Not having Fun while Working Out?

June 3, 2008

This is continuing on from my last post on comparing what it means to be a trainer and being a coach. As you can guess from the title, it’s about how having fun in the gym…or more specifically NOT having fun.

I’ve found this to be especially evident among younger teenagers (around 12-15). I’ve also noticed that they are often introverted, soft-spoken type people, and they also work very hard in the gym and are very focused. Of course there is nothing wrong with that, in fact I wish all athletes could put forth the effort and focus they do in the gym because the results would be much greater. Physically, these kids tend to be smaller and skinnier or smaller and chubbier than others their age.

However, it’s the fact that they do not appear to be enjoying themselves that breaks my heart. I really want all people to come to the gym and enjoy themselves while working out. Yes, it is going to involve hard work, but I want them to feel good about their work in the gym AND make them excited to come back. If these kids are coming from school, I want them to feel that the gym is a place where they can de-stress from the day, whether it is because they have increased energy after their workout or because of interactions between other athletes or me while they are working out.

When these kids come in to workout, I often try and talk to them a little more than the more out-going athletes, and often try to talk about something besides the workout, exercise form, etc. Sometimes I have small successes and get a smile. One step at a time.

These are things that brighten my day as a coach working in a gym; they also happen to be one of the biggest challenges, but if I don’t try and encourage them to have fun while in the gym, I would feel like I didn’t do my job as their coach. School is stressful enough for everyone; home life can be stressful – the gym should be an escape from life’s stresses, not another source of it.

Just my two cents…



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