Observing People's Behavior At A Fitness Center

1428 words - 6 pages

Lets start by understanding that cultures are a melting pot of people’s beliefs, language, behaviors, values, material objects, and norms. Norms are written and non-written “expectations of behavior” that govern a certain location, place, or culture (26). These norms also vary from culture to culture meaning what is a norm in the U.S may not be a norm in India. For example, a norm in America would be tipping a waiter after a meal. Another would be acknowledging someone as you walk past him or her, typically done at work or in a public place. In all, norms are folkways, mores, taboos, and written laws that are an established standard of one’s behavior.
For this assignment, I decided to observe a fitness center (gym) setting and break the “workout equipment is not a toy” norm. I conducted my observations at my local Anytime Fitness center that I actually frequent. Ironically, I missed my normal workout time that morning and decided to go later in the day. This worked out perfect for the observation because I arrived at around 5:00 pm, the busiest time for the establishment.
The gym is relatively square with widows covering half of the room. The other half of the room has a wall of mirrors with the last wall having a hallway to bathrooms as well as the fitness trainer’s office. On one of the window walls it has a row of cardio equipment (that has attached TV’s on them) facing the outside. In the back corner near the cardio equipment is a stretching and body exercise area (kettle bells, mats, exercise balls, medicine balls, and stepping stands). In the center are weight machines that range from leg, arm, and abdominal equipment. The wall with the mirrors contains the free weights and other bench press and weight machines. Overall, the room is a plain colored tan with a few fitness flyers and numerous weight machines. Surprisingly, the room is a comfortable temperature and doesn’t reek of body odor, which creates a pleasant gym atmosphere.
Upon arrival, I estimated about 15-20 personal scattered throughout the room on various body equipment. I noticed that I was the youngest person there; everyone else (by the looks) was ranging from late 20’s to early 50’s. The first significant aspect that I always realize is that there are more males than females, typically a 4:1 ratio. The diversity of race/ethnicity was noticeable but not really a concern towards the atmosphere of the gym. Before I started the observations I did run on the treadmill so that the gym visit wasn’t a total waste. Afterwards, my observation was done in the corner with the mats, while I stretched for twenty-five minutes.
To begin, only one person that was in the gym when I first arrived left before the observation began. Every person, excluding the one trainer that was present, had earphones in. Listening to music while working out is typically a custom inside the gym. There were a few patrons that stayed on certain equipment the entire time they were there. Unless someone is...

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