By: Heather Marr
Heather Marr is an N.Y.C.-based personal trainer and The Model Trainer Method creator, whose A-list client roster includes some of the world’s most famous supermodels. Ahead, she answers a frequently asked fitness question: Can you correct someone’s form at the gym?
There are typically three situations where someone approaches a fellow gym member to correct their form. The first one is when there is a potential safety issue. The second is when someone feels the exercise could be performed more effectively. The third and final situation is when someone uses the interruption as a way to spark conversation. All three scenarios boil down to bad behavior and terrible gym etiquette in my opinion. Let me be clear – it is not okay to correct someone's form at the gym.
If during your own workout, you notice someone performing an exercise that may risk their safety, you don't have to ignore it. You should, however, obey basic gym etiquette and leave the member alone. Do not approach them and interrupt them mid-set or even between sets. Instead, if you're concerned for the member's safety, simply locate a staff member, alert them to the situation, and then carry on with your own workout. This is really the only situation where you could excuse that behavior. For instance, if you were unable to locate any staff members, including front desk staff, and you felt that the member was in imminent danger of hurting themselves, you should intervene.
If during your training session, you spot a member performing an exercise that you feel should be performed in a different manner, then you need to mind your own business. You should be focusing on yourself and your workout at the gym. This scenario is usually just a case of an unchecked ego. You are totally unfamiliar with the member's training and medical history, including past and current injuries. You would have no idea if they are intentionally modifying an exercise. Furthermore, you are completely in the dark about the member's goals, which of course directly affects what they're doing and how they're doing it. This is considered by many to be extremely obnoxious behavior in the gym – even when it's done by a trainer soliciting or bothering members on the gym floor. By a random gym member, this behavior is very offensive and inexcusable. Maximize your gym time and stay focused on your goals and yourself. You don't want to be "that guy."
The third situation, unfortunately, is an all too common occurrence. Again, this is in poor taste. It's also not likely to get the reaction you're hoping for. The key thing to remember is that the gym is not a coffee shop or a bar. People are there to exercise and that needs to be respected. If there's someone who has caught your eye, rather than rudely interrupt them, get creative. Many fitness facilities have juice bars or areas for members to eat pre- and post-workout. Approach your crush there. You can time your entrance or exit with theirs and spark up a conversation then. Basically, do anything but interrupt their workout to give them unsolicited training advice. If you must approach them on the floor while they’re training, then the last thing you want to do is come across as rude and obnoxious with your form tips. Instead, be straight forward and honest if you must approach someone there. You will surely get a more favorable response that way.
Keep it simple and mind your own business. You’re at the gym to train and your focus should be on yourself and your own workout. Be respectful, leave others alone and let them train. If they need or want any help, they will ask for it.