Ready, Set, Go! (But Read This Post First)


January 1. A fresh start. A new beginning. The first day of the brand  new year. Millions of people commit to do better, live healthier, stress less, eat more veggies and to exercise every day of the week. Gyms across the country see in increase in patron attendance, weight rooms and cardio areas become packed to the point that finding an available dumbbell, bench press, treadmill or elliptical becomes near impossible. And it stays that way…for about three weeks. Slowly, but surely, the numbers begin to dwindle until you are left with the people who were already coming to the gym before January 1 and the few who have remained dedicated to their new healthier lifestyle.

Typically the folks who were already dedicated to their healthy lifestyle,who were already going to the gym everyday fall into one of two opinion groups  when it comes to the sudden rise in attendance they see every year as the New Year’s Resolutioners “invade their territory”.

Group One

This group has the mindset that “The More The Merrier”. More people wandering through the gym simply means more friends for the making. It means  more people that are aware of their previously unhealthy habits and are doing something about it. The fact that they are in the gym making positive changes is awesome. This happens to be the group I fall into. I enjoy watching each of the new people as they come in, enjoy watching their faces. You usually see one of two things.

  • There are those who come in and quickly adopt a look of being completely overwhelmed by what they see. I think it is safe to say that, for these folks, this  is likely their first time in a gym or weight room. I must admit, I have a soft spot in my heart for these people, after all I was one of them not so long ago.
  • Then there are  those who look more at ease, more comfortable in a gym setting. They come in, take a minute or two to decide what they are going to do  and then seek it out. You can tell that this is definitely not their first rodeo, they’ve been bucked off before, and I applaud them for pulling up their boot straps and getting back in the saddle.

Group Two

This group has a completely different take on  the spike of people  wandering around. They are annoyed and  irritated with all the newcomers. Their opinion is such that if a healthy lifestyle was important to any given individual, they wouldn’t wait for a new year to begin to start making progress toward it. They vomit statistics of how many people actually stay committed to their goals  versus the vast majority that does not. They say things like,  “invading our territory”, “wish they’d just get outta my gym”, “give  him a week, we’ll see who’s still showing up and who’s  for real”and other such things. It’s not very nice, but it’s how they feel.

Truthfully, I can see  their point on starting anytime and not waiting ’till January 1. I personally started my journey in November, as many of you know. But too, because  I’ve been where I have, I can still feel the terror that ran through my veins at the mere thought of walking into the gym. That fear was based on several things, one of which was large, muscle bound men with not one ounce of empathy in their body and thin, fit, beautiful women with the same malady. I don’t want to be a source of uneasiness, fear or anything remotely similar for anyone trying to better themselves by changing over from the soft path to the hard path.

I’ve spoken with several of people who are a part of group two (and proud of it)  lately. Each of them is quite passionate about making sure the world hears their opinion on this topic. A couple of them even asked me to put it here, on my website, to “get the word out.” I am doing so, but I’m  positive that they won’t approve of the way I am going about it. Sorry guys, I know I’m not putting the spin on it that you wanted me to. So why am I putting it on here at all?

The World  According to Laura

I believe that without knowledge, we are powerless. Without a sense of power, or control, we will end up surrendering  our dreams and hopes for  a better and brighter future. That’s the last thing I want. Nobody should feel powerless to change their current level of fitness. I put the opinions of both groups  in this post  so that anyone who reads it will know. Everyone has the right to know what’s out there, to know “what they are up against”.

Keep in mind, as you take your first step onto the hard path toward your goals, that when starting anything new, whether it be the first day of a new job, attending a  new school, a new church group or a new gym I can guarantee you that there are going to be two kinds of people there. The people who think you can and will, and the people who think you can’t and won’t. If  this post educates and helps just one “beginner” feel like they know what they are up against and therefore  remain committed to their positive change towards a healthier lifestyle, then it will have been worth ticking off  all my muscle bound friends with not an ounce of empathy in their bodies. (I still love you guys though ;))

The level of commitment we have  in attaining our goals  is something that each of us has  written on our  faces. Whether or not you can see it on your own face, I promise you that  others can. My favorite thing to see is the person who comes in to the gym and completely owns the time they have to spend there. You can tell the people who genuinely want to be there from those who feel that they were coerced into going and are now being dragged  there by a friend.

Test my theory out if you’d like, look around at the people surrounding you the next time you’re at the gym. You’ll see what I’m talking about. You can see it. It’s written right there, across their face. Be careful though not to get caught up in everyone else and forget to check the most important  face in the whole gym. Check the mirror. What’s written on your face?

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