Overweight people at the gym

I mentioned yesterday that I could blog on this topic, and someone asked me if I was going to make fun of overweight people at the gym. Oh, heavens no! I hate that someone even thought that for a moment.

The reason the topic has been on my mind lately is that I have had several people say to me over the past few years that they would love to join a gym, but not until they lose some weight. This seems a little like a Catch-22 to me. If your goal is to lose weight, the gym is the perfect place to begin. But these people have felt too awkward about approaching a trainer before beginning any fitness, or about visiting a place where healthy people go. Fit people. People with washboard abs and big biceps and skinny waists.

Ok, I get it. I really do.

But I have to say – that when I am at the gym, and I see an overweight person working out – I feel proud. The gym is the place where goals are accomplished. Where dreams begin to come true. Where self-confidence and happiness happen. And for anyone – fat, skinny – to go from the couch to the gym, is a big deal. I know that. I was there once.

I have never been “overweight” – but I have weighed more than I would like – I still weigh more than I would like, even with all this running – and when I am at the gym I feel there are a lot of people that look better than me. But I don’t expect them to judge me – I look at them as motivation – maybe if I keep it up, my abs will look like hers one day

On July 4 a few of us went to watch Kevin’s triathlon at the Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill. The guy that came in last was overweight. He was so last, in fact, that by the time he rounded the corner to come to the finish line, the awards ceremony held after the race was wrapping up. But everyone – race organizers, participants, and observers – stopped what they were doing to cheer him in. He got the loudest cheers of anyone – including the winner! The guy’s daughter jumped on the race course and ran the last .1 mile or so with her dad, and they crossed the finish line together. He was huffing and puffing and probably worked harder than anyone else out there that day.

It was all I could do not to cry, watching him cross that finish line that day. And what a motivation that was! Don’t ever think you can’t accomplish your goals. Get out there and do it.

Exercise is an addiction. Once you’re addicted, you want others to be addicted. Those people at the gym with washboard abs? They want you to come taste their drug. They will encourage you to come join their team. No one at the gym is judging. And if they are – you let me know and once I get stronger biceps than them, I’ll go whoop their asses.







5 responses to “Overweight people at the gym”

  1. Michael O'Neill Avatar

    If I were addicted to exercise, I’d kill myself. Thankfully laziness keeps me alive.

  2. Jess Avatar

    Excellent. I agree 100%. I was intimidated by the gym at first, until I started going to the class settings where I felt I could blend in better. I made good, encouraging acquaintances that way — and was able to meet and get to know some of the fitness instructors, who are truly inspiring people. Ask a lot of them, they’d tell you how they got into fitness because they couldn’t lose that last 20lbs of baby weight, or because they saw their husband/wife enjoying working out so much that they got hooked. I’m glad to be hooked… love that I have people like you I can talk to about being hooked… and hope to have more people around me hooked in the future! 🙂

  3. Amy Avatar

    I miss the gym so much and I feel the same about seeing overweight people…very proud. Heck, I’m lazier than most *I’m* the one that’s embarrassed.

    The end made me tear up about the guy finishing the race. At least he was out there doing it and here I sit typing on a computer, where I will spend the majority of my day. Good for him.

    I still can’t catch the running bug though!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Last First Day of Preschool =-.

  4. Kevin Avatar

    Awesome post! I agree 100%. When I started running, I would occasionally think to myself I probably look like a fat guy huffing his way along and people probably think I am not where I am supposed to be. If I had let that way of thinking dictate my actions, I would have ended up back on the couch.
    And if you need any help with the ass whooping, let me know.

  5. Joanna Avatar

    Melissa, this was an excellent post and the story got me tear (I’m not usually an emotional person so…). I’m glad to know this though because as an obese person and one that has always been “the fat one” in the group, you’re not sure what normal sized people make of you. I do belong to a gym, but I haven’t been back in some time because I have lost my motivation there. I have been at it for a year and have plateaued these last 5 months. It’s very disheartening.

    But you remind me that the reason I go to the gym is to get healthy. I don’t run too much any more because I have arthritis an my ankle (and other joints) and tend to push myself to the point that I limp for days if I run too often, but I do love my cycling and will keep at it. Thanks for the share.

    I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to share this post with some “virtual” friends I have at http://www.sparks.com, a weight loss support site.