I know it’s the holiday season, but I really refuse to sugar-coat what I am about to write. This may or may not be posted. I’m never sure. But, I can guarantee you that, it’ll be worth the time to write and even more worth the time to read.
We live in a world, right now, and probably, always, that judges anything and anyone. Almost a year ago, I wrote a piece about the upcoming New Year’s Resolutioners coming to your local gyms, taking up machines and weights, and being what might be a nuisance to some of you. In the year that has passed, and as social media venues have heightened with their traffic and success, I have noticed a common occurrence; ego, judgment, self-righteousness, self-glorification, etc. It absolutely disgusts me. Here’s the kicker, most of you are probably thinking that my last statement is directed to the people that live the “fit life”, the ones that hold onto a 6-pack year round, the ones who, no matter what, will go to the gym and train… In actuality, it’s all just as prominent in the community of “inactive” people as it is in the active one. Again, it is disturbing to me.
Get Over Yourself
I admit, when I know that I train hard, when I am consistent in my training and eating better, I feel a sense of self-empowerment. But, this does not warrant the acts of belittling someone who does not do the same thing that I do, or live the way that I live. The empowerment comes from knowing that I chose to make a difference in my life. It means that I chose to pay closer attention to myself and what I need to do to become a better person. I don’t care how shredded you are, if you’re an asshole, you’re an asshole. Too often, fitness activists become engulfed with themselves to the point that they breath in and out, ego, as though they have never been THAT person at the gym who are just getting started in what could be the most frightening journey of their lives… Yet, there you are… laughing and making stupid comments on how they “don’t belong” or that they “have no idea what they are doing” or “look how fat/skinny they are”. There’s a trending movement that happens now, called Throwback Thursday and Transformation Tuesday. Why don’t you, Mr./Miss God’s Gift To Fitness, dig up one of those “before I ever knew wtf the gym was” pics, and tell us all how you were no different than that brave person that is starting on Day 1, that you are judging. That’s what I thought.
As a fitness and health professional, which the MAJORITY of the self-proclaimed fitness fanatics are NOT, I understand what my job, or my passion, rather, is. That is to uplift, motivate, inspire, help, guide, praise, and congratulate those around me that are trying and doing what it takes to improve their everyday life by utilizing exercise and nutrition. They may not want to get on a stage to compete against their peers. They may not want arms or legs like mine or an ass like J-Lo or that Kardashian chick. Maybe they just want to feel better knowing that they chose to do something different with their time. maybe they were told by a doctor, who confirmed what that person already knew, that unless they begin to be more physically active, irreversible problems will occur, and now is the time to be proactive. Maybe they just want the self-esteem to be higher, so that they can just function at a normal rate every day. You have to respect that. You have to acknowledge that with a high five, a chest bump, a pat on the back, a “good job!”, or even a look and a nod. That’s all. Instead of being the monster that breaks people down, that discourages, and judges, try being that beacon of light for someone that shows the way, that gives a complete stranger a sense of acceptance, a sense of approval, a sense of pride… Be that person that, at the end of the day, that person, whether on Day 1 or Day 100, will remember you for that gesture that made all the difference in their success. The rewards, for both people, are endless, and it begins a domino effect that reaches farther than it would have had you said nothing at all. The whole thing reminds me of Jekyl & Hyde, or better– Sherman Klump & Buddy Love.
Don’t Project It
Oh, but wait… To those that are not as active or active, at all… the ones who scoff at a person’s “obsession” with the gym, with their Tupperware and Ziploc meals, and their proteins, and their macros– the same goes for you. Understand that that person, who you see at the store, muscles bursting from their shirt, or sweat drenched runner shorts and tank tops, chose their path when faced with the same exact choices you, yourself face, daily. The only difference is, they made the choice and committed to it. Their intention was not to become so physically fit that you when you see them, you hate them. Their intention wasn’t to become so dedicated to their choice that it makes you insecure about yourself. Trust me, their intention is merely to do what makes them happy, what makes them feel good. The same choice you can, very well, make for yourself, but refuse to. Yes, fitness and health fanatics post pictures to their Instagram and Facebook walls. Yes, they consistently inform the world that they are about to go or just went “beast mode” in the gym or on the trail. Yes, they post pictures of what seems to be the same old meal every day, and follow it up with 26 different hashtags as a call of the wild to those of the like. But, not for one second should you– you that laugh and turn your nose up in disgust because a woman has too much muscle and no longer looks feminine (bull@*%!) or the guy that has so many muscles that you never thought muscles in places you haven’t seen existed, or how that runner who is rail thin looks sick and you think it’s foolish for anyone to run 60 miles a week, and you think they need a basket of biscuits because they don’t look “sturdy”… Don’t think for a minute or a second that they do not face the same hardships as you, or face the same self-image issues as you might, or the same negative barrage of attacks that you do, whether you hear them or not. They do. Trust me. They get as much crap about their choice of life that you do about yours or lack of.
Stay The Course, Your Course
I have a very well-known friend who, despite her obsession with “girly” things, who still bursts with femininity in everything she does, faces the backlash of the public, the crass words of onlookers that don’t agree with her choice of life, all because, in her ever glorious womanhood, has more muscle than the “average” female. I saw this woman cry when she spoke about the way it used to make her feel. I saw her heart break as she read some of the comments made through social media, and even with all of her success in what she has set out to do, she still faces these negatives. But, like you have chosen to sit there on your throne of judgment, still, she has chosen to stay her selected course, despite some of the horrid things thrown at her. It goes both ways.
Do not bash a person who may have been just like you or worse. Understand their struggle and use that as a building block and a motivation pieceof inspiration for yourself to take that first step (and then the next, and then more, forward?). No, you do not have to be the best looking at the gym. No, you do not have to be the fittest or even the healthiest in the building… You just have to be happy, man. You have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and accept that changes are always required for growth and improvement. That goes for your health and in life, period. There seems to be comfort zone that we easily find ourselves in, not by choice, but by familiarity We rest there with a standard expectation, a sense of order, always asking what if, but never going past that, because of fear of the unknown. Those people that you say are crazy for being so dedicated to their health or physical fitness, was once in that same comfort bubble. One day, after realizing that it can be accomplished because they read a story or followed some person on social media who shared a similar story to their own, who made it clear that, with hard work, an “I can” attitude, and one day at a time timeframe, inspired them.
Where Is YOUR Starting Line?
The bottom line is that we all start somewhere. The choices that we make are what sets us apart, but not to be apart but to be a part. A part of something greater. A part of something bigger. We were formed to need community. That’s why we have schools, gatherings, office buildings, restaurants, and, yes, even gyms. They are all places where people of all walks collaborate to achieve similar goals. No matter what, unfortunately, there will always be those who are so insecure with themselves, that they find false pleasure in tearing others down. For the physically fit, if you do this, you are not mentally healthy or fit. For the not so physically fit or healthy, if you do this, you, too, are not mentally healthy or fit. Wow, look at that– another common.