Gym Defensiveness

Tonight I took a BFiit class at Best Fitness. It was only my second time taking it, the first being on a cardio endurance day that made me question my life choices.

You know what I find? The idea that because I’m a former fitness instructor I get the feeling that others feel I shouldn’t complain about workouts. I should love absolutely everything. Let me tell you something: I don’t. I hate assault bikes. I hate rowing. I hate straight cycling classes. I think aerobics and Zumba is silly. Guess what though? I’ll probably do ALL of these things numerous times before I die because they’re good for me and I believe any movement, even things I deem as “silly” is better than none.

Now, my current physique is one that where you can tell that I work out, but you may not peg me for a former or current fitness instructor. I remember when I first started instructing classes years ago; I felt chubby and judged. I felt like others who looked more in shape than me were wondering what I could possibly do for them. Part of that was my own insecurity talking but likely some of them truly were looking at me that way. Then I went from feeling chubby to be quite slim – if you ask my fiancée, too slim.  People would listen to me if I told them that, if they wanted to lose weight, eat a Five Guys burger every day and watch the fat melt right off. Seriously. Because I looked the way that I did they’d take my word for it and head for the burgery. (Yeah, I made that word up!)

It’s important not to judge. Fit does look different on everyone. Someone who is fit in body may not be fit in mind – and, in my case, that was totally me when I was super slim. My mental health was failing and from a more sane, stable standpoint now, two years later, I can look back and say I was one hair away from a mental breakdown. What kept me going was sheer adrenaline, caffeine and my dogged stubbornness that others shall not see me fail or give up. Those who cared knew where I was at and wouldn’t leave me be, even though I wanted them to. Those who no longer matter didn’t care but, instead, used my quick exit from fitness as a reason to talk about me behind my back to tear me down. I hope they don’t experience the tough choices I had to make and the heartbreak I experienced. I made it but who knows if they would.

It’s just so important not to judge. After class tonight, I was walking behind another lady to the locker room. Let’s call her “Sharon”. She is older than me, taller and heavier than me, but I have no way of knowing if she is a beginner to exercising or not. She expressed that the class was very hard and I agreed that it was definitely challenging. I recommended a foam roller and another class participant chimed in that she should take some Tylenol for muscle soreness. Sharon became defensive and said she does Beachbody on Demand on the regular and that she’s no stranger to exercise and soreness. She was more defensive toward the other woman and conceded that her Beachbody program does recommend foam rolling but that she hasn’t bought one. (It’s a commonly overlooked part of exercise after-care.)

Man…I could relate to Sharon’s feelings that we were judging her based on her appearance. I can’t speak for Tylenol lady but I know I was just tossing out some self-love. Class was hard and everyone will likely be sore – no matter their fitness level. But Sharon was clearly irked and went on to say she’s lost 60 lbs. on her own by doing Beachbody, as if she had to defend herself to prove she belonged in class with us. Nobody has to prove anything, but I remember what it was like to feel I needed to fight for my label as a fitness person or athlete. I remember being harsher on myself than likely anyone was being toward me. I hope Sharon moves past that and embraces herself at whatever level she’s at and compares it to where she began and is super proud of herself. Because that’s what matters – not someone else’s view of where you are by what you may look like.

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