I’m overwhelmed by the people who could ever judge anyone at a gym. That’s like judging a sinner at church. Just because someone joins a gym (or attends church for that matter), doesn’t mean they know everything there is to know to make the changes they need to make. That’s why they are there (duh!).
People are on a journey. Joining a gym is the first step, not the last step. THEN the journey begins. While I’ve personally never heard anyone make fun of someone who was overweight in a gym, I know it has happened somewhere, and it is a very real fear. Ironically, I probably see more people judging the fit people, like the power lifters, bodybuilders, NPC female athletes, yogis and CrossFitters for their extreme practices – but either way, there is no place for any of it in ANY gym.
If we compare the gym with the church, I think we all may be able to see things a bit differently. No matter where someone is in life, most people go to church because they know they need help. They know they need to make some changes, and showing up to church once a week is a start. Just because they go, doesn’t mean they change overnight. Even people who go to church still have junk to workout at home. It’s not like everyone who starts going to church immediately stops smoking, cussing, being selfish and making poor choices. No, making those types of improvements takes time. Over time, the people around them should start seeing their efforts to improve, and poor decisions should start shrinking like a dieter’s waistline.
The same goes for the gym. People can join a gym and learn a few tips here and there, but it takes time to accept it and apply it. I’ve had members who have been with me for YEARS who have been fed good advice for a long time, but weren’t willing to accept and apply it for a while. Does this make them a hypocrite, since they go to the gym but aren’t living healthy at home? No. It makes them a learner. Some learn the hard way, some learn the easy way – both are learning.
Sadly, people often go to the other extreme, making fun of the people who have applied all the principles and are completely “religious” about their fitness. They too can be an easy target of scrutiny. It’s the Super Member (like the Super Christian) that can be intimidating to be around, or be a turn off, because of their seemingly extreme ways.
Today, I’d like you to make a pact with yourself to try to put all judgement aside. We don’t know what people are going through personally. We don’t know people’s issues, or reasons for dieting, working out, or competing in fitness events. Sculpting their body may be the ONLY thing in their life they have control of – which may be their only sanity. There are also many reasons someone works out besides their looks. Some people do 2 hours of cardio a day because they have a tremendous amount of stress at home and they need to healthy social escape. The list goes on.
There are others who you may view as people who are “pretending” to do everything right but they haven’t lost a pound. Someone who has been a member of a gym for years and hasn’t dropped a pound is no different than someone who has attended church for years and still continues to sin. We should CELEBRATE they are still coming!! While we may not understand someone’s gym (or church) rituals or quirks, as long as they keep going, they have a chance to be impacted by the people around them. Some people are impacted easily, while others are stubborn and take time. Either way, we have to learn to love them where they are, just as I hope you love me where I am.
Let’s work together to build each other up no matter where we are on our fitness journey. Remember, EVERYONE started as a newbie – everyone! If you are further on your fitness journey, then encourage people around you, teaching them what you have learned – and never, ever, EVER give up on anyone, especially your self!