It’s the New Year, and one of the most common resolutions is going to the gym, getting fit, and losing weight! Everyone who already holds a membership probably saw their gym floor as SRO (standing room only) this past week.
No room on the stretching mats, the treadmills are all taken, somebody random took your “spot” in the fitness class you’ve been religious about for years, there is nowhere to leave your car, and the list goes on. The extra people can be so annoying, and in a few weeks, they will either go away, or some will actually stay and commit.
Don’t be so fast to judge these rookies or even judge those people who you see on the floor constantly. Everyone goes to the gym for their own reasons. For many, it’s therapy and to clear their head.
Take a look around the floor or your fitness class and see the variety. Embrace it; don’t judge as you do not know what their body and mind has been/is going through. The gym floor is not the middle school cafeteria.
Lifting belts are often for back support, not because people want to look tough. Maybe the big guy is nursing a back injury; maybe the strong woman pulled something getting her screaming toddler into the car seat. Maybe one of them slept wrong?
The tall guy with the super thin legs, maybe his knee replacement does not allow him to have strong leg days. He could have come a long way already, and climbing a few flights of stairs a day is his triumph.
What about the skinny girl who you think starves herself? Perhaps she is battling an old eating disorder and works with a nutritionist to gain the right weight the right way because she wants to be strong enough to have a baby. Or maybe she’s lucky with a high metabolism but wants more female curves, because she wants to feel sexy and more confident.
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The really fat woman, the one who’s wearing the yoga pants that are way too small; maybe she has already lost 50 pounds and these pants motivate her. Maybe these pants weren’t even an option a few months back so she’s proud she can even get them on now. Respect her confidence and ambition; don’t mock her because you think she has no business.
The young girl who keeps asking what you do to get your body, what you eat, and who often follows your workout isn’t stalking you or trying to annoy you. She is in awe and you motivate her. It’s a complement, take it. One day you will be in awe of someone too! Then there is the girl who wants to ask for advice but just stares because perhaps you intimate her unintentionally.
The guy with the embarrassing form, perhaps he’s learning. Give him credit for coming onto the floor with all the pros and for trying. Maybe you can correct him so he learns something and doesn’t get hurt. He may have just spent 20 minutes in the locker room getting the guts to go out there and lift with everyone else.
The beautiful girls with killer active wear can actually be very nice. Don’t judge people by their looks. Pretty does not equal mean, and pretty does not equal confident either. You don’t know what their bodies looked like five years ago or the what they do when they are not at the gym.
Maybe one is a mom of three – go her for those incredible abs! Maybe one is an ER doctor and works the night shift. Maybe one is a single mom struggling to get on from a bad marriage, and the gym floor helps with that fight.
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The woman almost standing on top of you in your group fitness class; maybe she is following your lead because you know what you are doing and she likes to follow you when the instructor walks the room.
The young guy taking too long on the equipment you want? Maybe he gets to the gym twice a week because he is a young dad working three jobs with a baby at home and just needs the extra time to clear his head between sets.
The older people at the gym who love to talk about nothing….. maybe they joined because flexibility is a major key to aging and because they are lonely and the gym provides them with a social outlet.
Talking to you could bring an extra smile to their face because maybe you look like their grandson who lives across the country they hardly see. You will be old, too, one day.
Judging what people wear, how they work out, or how they look is not what the gym is for. Judge the right way, after you get to know them. The gym floor is for everyone to utilize their way. Don’t assume you know why they are there.
Spending more time at the gym focusing on you will pay off in the end. After all, that is why you go and it’s a great addition to the common fitness New Year resolution!