T Nation

College Research Project

So im doing my second year of my degree in sports coaching and for part of my course this year I have to do a work based research project. It just so happens that I work in a gym. I was thinking of doing something along the lines of “are people intimidated when they go to the gym?” or maybe the effect that music has during training? Does anyone have any opinions or ideas?

The majority of people who join gyms fall off (and good thing, too, or the gyms wouldn’t be able to survive). Why do they fall off? What factors most influence, what would keep them there?

Another interesting thing to me is that euphoric state people enter after just a couple of weeks working out. Where they feel “Great!” and are sure they’re starting to look better and can’t think why they didn’t do this years ago. (But then in two more weeks, drop out.) It would be interesting to track that initial high, find out what it’s made of, find out why it’s so fleeting.

Another interesting question is what percentage of the population age 18-70 (or whatever) has joined a gym, and how many times? Why? Why’d they stop?

Have you thought about how you’ll approach the research?

The “are people intimidated when they go to the gym” thing is all well and good, but you’re relying on people being honest, and how do you categorise the results. Do you try and prove that skinny people are more intimidated than fat people?

Same with the music thing, have you thought how you’ll test it? You could get a group of people to test their grip strength while listening to a variety of music, see if the music makes a difference, then take into account their varying taste in music to see if listening to their preferred music makes them work harder.

I’d have a think about what you can test and how. I’d always prefer to see hard evidence over someone’s opinion.

Thanks for your ideas guys, appreciate it. I like the idea about the ‘euphoric’ state. I got a new idea now let me know what you think. My idea is how bodybuilders are perceived by your ‘average’ gym member, whether they look to the stereotype? and what effect they have on other members.

I thought that with this I could talk about the history of weight lifting how it was more of a circus freak kinda thing back in the early days but is now more of a mainstream concept. any comments…?

[quote]gardengnome wrote:
Thanks for your ideas guys, appreciate it. I like the idea about the ‘euphoric’ state. I got a new idea now let me know what you think. My idea is how bodybuilders are perceived by your ‘average’ gym member, whether they look to the stereotype? and what effect they have on other members. I thought that with this I could talk about the history of weight lifting how it was more of a circus freak kinda thing back in the early days but is now more of a mainstream concept. any comments…?[/quote]

Sounds good, although I’m not sure you won’t get a lot of blank stares and “bodybuilders? uh, I don’t know, I haven’t noticed them.”

yeah that might happen actually you get some people who find it a struggle to say hi when they walk in so this might be a challenge.

I was thinking about this while I ran and showered…what might be really interesting is not so much what people think about bodybuilders, but the differences between people who think about them at all and people who don’t.

Professor X seems to think people are constantly evaluating and judging his size and his goals, but I’ve worked in gyms without ever giving one moment’s thought to anyone’s goals or builds beyond what was necessary to do my job. Bodybuilders were just part of the white noise of the place, like the cardio types. Does anyone really pay attention to who’s on the stairstepper or care why they’re doing it or what their goals are? I think most people are oblivious unless there’s some motivation for noticing (sexual interest, an interest in lifting brings you to awareness of others’ progress, etc).

On the other hand, men (in particular) can be very hierarchal. I suspect the guys who are oriented that way, guys who tend to jockey for position, would be aware of other men who are bigger and more powerful (physically or otherwise). It might be interesting to try to correlate personalty types to “how bodybuilders are perceived by your ‘average’ gym member, whether they look to the stereotype? and what effect they have on other members.”

Or, who notices the bodybuilders? Men or women? You’d think women would be oogling them, but I’ll bet men are more aware.

I really like that idea i’m gonna include that in my research and report, thanks for the idea and help Emily, I appreciate it.