This morning as I was leaving the gym, a friend from one of my fitness classes said she’d love to get a group of us together over the summer to just talk and spend some time with one another. We see each other in class a few times a week, talk for a few minutes before and after, and we really like getting to know each other. We’re there to work out hard, but we find we enjoy it more when we encourage each other. Although most fitness advice centers on food and exercise, the hidden benefit that we rarely point out is the bond that is formed among those who make health and fitness a priority in their lives!
And for me, it’s always been like this. When I was first married and moved to a new city, I met the women I would share pregnancies, child-rearing, and work stories with. At the time, instead of a gym, we met in church basements, carrying our own steps and weights. I even went into labor in an aerobics class. As our kids were born, we brought them to class in their baby seats and later, let them play together on the playground while we took our classes. When I moved from there, they gave me a “going away party” class!
So it’s no surprise that when we moved again, the gym was the first place I went. The tiny gym had an early morning aerobic dance class and a handful of people would show up to work out. We had so much fun working out, talking, and laughing together, and depended on one another to be there each morning. Whatever stress we had in our lives at the time, disappeared for the hour that we were together in the gym. As schedules changed, our friendships continued, moving to other gyms and new classes.
When I started an early morning spinning class, the camaraderie continued with new faces and friends. We’d follow our tough workouts at the Starbuck’s across the street. I might not see them any other time, but our shared interest in health and fitness made hearing about other aspects of their lives even more fun.
And even now, MANY, MANY years into working out, I find the same kinship with people in my classes and on the gym floor. From Zumba to spinning to Cardio/Resistance to weight training, we all share the “agony and ecstasy” of a great workout. And when you’re gone for a while, people worry. Sometimes I feel guilty if I haven’t been to a class in while, but usually, I’m happy they’re glad to have me back
I’ve always believed that the gym is the Great People Equalizer. Whether it’s my 80 year old buddy who can do more than most of the men half his age in the gym, or the young moms who share their kids’ antics, or the instructors and trainers, I always feel a commonality!
And as for the wonderful people I’ve met in the gym, so many are still my good friends. Even though many of us are at different gyms and live in different parts of the country, we still reminisce about earlier days working out together.
I know the reason we’re at the gym isn’t supposed to be social, but if you’re getting a great workout and having fun with others, what’s wrong with that!