I know, I know, you were hoping I’d give an update on the gym. You probably looked at your computer just this morning and offered up a silent prayer, “let today be the day Beth updates me on the gym.” Well, here it is – the long anticipated (sometimes known as “not anticipated at all, oh dear God, I hope she doesn’t ask if I read it”) gym update.
I may have mentioned (“may” because I’m not going to re-read my first gym post – I’m like you, I don’t want to read my stuff either) that initially going to the gym was intimidating. I’m a big girl. A big girl who had done research on gyms by Googling things like “best gym for fat people,” which gave results that showed exactly how disgusted (and vocal) some people were when it came to obese people at the gym. Those Google results quickly ended my search/desire to join a gym for a couple of years. I didn’t want to be the fat girl people would sneer at for having waited too long to address my issue. Thankfully, and with the help of a co-worker, I got over that. (Well, over it enough that I can continue to go to the gym and not worry about what everyone else is thinking (on most days)). I’m told, I’m not actually at the forefront of everyone’s minds when I enter a room. My take away is: I need to step-up my entrances, clearly they’re too bland.
I’m now on seven months of regularly going to the gym. I go five days a week before work. I was that person who was there on Thanksgiving Day, and I would have been there Christmas morning, but I was told that gym folks like their holidays, too. I can count on one hand the number of days I’ve missed, and those have mostly been due to things like holidays or that time I had a cold, and figured it would be kind not to gross the gym universe out or spread germs. I’m now stronger. I’m slightly smaller; however, that said, I have a long ways to go. I have bad habits that still need to be addressed. Hey, I didn’t get here by snacking on jicama and lettuce leaves. Who knows, in a couple of years I may post before and after photos where you can say, “I definitely see a difference” versus if I were to post them now and you’d be left with, “Is this the before? Or is this is the after? Before? Or after? I think I see it. I mean yeah, I totally see it. Ummm… How about those Longhorns? Huh?”
My one gym regret is I didn’t start sooner. Oh, and that I allowed the negative posts to impact me in the way they did. I really let them get in my head. (Truth be told, they’re still in my head. They’re just a little more muted.) That held me back far too long. In fact, when I find myself getting too worked up about it, which happens less and less frequently, I take a note from my trainer – I look around the room and ask myself, “are there people in better shape than you?” Of course. “Are there people in worse shape?” Well, now that I’ve opened my eyes a bit, yes. “You’re not the best nor are you the worst, you’re just one person among many who is working on themselves.”
If I could magically go back in time, I’d show myself all the support I continuously received. The times I’m wearing my Flash t-shirt (because I’m really fast – no wait, I think it’s because I love irony) and Debbie (because now I have gym friends) has shouted, “GOOD MORNING, GORGEOUS!!! You’re looking great!” The times I’ve had trainers stop me and say, “you’re doing so good; I’m impressed with how hard you work. Keep it up!” The times I’ve had people stop me and ask about my routine and my training. In fact recently a woman came up and said, “hi, my friend and I have been watching you to get ideas about how to improve our workout, and I wanted to stop by and tell you that you’re an inspiration.” I was literally blown away. Me? An inspiration? She didn’t seem drunk and there wasn’t any obvious snickering. I was so taken aback and flattered; I think I smiled all day. I had one woman tell her trainer while pointing at me, “I want to be like her.” I was covered in sweat, hair plastered to my face (in other words looking gorgeous) doing my chipper (an evil thing). “She’s always has a smile on her face and is happy to be here.” I tried to explain, between stepping up on a stool and wheezing “I’m an idiot, I actually don’t know any better,” but inside I thought how cool it was that I could present a cheerful image, one that people aspired to be more like, while simultaneously wanting to face plant on the mat. Clearly, I’m a multi-tasker with a big, goofy grin on my face!
Maybe I’m just lucky, but I’ve truly met some of the nicest, kindest, and most encouraging people at the gym who keep me going – whom I look forward to seeing each weekday. The intimidating horror show I had braced myself for turned out to be a welcoming environment. And I want to put my post out there for anyone who is overweight, and has concerns about being judged when they walk through that door. The gym can actually be an inviting place, and the longer you go and become familiar with it and the regulars, the more you’ll find it can be a place filled with encouragement, friendship, and even inspiration. There are definitely gyms out there that are designed for people who are pretty hardcore, and there will always be judgmental people, but there are also just as many gyms, if not more, that cater to a broader range of body types/abilities – with people just like you. Walk in, walk around, and then really look at everyone there. You’ll likely find you’re not alone.
(I type these warm thoughts while simultaneously thinking, “I will cut that couple tomorrow if they hog the rowing machines again.” Realizing “cut” in Beth is really “seriously stink-eye” while muttering fussily, “oh, come on!!!” Hey, the gym can be a fairly cut-throat place and the rowing machines are prime real estate at 5:30am on a Monday. Also, it turns out your trainer will not beat up row machine hogs. She claims it’s not a thing. Hmph.)