New Year’s Fitness Resolutions: You Are A Gym Tourist

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U.S. Physical Fitness Program Exercise Book´s ...I first became a member of Lifetime Fitness in 2002. I had high expectations. It was near my house, the club had awesome hours, and I really enjoyed the boot camp classes. I weighed about 145 pounds and really appreciated how most of the members looked like me. The building was full of soccer moms, poonchy dads, and chubby suburban kids who like too much candy.

That’s my scene.

What I hated about that club was the advertising. It reminded me of the Wisconsin Dells. I couldn’t take two steps without someone trying to sell me something. A sketchy supplement or a gross protein shake.

One day, I sat down in the bathroom stall to pee and noticed an advertisement for car insurance. And I was done.

I really do appreciate how Lifetime Fitness allows people with diverse backgrounds and different body shapes to come together to get a little healthier, which is why I rejoined the club (in 2011) to supplement my awesome Pilates classes. I now weigh 115 pounds and I have greater clarity about what I’ll accept in my life. I signed up and told the local membership director, “If you send me one single email message or sell my name to another list, I’ll quit this club.”

So far, so good — although it bothers me that health clubs exist in the first place. When you have to spend $70/month because you can’t get enough physical activity in your private life, you are doing it wrong. Every person who walks into a health club is a failure of some sort — no matter how healthy or how fit.

And right now, there are tens of thousands of newbies — some people use a dismissive tone and call them ‘resolutioners’ — who are joining health clubs for the first time. I want to tell them, “Don’t be intimidated. We all suck and we’re all losers. You think that chick in spin class is awesome? She’s here because she can’t get her fat ass off the couch — just like you. Just like me. We are all here trying to find balance between cupcakes and cardio health.”

And I’ve been thinking about all of the arrogant jerks in my Facebook stream who wrote things like, “Oh no, it’s tourist season at the gym. It will die down in February.”

Oh god forbid you have to work out with new people. And fat people. And you can’t get on your favorite elliptical machine. [Whatever.]

Physical fitness is tough and we are all tourists in our bodies. If you’re new to the gym, don’t be intimidated. And if you’re an expert at the gym, try encouraging a resolutioner to join you.

Just keep your arrogant and unhelpful comments to yo’self.

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