Hi. You don’t know me and I don’t know you. Still, I have been watching you.
Not in a creepy way! Just noticing you and praying for you. See, I know how hard it is to walk into a gym. Everybody looks like the cover models for Men’s Health or Women’s Fitness. TTTH. Tanned. Toned. Totally hot. It is enough to make even the most confident among us hide in the locker room.
I am going to tell you a secret. The hardest part of working out is wading through the masses of beautiful people. A word of caution- don’t gaze upon their beauty to long. You might start feeling inferior. Just hold your head up high. Look straight ahead and walk to the machine you have chosen.
Ask for help when you need it. You actually draw more attention to yourself trying to wing it on your own. In the off chance that you fall off the rowing machine, just remember to laugh. Roll over. Get back up and try it again. Next time use those foot straps. That is what they are for.
Some folks might be snotty. Hostile even. As though you are Satan himself because you are on “their” treadmill. People get weird about that kind of thing. They spend a lot of time on a machine. Sweating, praying. A kind of relationship develops. The person wants it to be exclusive, not realizing the machine is just doing it’s job. Nothing personal. So when Mr. Biceps or Miss Ab’s see you on “their” machine, it is only natural they feel irritated. Don’t take it personally. In a few months from now you may be having a one-sided relationship of your own.
Stop pulling on your clothes dear. It makes you stand out. Wear clothes that fit. Not clothes you wish would fit. Trust me. You will feel better if you can move in your pants. Same with shirt. A misguided error of those who weigh more than average is that by wearing form fitting clothing one looks smaller. It’s a myth. I know. Pick nice clothes that are flattering on you. Not the “Biggest Loser Fantasy” you.
Remember, it isn’t high school. It’s a gym. You are there to work out. Not to be “seen”. No one is looking at you. They are busy. Working out and worrying if someone is looking at them.
Don’t be a hater. Yes there are incredible humans crawling all over the gym. Gorgeous. A few were born with it. Most have worked for it. Be happy for them. If you can’t be gracious on your own, pray for God to help you.
Don’t envy. Thou shall not covet the neighbors pec’s. Nor glutes. Nor ab’s. Focus on being healthy. Not looking like _____. You are not a number on a scale. Your life in not measured by inches lost or gained. You are God’s beloved creation. His masterpiece.
Keep coming. In a few weeks, you will be sore. Maybe a little or a lot discouraged. Not to mention the droning questions from well meaning, and not so well meaning, friends and family members. For some reason, when people find out you go to a gym, they always ask the same question- “How much weight have you lost?” As though, just by signing the contract you automatically loose five pounds as a bonus!
Don’t slap them. I know it would feel really good, but don’t. Pity them instead. They have bought into our culture’s obsession with numbers. Which is ridiculous and dangerous. Take a deep breath and say “I am focused on being healthy. Not numbers.” It is okay to sound a little superior when you say this. You have my permission. This will either end or seriously curb their obsession with your progress.
The most important thing to remember is to be grateful. Thank God you can move. Pray as you run. Exercise can be a spiritual discipline. A chance to be mentally quiet and still while moving. Worship.