Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hey Stranger.......Gym with Me.

Dear Stranger,

Happy New Year. 2014 has a nice ring to it, 'eh?? 
I do not know what your name is. I don't know how much you weigh. I don't know if you're a retired Olympic athlete, or if you've never owned a pair of running shoes. I don't care if you're wearing lulu lemon, or if you borrowed your boyfriend's t-shirt. You may spend countless hours on the treadmill, do pilates, lift small Buicks or do yoga- whatever floats your fitness boat.
I know that your hands are shaking and your heart is pounding in your ears before you even touch the treadmill. Your skin is stinging because it feels as if every single eye is on you. 
This is you first day in the gym. 
Maybe you're in great shape, but just want to get extra exercise in.
Maybe you're 100 pounds overweight.
Maybe you've had an injury that's prevented exercise.
Maybe you've lost and gained and lost and gained and are stuck on that crazy cycle.
Maybe this is the 10th time you've had your 'first time' in the gym.

It's not easy to get to the gym. There's a gym membership to purchase, childcare to arrange, trying to remember to pack your tennis shoes before work. Work schedules, school schedules, social schedules-- they all conflict with the hours the gym is open. 

I'm writing you this letter because on top of all these cards that are stacked against your best efforts and intentions, there's an even greater discouragement. 
They're called 'gym rats'. They float through the gym with keen precision, they know every machine, they have every supplement, they have the body you wish you had.
They may float- but they are not angels. In between their sets they talk behind their gloves to each other "all these fake gym rats won't make it until Valentine's Day." 

('gymrats'................before you get your knickers in a knot and throw a barbell at me-- you're not all rude and spiteful people. I consider myself to be a gymrat of sorts. 9 out of 10 of you are awesome and amazing. Unfortunately the good get shuffled in with the bad when we use labels. If you're reading this and you're offended- you're probably the 1 I'm talking about.)

That message?? NOT OKAY. 

Do you know who REALLY needs a separate gym?? If you can't see past the end of your bulging bicep to recall the day when you yourself were there for the first time.........YOU need your own gym. (I'm not team-anti-big-biceps; I happen to have a set of my own, so I'm not hating on you. But get your ugly little thoughts out while you're curling, NOT while you're observing the swarms of new faces in your gym.)  

Because the thing is-- going to the gym is about being the best you you can possible be. We workout to improve our health, escape stress, for fun and to increase our self-discipline. It's hard work and working towards our goals take sacrifice. Here's the kicker-- if you're sacrificing your ability to be kind and loving to others......problemo. 
Gym time is our 'me-time', but if your version of 'me-time' equals zero f's given to anyone else in the world, that's a part of 'me' I hope to never get in touch with. 
#fitness #inspiration #fitspo
So stranger, I've worn your shoes. I know they pinch and rub and blisters form, but you'll work up callouses and they'll cease to be painful.
And candidly-- I re-wear those awkward 'first time' gym shoes on the reg. After a week of skipped workouts and 2 or 3 dozen doughnuts, they are the only footwear available.
They aren't so much the shoes of being new in an unfamiliar place.............they are the shoes of saying 'I want to change, and I want to be better' and admitting that there is room for change is acknowledging that we currently feel in a state of some level of inadequacy or failure.

Also-- here's the good news. There are some AMAZING people at the gym. For every gym rat that makes you feel uncomfortable, there are a dozen there individuals who will cheer you on.  People are going to say rude things, they are going to give nasty glances and make you feel worse than you already feel about yourself. I wish I could change that- but I can't. All I can do is say HEY--- ignore the haters.
Seriously-- please don't let their lack of character ruin your day.

If we're in the gym together- I hope you feel welcome.
I hope you come up to me and ask for advice-- preferably in between sets -- not because I know everything but because we can learn from each other.
I hope you notice that I smiled at you when you looked my way. 
I hope you notice that I have cellulite, my arms jiggle and I have more than one chin, because I'm not here to be perfect, I'm here to be better today than I was yesterday.
I hope you know that you're amazing and bad-ass and if you show up in the gym once this year or 365 times-- you won't regret it. 
I hope that we can be friends and that someday this year we can grab coffee or see a movie together because there is so much more to life than the gym. 

May your squats be deep and your miles be speedy in 2014!!
xoxo The Curly Pink Runner