everyone else doing what other's won't...

Actually... today you will do what others won't, so you can fit in with everyone else doing what other's won't...

As a human being when you join a gym/boot camp class/ lawn mowing club (whatever floats your boat) you are the new guy. People can be as welcoming as they want but ultimately both you, and the current members are subconsciously deciding whether or not you are a good fit aka worth keeping around. So don't even think about showing up to that lawn mowing club with anything less than 10 horsepower son! Not in my house! But i digress...

If you join a gym full of people who have not reached their respective goals even though they have been a member since Sting was making his money with the boys in blue...

These guys DEFINITELY reached their hair goals...

These guys DEFINITELY reached their hair goals...

...it really is not that hard to fit in. This is because the quickest way to not reach your goal is to do a whole lot of nothing. Mindblowing... I know. So because the norm in that gym is to not reach your goal, you feel no pressure to lose weight or deadlift a lot of weight or run that 5k. This idea can literally be put into any group scenario and remains consistent. If you work at a job where the norm is being late and taking two hour lunch breaks is cool, I would highly suggest updating your linkedin profile because that company probably won't be in business much longer...

If you were to join a gym full of people who had reached their initial goals and were working on their next bodily project, that evolutionary need to fit in would take charge and create a sense of urgency to get with it or get lost. I recommend the former. But equally as important in gym culture, is having all of those sexy, goal reaching people realize that they are a newbie support system as well.

And I want you to look good in a bikini so we can take spring break selfies for Instagram duhhh...

And I want you to look good in a bikini so we can take spring break selfies for Instagram duhhh...

The support system is crucial because you WILL have hiccups along the way. There will be moments on your fitness journey where you "accidentally" ordered a cheeseburger because you forgot about what your goals were... and honestly, that's okay. What's not okay is allowing that cheeseburger to turn into Chinese take out the next day. It is critical to surround yourself with people who have also "accidentally" ordered a cheeseburger and successfully gotten themselves back on track to reach their goals. Being around these types of people is vital for your journey.

THE BIG TAKEAWAY:

Do some real gym self reflection and think about whether or not you are putting yourself in an environment where success is the norm. It can make all the difference in the world. Next time you are at your gym, look around at the people there. Are they actively working hard to reach their goals? Have any of them actually accomplished what they set out to do? If not then your gyms culture is probably one of complacency and laziness. If you are truly interested in reaching your goals, do a little research and find one where reaching goals is the norm (*cough cough Progressive Athletics *cough cough). You will be better off and besides... those bikini selfies aren't gonna take themselves....