This has been on my mind for a few years and its something I see all the time. By now most of the New Years Resolution people have " failed " in the gym and put the kit bag in the back of the cupboard... at least they have tried , right. Sadly its probably this group of people who the big box gyms court so heavily emotionally at the start of each year who need the help the most.
Go into a busy spin class mid January , there they are at the back of the room getting physically crushed and probably emotionally crushed by whats surrounding them. Desperately trying to burn calories in a 60 min power class , the instructor doesn't care about the outcome , nor does the gym. I have never heard an instructor yet say, "hey you are new, is this your first class..??? ..feel free to stop and leave when you want, cool down for 5 before you do that..work at your own pace, its not a competition... etc etc. "
Its a really intimidating environment mentally and physically. ( it would be nice if gyms offered taster classes , 30 mins max, show them the bike set up, give an idea on intensities, make them feel welcome .. ) . These people are usually in a spin class based on loose info from the membership sales team that " spin can burn up to 800 calories per class"... The usual outcome is something like this... person gets frustrated at lack of progress....motivation drops...attendance suffers...and so the journey towards leaving the gym quickens...
Meanwhile at the front of the class the instructor is sharing the latest private gym based joke about the "new joiners". It takes a lot of courage to go down to the front of a new class, you fear the watchful eye and critique of the instructor and the critical eye of the fit ties.... Also down the front in the fitties section is the professional spin groupie, colour co ordinated water bottle in hand , matching headband and pro cycle shorts and shoes...
This happens in other classes, the person who can't get that stretch in the yoga class may even find the instructor pushing them into position, its sort of humiliating, and I have seen it with my own eyes.Its hardly encouraging for the struggling newbie. In the end we tend to just have classes full of clones ...if you don't fit it.. well you know the outcome..
I find there is little encouragement in gyms for beginners, newbies, people with issues , however there are " 100`s of classes per week " for the ultra fit. Any encouraging programmes I see are " sold " as a package .. not a bad idea unless the person has been emotionally blackmailed into buying to maintain someones sales quota. ( and yes I have seen evidence of this in the chain store gyms, sad but true..)
It would be revolutionary but why don't we change our approach to minorities in the gym , after all we want them to join the majority... don't we?