So let’s talk a little bit about how we treat each other at the gym, and out of it for that matter. Okay, so we’ve all had our laughs over the gif’s of people doing really bizarre things in the gym. I’ve had a few head shakes and chuckles myself when I’ve seen people in MY gym doing weird exercises that don’t seem to make any sense and I’ve admittedly gazed in awe over movements executed with incredibly bad form and even felt mild anxiety watching someone do something that could hurt them. But I have never, NEVER in 32 years of being in the gym, made fun of or even THOUGHT badly about someone that is in the gym legitimately working to better themselves.
It was brought to my attention recently that a certain individual secretly took a picture of myself and another member talking to each other while at the gym and they posted it on social media. I’m not a “friend” of this person on any site. I had never spoken to them or even knew who they were, much less their name, prior to someone showing me the post. Quite frankly, I laughed when I first saw it. Sadly, some people waste so much of life in their own little dark and hate filled world but it certainly has no impact on how I feel about myself. In this post this person called us some rather heinous names in amongst a whole lot of profanities. Classy, right? Now pay attention here…did I mention that the person that took the pic and posted it was an employee of the gym? Did I also mention that they were a TRAINER??? Trust me, you’re not as shocked as I was when I found out.
Now, to be honest, this didn’t put a dent or even the hint of a scratch in my self esteem as I’m pretty darn sure of myself and my place in this world. This sad person doing a petty and hateful post had no impact on me whatsoever, nor did it hurt the other person in the picture. What it did do is make me feel sorry for them and their not so bright future filled with ugly thoughts and actions. Unfortunately, social media has allowed people to hide major character flaws behind their words. What it DID do is make me terribly angry that this was a TRAINER receiving a paycheck from the gym.
Being a trainer is a profession I take very seriously. Someone is entrusting me with their desire to gain better health, fitness, and mental strength. That’s a huge responsibility and not all trainers are created equal in this, trust me. It also made me so disgusted that they felt like they had the RIGHT to attempt to belittle another person, albeit failing miserably in this case (they definitely picked the wrong girls to try to pick on). But not everyone who is in the gym, or outside the gym for that matter, is so sure of themselves. In fact, for many, just walking into the gym may have taken a strength that most of us may not ever understand. That first step onto the gym floor may be their very FIRST and very precarious step into finding their TRUE strength, physically and mentally. It’s in everyone, but some don’t ever push themselves enough to find it underneath all the painful words and actions of others that have impacted their lives up to that point. It’s my job as a trainer to help that client shovel out from under all those attempts to tear them down to find that indomitable spirit that is in each of us. And if you’re a trainer and that sounds overly dramatic to you, then you probably haven’t been training for very long and if you have then you haven’t been doing your job properly. Trust me, the more you care about what you’re doing and the people that you’re helping, the more you’ll realize what I’m saying is true. And even if you’re not a trainer, then you need to pay attention and understand this, too. We all have a responsibility both in and out of the gym and that’s to be ambassadors of fitness. That means we need to do our part to welcome as many people into the fold as possible, no matter their current level of fitness. For some that means offering help or encouraging words, and for others it just means not being a jerk and realizing that everyone who walks in that gym, no matter what they look like or what strange exercises they choose to do, has as much a right to be there as you do.
One thing is for sure, if anyone attempts to belittle someone on my watch, I will not just stand by and let it happen. So much good can be done with a kind word or action. It takes very little time out of your day to make someone else’s day just a little bit better. But by choosing to take that time to say hateful things or to try to make someone else feel “lesser than”, all you have done is add yet another dark cloud to your own life.
I haven’t personally come across this kind of thing very often, honestly, I just don’t hang around people like that and if it hadn’t been brought to my attention I would never have known. And in 3 decades it’s the first that I’ve ever heard of an incident such as this involving a trainer, so I suppose that’s a good thing, it’s a rarity to be sure. Hopefully it will be the last.
I do know, however, that this stuff happens to people everyday. Facebook and Instagram is full of childish and hurtful posts by people trying to bring others down in an attempt to make themselves feel superior. If it has happened to you, please don’t let someone like that make you veer off of the course of getting fit just because they have never matured past the 3rd grade. Make some good solid connections at the gym and by all means stand up for yourself.
I have a great jacket that says “KNOW YOUR WORTH” on the back. I think that says it all. YOU are worthy of whatever you want in life. YOU are worthy of a healthy and fit body. And YOU are worthy of being the person you want to be. We all have a choice in life to move forward, stand still, or sit down and watch everyone else pass us by. No matter what comes your way, keep taking those steps forward. Along the way people may attempt to derail you completely and sometimes it may even come from someone that is close to you. That is your time to show them you are worthy. Pick your head up, take a deep breath and carry on. When strength is what you seek, then strength you will find and it will fortify you in every aspect of your life.