I was at the gym the other day and saw this guy who was doing an ab workout all wrong. I caught eyes with a trainer, who shook his head. We both smiled.
So we started talking and I asked him if he ever corrects people that are doing exercises wrong. He tells me,
“Yeah, I actually used to go up to people and say, ‘Can I show you a better way to do that?’ But these dudes got REALLY mad…especially the ones from Jersey. And especially guys who had been working out a long time.”
I started cracking up. He said, “One guy looked me up and down and said, how old are you? 24? I have a SUIT older than you.”
Aside from an NYC bar or a new-mother meetup, there is almost no place more fascinating to study applied psychology than a gym: We claim we want to lose weight and dream about getting a 6-pack…but we rarely work out. Some of us actually do go to the gym, but after 12 months of working out, we look the same…yet if someone suggests getting a trainer, we say, “That’s way too expensive!” Still others jump from fad diet to fad diet.
Be The Expert
Use what you’ve learned on this site about psychology to answer these questions:
1. It’s natural to feel angry if someone tries to correct you. But why are guys who’ve been working out for a long time especially angry if someone tries to help them correct their form? What is going on here?
2. If you were recommending what this trainer SHOULD say to actually change the other guy’s form, what would it be? Script it out in the comments.
Hint: This has nothing to do with the gym. It has everything to do with influencing others’ behavior by understanding their barriers and the context of persuasion.