The Dark and Light Sides of the Gym

The gym is a peculiar place. Everyone is there for the same reason but what brings them there differs. Some is for weight loss, bulking up, staying in shape, health problems, staying active, etc. As a people watcher, which I am founded in doing so, as I identify with being a sociologist (and Amy Blackstone would agree), the gym is a great place to see a variety of types of people.

Some of those people are annoying, and when I originally was at the gym, thinking about writing this blog, I had been reminded by a lot of the “bros” I see at the gym (look up this term if you don’t know it). Although through my journey, part of making progress is trying to be less judgemental, I find myself being more judgemental when it comes to health, fitness, and nutritional type things, but I am working on it, and it is with good intention.

Most of my annoyance comes with the people at the gym who feel self-entitled. Self-entitlement has always been a huge pet-peeve of mine, and I feel as if it is a huge problem. An interesting (sociological) observation about wiping down weight machines when done was founded about a week and a half ago. Through my random sample of about 20, MEN DO NOT WIPE DOWN THE MACHINES WHEN THEY ARE DONE. I have seen probably a good split of 10 and 10, and every single female who uses the weight circuit brings the towel with them and wipes it down, but gentlemen do not – not a single one of them. What is it about being courteous and wiping down the machine full of your sweat escapes you!? This has been my pet peeve at the gym for the last week and a half. Today was also annoying because the gym hosts birthday parties, so there were parents and kids just standing on the track as I was trying to run – which seems socially obvious not to do. ANYWAYS, there are a plethora of people who are discourteous at the gym – but I do a relatively good job ignoring them (even the guy who was running in the wrong direction on the track today!)

BUT, as I was annoyed with several people at the gym today, I was finishing up my workout on the elliptical, and I saw a man who was struggling to get onto the treadmill. He was a larger and middle-aged man who looked like he had been in some sort of accident – his legs looked pretty beat up for some reason. I’m not sure what exactly, but watching him struggle, but get on the treadmill and work on it at the speed he could for the last half hour the gym was open was really inspring to me. It made me stop whining in my head about how hard my workout was because there was no way it was harder than it was for him, and he was doing what he could. It reminded me of all of the people on Extreme Makeover : WLE who have huge barriers to losing their weight and gaining their health back, and that is the kind of thing that keeps me going on tough days. He could be sitting at home, self-victimizing himself – which I think so many people do as a way to inhibit their growth in many ways , not just their health (I actually feel strong about this and will post a blog about it in the future)

So, the gym is full of different experiences, some are frustrating, but everyone has a different story. I really wanted to walk up to that man and tell him he was inspiring and to keep up the great work, but I am socially awkward and it probably would have sounded offensive, but I will remember that man the next time I am whining about how difficult my workout is.

On days like this, it reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, which I will post just after this 🙂

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