Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Beginners in the gym

I read this on Steve in a Speedo the other day and thought I'd pass it on, even though I don't go to the gym. I'm a "resolutionist" and am sticking to my guns!

Here's a note I recently saw that helps put the "New Year's crowd" at the gym in perspective. It was written and posted by "Marmadaddy" in a BeginnerTriathlete forum. Marmadaddy is one of BTs site administrators. Here's what he had to say:

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We're endurance athletes. We train all year not only outside, but also at the gym and the pool. We can expect some serious crowding in both places for the next few weeks. It happens every year.

Suddenly we have to add 30 minutes to our scheduled gym time because of the "resolutionists". There are no parking places. When you do manage to find one and get to the locker room 10 minutes behind schedule, there aren't any lockers available and the door is blocked by someone trying to remember the way to the weight room. In there, the machines you need to use are all occupied by people in new track suits pushing too much weight with truly horrible form. The bubbler is blocked by someone who is trying hard not to look totally out of their element. You can't get in the pool because it's jammed with people using pull buoys on their arms and kickboards as flotation devices. Half the lanes have people with no goggles and baggy swim trunks down to their knees who can't swim an entire lap.

The whole freakin' place is filled with...with...


It's one of my favorite sights. I've never been in a place more full of hope than a gym during the first week of January. It's a place full of people giving action to their dreams. People who for that day are making an effort to be fit, to improve themselves, to live a better quality of life. The effort and courage it takes them to get there that morning is huge. It certainly exceeds what it takes me. I know where everything is. I know the pool etiquette. I know what my workout is going to be and how to use the machines. I'm not the least bit embarrassed to take my shirt off in the locker room. This is routine for me. These new people will be showing a lot of courage and determination by going to the gym in the next few weeks and they'll deserve my respect. They'll get it.

It wasn't that long ago that I was one of them. During the next few weeks I'll be making an effort to help some of these people feel a little less uncomfortable. Maybe make eye contact with some of them, be ready to give a nod or say hello.

Once we're halfway into February, the crowds will be gone. Parking will be easy. Machines will be available again. The wait at the pool will go away. We know this. We're endurance athletes. We know the reward that comes from sticking through the hard parts.

And from helping others through them.

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