Do you remember the very first time you ever visited a gym? A hot, (kinda) smelly, people-filled gym? I do; I remember it like it was yesterday. 2008, the Rec Center at Texas Tech University.
I spent the whole first semester of college depressed about my body. I was just a little loser freshman, surrounded by beautiful college girls, who obviously had their shit together (or so I thought). Everyone in my dorm was skinny, everyone in my sorority was skinny, everywhere I looked everyone was skinny. Looking back on it now, I realize how absolutely ridiculous and distorted my thinking was, but that’s what happens when you hate your body.
After some serious soul searching and being sick and tired of feeling miserable, I convinced myself to give working out a try.
How bad could it be? Everyone, and their dog, does it. Surely I can figure out how to work at least one machine at the Rec; I’m not an idiot…
It was 2 o’clock in the afternoon; and I was pedaling away on a stationary bike. No resistance, no nothin’…I had no clue wtf I was doing. Five minutes later, a
girl monster was standing beside me, looking at me like she wanted to kill me. I stopped mid-pedal.
“Um hi, I just wanted to let you know that you’re on my bike,” the
girl monster announced.
I slowly slid off the bike (wanting to crawl in a hole and hide), and walked straight back to the dorm.
Waste of my freakin’ time…
A week later, I gave it another try. I braved the Elliptical, hoping to avoid the bike nazi. I hopped on, put my hands on the handles, and tried to mimic what the girl next to me was doing. FAIL. There I was…second try, second fail; I had no hope.
As I made my way down the stairs and out the door, a girl stopped me. She claimed to have seen me try two different machines, and then quit (see ya later, pride). To my surprise, the girl offered to help me. She took me back to the evil Elliptical, taught me how to work it, and then left me her number in case I ever needed a workout partner. The girl was not a trainer, and she didn’t work at the Rec; she was just a girl willing to help a struggling sista out.
I’m fairly certain that girl has no idea how she impacted my life. But because of her, I was able to conquer my fear of the gym; and we all know how that turned out…five and a half years later with my own fitness blog.
Unfortunately, with the rise in fitness fads, the bike-nazi bitches are more prevalent than ever. You know who they are; the Fitness Snobs. They look at you like you’re crazy if you get within 10 feet of their mirror space; and their nose is so far up in the air you can see their brain? Yep, those people.
Instead of happily welcoming a newcomer, they complain on Facebook claiming the “Resolutioners” are killing their vibe and hogging the equipment. Well, no wonder you only see beefed-up, perfectly-sculpted people in the gym; it’s like a party only perfect people attend. Although we’re all invited, we’re not all welcome.
While the “Newbies” and “Resolutioners” may stick out like sore thumbs with their sparkling, new gym wear, there’s no excuse for Fitness Snobbery. They made an effort to get their ass to the gym just like I did five and a half years ago. They may not have a clue what they’re doing, but they’re trying. And even though 75 percent of them may never show their face in the gym again after February, a simple smile and nod goes a long way. Because more often than not, they’re looking up to you.
No one ordained any of us Fitness King or Queen; and no one likes a snob. So next time you see someone struggling in the gym, think about how you would feel in their shoes. You never know, you might just change someone’s life like that girl changed mine.