Every time I walk into the gym I of course grab my head phones, gloves and my water bottle before tossing my bag in a locker. I grab a mat and sit down to stretch before every workout. As the very observant person that I am, I take a look around. It's a gym, you just see people working out right? Well, yes, but do you ever stop and think about why each person is there working out?
There's the guy that everyone might look at as the meat head just because he is super fit and built like an ox. He shows up everyday like clock work getting the best out of every rep. Which by the way, even if that type of thing isn't exactly your cup of tea, appreciate the dedication. That very muscular and chiseled physique that some people tend to roll their eyes at, takes a lot of time and hard work.
Aside from Mr. muscles on the chest press, I see a tall, younger girl. Probably early 20's and a whopping 110 pounds soaking wet. I see her doing her best to squat just the bar. I think to myself, “good for you.” I can't help but to think she is here with that “I'm going to show them attitude.” 90 percent of the time, girls like her get tired of hearing how they look like a stick or they are going to blow away if they don't eat more. So clearly this girl isn't here to lose weight. I think it's safe to say she wants to gain some and build some shape.
Over on the stationary bikes, I see a man who is easily 300 pounds and pouring sweat. He struggles with every cycle. He may not be working out because he cares what his body looks like, but because he wants to save his life. The dangers for people who struggle with obesity are terrifying. Finally taking control of your life and your health is one of the best decisions you can ever make.
So what's the moral of this story? Fitness doesn't mean the same thing to everyone but no one's journey in particular is any less meaningful than another. As terrible as it is, I see people that laugh at people that are overweight in the gym. Skinny girls get told all the time they shouldn't work out because they are already “too thin.” Newsflash, skinny and fit are not the same thing. I remember a time in my life when I was “skinny” but couldn't run to catch my mailman without feeling like I had a lung collapse. More than anything I see people bashing body builders. People say they weight lift because they're vain, and only care about what they look like, which in my opinion, is farthest from the truth.
A lot of people think of fitness and start picturing guys that are ripped to shreds. While that is a form of physical fitness, it's not the only one. Being fit doesn't always mean having boulders for biceps. To some, it means being physically able to accomplish other activities in life other than lifting weights. For instance, going on vacation to the mountains and actually enjoy going on a hike. For some it's being able to keep up with their kids and being active parent, being able to play football with your son or gymnastics with your daughter.
Take a minute to stop think about what all these people have in common. Goals. No matter how diverse they may be, each and every one of them are working towards goals that they have personally set for themselves. They have all made a decision to make a change in their life and that alone deserves the utmost respect. For most people, getting started is the hardest part. Whether you are striving to lose 5 pounds or 100, prepping for a show, training for a race, or just want to be healthy, be proud of yourself and your journey, every step of the way.
Find what fuels your motivation and hold on to it. Don't let other people's expectations of being fit make you stray away from achieving the things you want in life. Whether you you spend 3 hours everyday in the gym or 30 minutes a day running through your neighborhood, get out and do what ever your heart desires, simply because you can do just that. Take control of your life, get active, be healthy and live your life by your own standards.
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