With the surge of smaller, community-focused gyms over the years, gyms in many ways have become a third place for people. For many, the gym has become a home, community, and the place where people grow, physically and mentally.
If you’re looking to move away from your current gym and join a new one, this is a big change that often requires a transition period, where you’ll meet new people, figure out the lay of the land, what the rules are, and so forth.
Being the new kid on the block is tough, especially if you were used to being the salty veteran at your old gym. Sometimes, just the challenge of the transition alone can make it difficult for people to ease into their new gym.
Today, we go over some tips that can help ease the transition for you as you leave one gym and join another.
First, let’s talk about a few reasons why people leave their gyms:
This is one of the most common. If you’re leaving a certain geographic area, whether it’s in the same town or out of state, you’ll have to find a gym that is more convenient to your new location.
Whether it’s a physical plateau or a mental one, many people can feel like they’ve reached the limits of what their current gym has to offer them. It’s not that they don’t love it, but they are looking for a continued challenge. Sometimes, if a gym only offers a very specific method to exercise (i.e. cardio) without the option to always do more or move faster, it’s easy to reach the limitations of what a fitness approach can provide you with.
3. Gym Closure
Businesses open and close every day. That trend has accelerated in 2020 and 2021, and many people are either currently or will be without a gym home in the near future.
4. No Longer Working Out at Home
With the vaccine being out, many people are getting more comfortable being around people. Additionally, people have also discovered that it can be difficult to work, exercise, and relax all under the same roof. This group of people is looking to transition away from working out at home and are in search of a new gym.
Now, if you find yourself in one of these boats, what can you do to ease into a gym that you plan to now call home?
Here are 10 tips to transition into your new gym:
1. Try it out for a month.
If you’re coming from another gym, especially after a few years, one free trial may not be enough to help you decide if that gym is going to be a new permanent home for you. Take that month to really get a feel for the gym. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are the workouts effective enough over time for me to see results?
- Are the coaches knowledgeable, fun, and focused on safety?
- Do I enjoy being around the other members?
- Does the location and class schedule fit with my schedule and commute?
2. Ask all the questions.
Ultimately, your fitness journey is about what works for you long-term, and finding the answers you’re looking for in your fitness journey is going to allow you to get your bearings quicker.
Are you looking for ways to workout more? Do you need nutrition advice? What are the non-negotiables you need to help optimize your fitness routine?
The coaches and long-term members have been around for some time and have at one point probably wondered the same thing. So ask the questions, find the answers you need, and make this experience your own!
3. Know the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
If you’re looking for a better fitness solution than the one you have now, know that the new gym you find won’t necessarily be better at every-little-thing than your last gym. Maybe the workouts at the new gym are better, but they don’t give out towels like your old gym.
We would love a gym that provided us with EVERYTHING we wanted, but the truth is all gyms are going to have their pros and cons. That doesn’t make a gym bad – it’s just a question of what it is you specifically are looking for. Remember, the grass is only greener where you choose to water it.
4. Get clear on your #1 thing.
In the last tip, when we talked about you figuring out what it is you’re looking for in your new gym, that’s what we call the #1 thing. Normally, we find that when people get clear on their #1 thing, they go out of their way to ensure they make it happen.
Whether you’re looking to build muscle, hit PRs, find a great community, or something else, get clear on what your top priority is. By knowing the #1 thing you’re aiming for, you can always evaluate whether or not the gym is helping you reach your main goal.
5. Stay positive, open-minded, and patient.
When we’re in a new environment, it’s easy to get defensive or shut down. We can write people or situations off simply because our discomfort level prevents us from being open to them, even though we may be doing so prematurely.
If you’re coming from another gym that you adored, chances are your new gym is going to be different. We get it – that’s tough to deal with! The new gym you joined may operate differently and the people may be different, but different isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Remember, if you’re coming from another gym, it probably took you a long time to get used to that gym, too. Give it time!
6. Check your ego at the door.
Especially if you’re coming from a gym where you’re bored, have plateaued, and you feel like you have “seen and done it all,” trying something new is always going to be a challenge. You’ll usually experience this identity crisis in the middle of a workout, when you look around and see other people moving faster or lifting heavier than you, and you’re just trying to keep it all together.
It happens to everyone! Know that you have found the challenge you’ve been seeking, and even though challenge is GOOD for us, it certainly doesn’t feel good in the moment. This is what growth feels like. 🙂
7. Make it a point to meet people.
Introduce yourself to other gym members either during class or at one of the social events your gym may host. You’ll quickly figure out what the culture of the community is like, even if you’re a little nervous to be the first to reach out. On the plus side, you’ll learn about the people around you and develop connections that will help your new gym feel like home.
8. Track your progress.
Whether you’re looking to see changes in weight, body composition, muscle, or performance standards in the gym, make sure you’re tracking those numbers. Whenever we are in a transition period or in flux, it’s easy to fall back on what we “feel” like is happening, not taking the time to look at the hard numbers to truly tell if what we’re doing is working or not. This is also a good reminder that we are only competing with ourselves!
9. Set your routine at the start of the week.
It’s so much easier to stick to a routine that we’ve planned and prepared for than it is to simply “wing it.” At the start of the week, take a few minutes to figure out what days and times you plan on going to the gym. Put those blocks in your calendar, pack your gym bag with the clothes you’ll need, and ensure you’re giving yourself enough time to commute to and from the gym. This will allow you to commit to your new routine without stress and allow you to get settled in even easier at your new gym.
10. Have fun!
It’s a cliche piece of advice, but it’s cliche for a reason. Stress isn’t just what occurs when we’re faced with challenging situations – stress happens when we’re also not enjoying our lives. The best way to transition into a new gym is to enjoy your time there! Doing so will alleviate the stress that surrounds being the new guy and help you feel like you’re conquering a new challenge in your life.