Thursday, November 19, 2009

You belong on your journey

I've been making a conscious effort to be more outgoing in the gym.
I don't ever intend to become one of those guys who uses the gym as a pickup place or even someone who spends half their time leaning on equipment chatting away. However perhaps keeping the iPod turned up and staying lost in a workout fugue state isn't exactly model gym behavior either.

That point struck me when I ran into a fellow gym rat on the street some time ago and realized that I've been around this person a few times a week for literally years and I don't know their name, I've never spoken with them or even exchanged a courtesy "hello".
There's being focused on my workouts and then there is just being weirdly antisocial. Don't misunderstand me. I do on occasion have conversations with fellow gym members. I'm just concerned that being too focused on myself might make me come across as unfriendly. And as those of you who know me are aware, I'm delightfully charming. ;)

So now, while I still mostly keep to myself and stay "in the zone", if I happen to catch someone's eye I make a point of offering a friendly greeting or at least a smile and a nod.

Today I came upon a woman by the water fountain who I have seen a number of times recently and have said hello to at least once before. She's a rather heavyset woman but I've noticed that she is certainly trying.
I asked her "How's it going?" and she gave me a small smile and replied "OK, I guess". Then she shook her a little and added "I sometimes wonder what I'm doing here. Everyone else is so fit and I feel like the big girl that everyone comments about."

I've heard this kind of remark before but never actually in the gym and never directly to me. It's a topic I've given some thought so I laid out my thoughts to her.
Rather than try to remember my exact phrasing, I'll just write them like any other blog post. I hope my words were of help to her.

I've been a regular member of a number of gyms over the years and while, as I mentioned above, I've never been Mr. Fitness Club Social Networker; I have been around enough to know the attitudes of regular gym goers.
I have never heard anyone make negative comments about any other gym member's size or fitness level. While I'm not going to say it never happens I do know that for the vast majority of gym goers, a remark like that would be reprehensible.

There is an understanding and respect for anyone who walks through those doors, anyone who is making the effort. Every one of us in there is on a journey. We all started at different places, we all are at different points along the way and we all are headed someplace different. However we all know what it is like to start, to feel out of place and to wonder how long and how much work it will take to make any progress.

And as far comparing ourselves to other people in the gym; just like the newbies, everyone is looking at those who appear to be in better shape than they are. Because no matter how fit you are, there is someone else in the gym who is thinner, fitter, more muscular, better toned and/or has more endurance than you do. And every one of us is thinking "I wish I had their .

If you are on the journey, if you are willing to walk through that door and try, then you belong there .... and you are one of us.

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