Those emotions you have about not being able to get a parking spot, someone being on your favorite treadmill and someone having the audacity to be in your space on the front row in Zumba? That’s real. It’s real enough to make you want to use those punches you learned in Piloxing. But are they productive? I mean, were ANY of us BORN running at an 8.0 speed on the treadmill, doing Body Attack like a pro and bench pressing our body weight? And I don’t know any of us who pay enough money per month to have a personalized parking space. But our feelings are our feelings. Yet the “other” people have feelings too.You know, the people we turn our noses up at because they jumped right in the front and don’t know the steps or the people who used the locker we ALWAYS use or the person who got in the way at the front desk asking all of those questions while we were trying to scan in so we could get to class on time. Do you remember what it was like when you joined the gym? I remember. I remember what it was like the first time I went to a group fitness class by myself, out of shape, overweight and embarrassed. I remember looking at a class schedule deciding what I wasn’t going to do. I remember looking at all of the people march past me in their sports bra and tight fitting capris while I was dying from the heat in my huge jogging pants and t-shirts, the biggest ones I could find. I remember the looks I got from the people who thought it was funny when I struggled in Pilates with the roll-up or didn’t know how to adjust the weights on the leg press. I also remember the helpful people who smiled and told me I was doing a good job when I kept showing up, sometimes with tears in my eyes.
Which person will you be?
As a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, I LIVE for a crowded gym. I don’t get paid more per person in my classes and with the wave of people looking to You Tube and apps to train them, my business doesn’t necessarily pick up the way it used in January. I am excited because it means people are thinking about their health, even if it’s for a month. It means I learn to get to work early to deal with the parking and greet new students and gym goers. It means I get to be more creative with my training as machines and equipment may not be readily available (hello, ActivMotion Bar!). It means that because I have the experience of changing my life that place, I have the benefit of being able to influence another person to change theirs. That’s pretty amazing.
I can’t tell you who to be but I can tell you whatever decision you make affects someone. Perhaps if we chose to be encouraging instead of exclusive, more people would stick around and January would be less of a disruption from the norm and more like our every day thing.
And if you’re the person making your way back into the gym, whatever gym, I’m glad you’re there. Stick with it. Hold your head up. You belong there. Your life is worth dealing with the giggles and the stares. I get very few of them now. 🙂 E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for backup. I really do get your story.