Friday, May 18, 2012

Gym Life

Working 19 years in the fitness industry has not only given me free gym memberships and paid workouts, but extra calories earned on MFP (My Fitness Pal) and plenty of great stories. People are funny things. And once a diverse bunch of them gather together in a group exercise setting ("aerobic room" back-in-the-day), you never know what you’re going to get.

You’d think everyone would have health and fitness on their minds. And for the most part they do. But for some, it’s to gain a few new friends in place of a few unwanted pounds or to see if that cute guy shows up again. For others, it’s to show off their trendy, neon-shock-colored $100 Nikes or to flaunt the, uh-hem, "work" they had done. I'd like to think they come for my jokes and dizzying step choreography. But whatever the motivation, relationships start to develop.

On a side note, some people think because I’m the exercise lady, I’m also the food cop. I once happened upon one of my steppers from the gym biting into a big, juicy cheeseburger. She was all, "(Sigh) Hi Molly. Um, it’s my... birthday? So, celebrating?” If she only knew how many “birthdays” I celebrate weekly.

So I think I'm more of a corrupt food cop. A double agent of sorts, giving the illusion that I regularly juice together kale, chiles, and beets picked from my garden. But in truth, the only law I lay down is that my kids eat the equivalent of seven canned green beans and half a banana per day (and whole grains when on sale).

And on another side note, did you know that someone recently left a bag of marijuana in my aerobic room? I know, crazy. I picked it up all tough-like, trying not to have my shocked face on - acting as if I'm saving the world or something - and gave it to my manager. And that was that.

So where was I. Yes, relationships. People tend to hook up at the gym. Find amazing friends at the gym. Learn how to encourage one another at the gym. Yet oftentimes they fight for their slightly-to-the-right-of-the-center-of-the-fan-side-of-the-room "spot" on the gym floor. Once you become an addict, there's a tendency to protect your work-out domain. I mean, how dare a newbie invade a regular's space (directly behind high-kicking Sally, but not blocking stinky Joe)? It happens.

But for me, I've met so many fabulous people over the years. Women and men who have befriended me, mentored me, laughed with me when I've fallen, and cheered me on when the not-so-nice people have complained about me. I am thankful for them all. They are people who have found their way into my class and right into my heart.

One gal in particular walked up to me after class several years ago, and instead of grabbing a fistful of belly fat or thigh fat and asking the usual, "This! How do I get rid of THIS!?" she told me her name and asked if she could maybe go to church with me sometime. Kind of random, but I guess she overheard me talking about God stuff with another gym member and something we said must have caught her attention. We are both dear friends to this day.

So cool how that happens! Right there on the dance floor (cuz-dis-iz-how-we-doo in Molly's step class), God is faithful to bring kindred friends my way. And time and time again, even amidst pot-smoking "fit" individuals, I've seen him use the group exercise room as a venue for his amazing work.

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