Today I was fortunate to spend some time with a friend, a gym friend. We met when we worked out at the same gym. We are very unlikely friends. For one thing he is a man, for another he is a lot younger than I am making our friendship unique. It started like most gym friendship, with the words, “Hey, I see you here all the time.” It got me to thinking about the other side of the gym scene, the side no one talks about, the social side of working out.
I have read time and time again about workouts geared for those that want to avoid the gym. I find it puzzling since I love the gym. I know, not everyone loves the gym. But I think people make judgements regarding a gym membership centered around false information.
1. You need to be fit in go to the gym- False. The gym is the place to get fit! That’s why people are there. When I first started working out at my current gym I was 20 lbs heavier and 28% body fat. At my gym, there are people at all fitness levels and all age groups.
2. The gym is filled with gym rats and meat heads- False: The gym is filled with people from all walks of life. Teenagers to senior citizens are working out at the gym.
3. I don’t feel comfortable working out in front of other people: There is much to be gained working out with other,r even if don’t know each other. You find great inspiration and motivation by working out along side other people. You push yourself to the next level. You also have opportunities to inspire others.
The socialization part of the gym is overlooked. I have greatly benefited from knowing my gym family. Some of them, I only see at the gym. Some of them, I have relationships with on Facebook and see socially outside of cardio time. We are great supports of each others progress. Because we are all in this together, we cheer for each other in our quest for a healthier life. Many, many times I have had strangers approach me and tell me they have watched my success happening. After that moment, we are no longer strangers. Some of us, know about each others families or outside interests. We are a group, a club, a family of fitness lovers.
We care about each others well-being. I have the privilege to work out with many senior citizens. Frankly, if one of my older buddies hasn’t been around for a while I get concerned. I worry about them. One day, a fellow AM lifter approached me to tell me our older friend was having some health issue. He had been hospitalized. I was grateful to know. Thankfully, our older friend made a full recovery and upon his return he had a greeting of well wishers.
I can’t imagine my life without my gym friends. I have girlfriends that have held my hand when I have cried. I have guy friends that give me advice like big brothers. Others, we simply exchange fitness, and diet information. For me, my gym family is a great source of support. They have all enriched my life in so many ways and it has nothing to do with fitness.
The other day, I was talking to my older gym buddy, he is in his 80’s. Bless his heart, I just love him. He said to me, “Everyone one here knows sweet Sue, and that’s not a bad thing.” It made me smile. I walked away hoping that I enrich all of their lives like they do mine. If you ever thought the gym is not the place for you, think again. You will be surprised at what you find there.