We all belong to many communities. There are our professional and faith communities, neighborhoods, families and even some civic associations. The one thing all communities have in common is their ability to help us learn, grow and feel supported. This is also true of the fitness community. Whether you are very extroverted or the most introverted person in all of your communities, there is something you can learn from your fellow gym goers.

Learn from fellow gym goers by observation

Consider the following examples:

I used to belong to a neighborhood fitness center where I participated in classes and used the cardio equipment. Almost every time I was there I noticed a woman about my age also there. Most days she changed out of her work clothing and strength trained aggressively. Watching her created the feeling of possibility as in if she can do it (and she is somewhat like me) then I can do it.

Trying a new fitness class can feel a bit intimidating. You may be worried about getting the steps down, losing your balance or just looking foolish. Fellow gym goers that take the risk of trying a new dance class remind us that it is okay if we don’t get all the steps right away. They can also help us see, when they miss a step and keep going with a smile, that mistakes are not the end of the world.

If ever there was a time to be a copycat, the gym is it. Many members of the fitness community have worked hard to perfect their form and routine. If you see someone doing something you think can work for you, give it a try.

Learn from fellow gym goers by asking

Have you noticed someone at the gym that seems to have made a lot of progress with muscle building or weight loss? Is there a parent that seems to get to the gym regularly despite the demands of child-rearing? How about someone with a crazy busy schedule that still finds time to work out? Don’t wonder how they do it, ask. You may just find some strategies you can use in your own life.

Is there a fellow gym goer with workout gear or equipment you have been dying to try? Ask where he or she got it, or if appropriate ask if you can borrow it for a quick set of reps.

Don’t wonder about the new trainer, instructor or class you have been hesitant to try. Ask a fellow gym goer about his or her impressions. Then give it a try. You might even want to ask a fellow gym goer to give you a quick lesson on a piece of equipment or share his or her weight lifting sequence.

My experience of the fitness community is that we are an encouraging and helpful bunch. So how can you learn from fellow gym goers? Just look, listen and ask. New information about the best way to improve your fitness and stay on track is hard to miss.