Picture this: a gym full of sweaty people, working their tails off for one reason or another. Well, duh, that is your typical picture in the gym. Now take yourself to that day when you saw someone a little (or a lot) overweight, looking out of his or her element, trying desperately to work out. Maybe he or she had poor form or were completely out of breath after just one set of bodyweight squats. Do you remember the looks, the eye rolls, the snorts that were flung that way as “the fit” of the gym shook their heads in disgust and disdain wondering why someone like that dared come to the gym.
Now take a step back while I tell you my story. Right now, I am the “fat girl” at the gym. I am there lifting 4-5 days a week with a little cardio the end and still somehow, I am getting bigger. When I mean bigger, I am talking over 40 pounds bigger!
As far as everyone else is concerned, my workouts aren’t helping as I continue to balloon up. But I’ll let you in on a little secret that only 3 or 4 people at my gym know: I’m just shy of 9 months pregnant (38 weeks today to be exact) with my 3rd baby! While those looks are getting flung at me wondering why I even bother working out if I am just getting fat anyway, I am growing a human. Since the majority of the people at the gym aren’t aware of the circumstances surrounding my weight gain, the looks have only increased the bigger I have gotten. And I will be the first to admit that I notice…and it bothers me…a lot on some days. I even got a tank top that reads, “Mom to be. Est 2014” yet that didn’t even give away the not-so-obvious.
Sure, I am not the typical “out of shape” person but I am still experiencing the same “gym judgment” that others do. Maybe that person huffing and puffing on the treadmill that you just rolled your eyes at has metabolic damage. Perhaps they are diabetic and trying to lose weight to control the diabetes. Or maybe they have lost a lot of weight already and are just trying to get off that last 50 pounds. My point is this: you never know someone’s story just by looking at them. We have all heard the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover.” I think it’s safe to say you cannot accurately judge a person on a first (or even second) glance. Everyone has to start somewhere whether it be learning proper form, how to use the big boy weights, or how to make fitness a part of their lifestyle. I know I wouldn’t have learned what I know if it hadn’t been for the friends I had who were always willing to answer my stream of annoying questions- “What’s that one exercise where you….?” “How do you do that again?” You get my point.
So before you determine that person fumbling with the 3lb dumbbells is incompetent and doesn’t belong in the gym, check yourself and instead, give them a smile or compliment them on how hard they are working. You may just land yourself a new gym buddy. You just never can tell.