I used to be a gym chicken. I did NOT want to go in a place with all of these “fit” folks. They went there all of the time. They knew each other. For all I knew they went home, slept in a giant bed, and said goodnight to each other “Waltons” style. I was out of shape, the only place I went regularly was Dunkin Donuts, and Tim and I were nothing like the “Waltons.”
I went to the first time at the gym kicking and screaming. I was GOING to hate it. These people were obviously more into pumping iron than reading Yeats. Weren’t they all musclebound numbskulls?
Of course, the first person I make friends with at the gym is a professor of cultural anthropology at Columbia University. She was there every day. Just like so many others. She had at least 14 tee shirts from Columbia and Princeton. I was so jealous, she was gorgeous, fit, AND smart. Before her, I was certain you couldn’t be all three. However, her name is Kris-with a K, so she might be full of krap and just be a Kardashian. (jk, Kris)
It turned out most people WEREN’T there every day. Once, twice a week, TOPS. There wasn’t some sort of underground gym mafia lording over the free-weights and gluing gus behind toilets in the health cafes. The people that were judgy were just like the ones judgy in life outside the gym-asshats. They exist everywhere. Work. School. Gyms. Playgroups. (There are a crapton of them in playgroups!) Most people at the gym are really helpful and encouraging. It’s like a cult where no one kills themselves. Just the opposite, actually. The kool-aid tastes about the same, though. Stevia-arsenic, they both taste like poison.
I got over my gymphobia by asking questions, smiling, and interacting with people. I didn’t hide behind my ipod and magazine, as much as I wanted to. (And sometimes still did.) I went to classes and group runs. It became MY community. Students, professionals,
unemployed actors and comics, cops, and nuns. (for real. my first gym had a group of nuns from Bulgaria.) The power of Christ compelled their behinds to get their hineys to the gym. By the way they worked out, you’d swear they were Opus Dei trying to punish themselves. Love those nuns with guns. (yes, I bought two tickets to their gun show.)
I love that there’s a group of people I can always depend on to kick my ass and I don’t have to go down a dark alley or pay some lady named “Madame Helga” to do it. The outfits aren’t as fun, though. You COULD work out in latex, but you’d have a hard time getting it off. I guess that’s where Helga would come in handy.
Do you belong to a gym? Do you like the people there?
yes and YES. Even naked huggers.
What is the place you go most frequently other than work and home?