Authors Note: This is a post that is repeated each year. Some of it remains year to year, but there are differences. It always proves to be a popular one, so I hope those of you that are new to the blog or the podcast enjoy it, as well as the long timeE4E’ers. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!
Every year it happens … On January 2nd, your once comfortable gym, your haven from the outside world, your escape from reality where you can focus on yourself for an hour or so in relative solitude, is … different. You notice it right away before you can even get in the door. The parking lot, which used to be half full at 5:00 at night, is now packed with cars (most of them minivans suspiciously), so you end up parking three blocks away.
But that’s OK … extra cardio right?
You grab your bag and hoof it to the front door, and as you’re walking by the front windows you spy the “kids club” and the frantic looks on the once calm staff manning the room. The place is overrun with 3-5-year-old kids. Yelling. Screaming. Fighting.
OK … no worries … they are separated … they won’t be in the way …
But the hard truth is that the kids are the least of your worries … it’s their parents you have to deal with…
You walk through the front door and there they are … packs of them … wandering through the gym floor … eyeing each machine … standing by them … waiting to see someone else use it so they know how to … mostly congregating by the old stand by’s, and grouped by sex …
Men are by the chest press machine …
Women are by the hip flexor machine …
Every treadmill is taken, and everyone on them is plugged into something; their new iPhone, or new tablet, or kindle, or nook, or …. worse of all …. TALKING ON THEIR CELL PHONE …
You can SMELL the newness of their workout gear … they are new right out of the Christmas boxes … yet to even be washed once.
The pool has a waiting line 4 people deep because no one is comfortable enough to share a lane … so we all wait …
The trainers and staff are frantically running around … not helping anyone … but trying their damnedest to sell personal training sessions or special 2-1 memberships that are available TODAY ONLY.
And they WILL sell them too … because regardless of what rhetoric they give you … gyms are NOT interested in getting you healthy. That is actually against their business model. They want to sell you that year membership. They could care LESS if you EVER show up again once you sign that paperwork. Just keep that in mind when they are selling you. Good health and illness free is bad for business in the gym world
Along with the medical world too, that’s a post for another time, but as a precursor, what would the pharmaceutical companies do if doctors actually cured something like cancer or heart disease? Discuss …
But … with all that said … with all the irritation that the Resolutionists cause to us “enlightened souls” … there is one clear fact for the majority of us …
98% of us were Resolutionists at one point in our lives.
I have, in fact, been one more than a few times in my life, and the one time it actually has stuck happened in May 2010, not January 1st.
So here’s the thing … try to swallow your irritation. If you see someone struggling with a machine they don’t know how to use, help them instead of walking away in disgust. I read a post from another blogger that said when he saw this recently he asked to “work in” with the man (the man didn’t know you could adjust the amount of weight he was lifting on the machine). Once he did and adjusted the weight, the man saw what to do, so then adjusted it and resumed his workout. This person didn’t laugh, or call him out, or make him look stupid … he showed him by doing it … without even saying a word. It was an OUTSTANDING example of what to do.
The same goes for triathletes, especially when cycling. We all see it on the weekend after Christmas here in Tampa. Flatwoods is PACKED with new bikes, families taking their kids outside for exercise. Was it annoying? Yeah …. a little … but how GREAT was it to see people outside and not huddled around a video game or TV or computer?
The saddest thing is the next weekend it was back to normal …
At Endurance for Everyone, and here at Fat Slow Triathlete, our intent is to ensure that people seek out fitness no matter their perceived obstacles. The sad truth is that some of us have become the obstacles. By making people feel uncomfortable, or out of place, we chase these newbies out of “our gyms” or away from “our parks”. These people take shelter back into their comfort zones; their homes, their TV’s, their foods. Not to be seen again until January of the next year.
One kind word is all it takes. One smile, or good morning, or “atta boy” when seeing them struggling. We that are non-traditional athletes (i.e. overweight, slow, non-“little rubber people”) are already self-conscious about how we look, how we struggle, so the last thing we need is to be made to feel like an outsider. All it takes it one clown with a rude comment to send us scurrying back to our comfort foods and couch (like the jerk who screamed at me at Augusta 70.3 as he passed me on the bike to “pick up the pace or get the hell off the course”), but alternatively all it may take is ONE act of kindness, one helping hand, one word of encouragement, that starts someone on the road to something truly great.
Isn’t that what we all want?
Here are some things to keep in mind as you start on this journey:
- Run SLOWLY and walk when you need to
- You are preparing your musculoskeletal system for running, even if you are a past runner.
- The #1 mistake people make is going out too fast too soon
- Training plan must focus on consistency, not miles
- Start by running every other day with one day of hills
- Focus on the LITTLE things: Nutrition, Hydration, Recovery
Remember that ENDURANCE comes from TIME: TIME on your feet, TIME in the saddle, TIME in the water. There is NO substitute for this.
SHARE your passion for this
As the Beatles once said, on the last song on their last album together,
“and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make”