5 lessons I’ve learned from being a regular gym goer…

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…that have nothing to do with fitness everything to do with being part of a healthy community.

I went to my regular Body Balance class last night at the gym. Being a combination of yoga, Pilates and tai chi, it’s a rather zen way to finish the weekend.

The usual people were there, the majority of which I’ve seen in the class often enough in the past year to smile, say hello or have a chat to.

I was thinking back to the New Year, when I turned up as usual only to find double the number of people in the class and no room to swing a yoga mat.

The New Year’s resolutioner’s are long gone now and the regular group, give or take a few, continue to show up on a Sunday afternoon.

And it got me contemplating my acquired status as a regular gym goer.

Which I am now.

It still seems a little odd for me. As if the concept and I don’t match. A bit like the time Chris said we needed to find my sport, and I suggested reading. Those weren’t a match either apparently.

I don’t just have a gym membership (I have two, in fact – a story for another day), but I actually use them.

It turns out that this is where I was going wrong before. One can’t just have a membership and expect to get fit, one must show up. #lessonlearned


Five lessons I’ve learned about being a regular gym goer

Here are five  lessons I’ve learned about being a regular gym goer that have nothing much to do with fitness but everything to do with being part of a healthy community:

  • Lesson #1: I thought it was an urban myth; something coined by women’s magazines and movies, but it turns out to be real. There really are people who go to the gym regularly. As in Most Days and All Year Round. I see them there three to five times a week. When I’m there three to five times a week. I rather like that I’m now “one of these people.”
  • Lesson #2: The aforementioned regular gym goers contribute to what is a rather nice community. I see them there all the time. They see me there all the time. After 16 months, I know many people by name. We nod hello. We smile. We chat. We take the same classes. Some people train with Chris. We commiserate with each other about training with Chris. And we share the wins. The weight loss. The yoga poses. The newly found muscles. There are compliments. It’s a community.
  • Lesson #3: Regular gym goers are very supportive. They are all in there doing their thing and working on their respective health goals. They are not judging. They respect that everyone there has shown up to do something good for their health. Most people are too focused on themselves (rightly so), to pay much attention to others. That said I am often complimented by other members on the weight loss and the changes I’ve made. They also tell Chris how well I’m doing and how good I’m looking. Regular gym goer’s notice and support hard work.
  • Lesson #4: The staff. They know my name. I know their names. They are supportive and friendly and contribute to the community feel and being comfortable in the gym. It’s lovely to have a bit of a chat with them as you go in and out and while you’re there.
  • Lesson #5: I no longer feel self-conscious or uncomfortable in the gym. I feel like I’m part of a community where people are looking after themselves and doing good things for their bodies. I am no longer freaked out about how to work the machines, the equipment or changing up the weights. I feel like I belong. And this makes the overall gym going experience a whole lot better and more rewarding every time I go there. There is a really nice social aspect to it.

Be part of your gym community

If you’re finding it challenging to find joy in your gym going, or you feel uncomfortable being there, give some thought to ways you can start to become part of the regular gym going community.

Talk to the staff and ask for help if you need it. Take some classes. Say hello to people. Smile. Join a gym challenge. Chat to people in the change rooms (ideally not when they are naked, that could be a little weird).

Everyone is there with the same intention; to improve their health and fitness and to do good things for their body and mind.

Just keep showing up.

And remember that you’re lapping everyone on the couch.

  • Bellybreathsofhappyness

    Oh I could not agree more Emma. I’ve been a regular gym goer now for a few years too. It’s a pretty special feeling to be part of a little gym family and you are right that most of them do genuinely care. It’s also such a buzz to get compliments from strangers that have noticed your hard work and progress and have taken the time to let you know how good you are looking. Makes it all worthwhile. I now take the time to compliment others as I know what a boost it gives; gives me back a happy warm feeling too, that I’ve made someone smile. Fx

    • The community really is brilliant – and that’s lovely to hear that you pass the compliments on to others as well, always nice to make someone’s day – very cheering.

  • Bellybreathsofhappyness

    Ps. Love, love, love BB too. Fx

  • chris chesher

    Awesome thread, I like what you mentioned about other regulars congratulating progress. Other gym goers understand the dedication and commitment it takes and therefore are rooting for those in their community. Often people think otherwise.

    • Thanks Chris – I think that’s the myth about what happens in gyms, but rather than being judge-y, people are generally perfectly nice and supportive of other gym goers.