October 27, 2012 6:40:01 PM
I'm a pretty positive, optimistic person. I like to look on the bright side of life through rose-tinted glasses. I focus on the good and pretty much just ignore the bad. I float around in la-la land with rainbows and butterflies, never judging and always giving people the benefit of the doubt. A real Pollyanna. Well, a sarcastic Pollyanna. However, I must be PMS'ing because y'all are about to get an earful. I need to vent, people, and today, this column is my sounding board.
Yeah, a column about something that drives me crazy is exactly what I (and the world) need. But in true Leah-fashion I'll include the silver lining. Blah blah blah.
Here we go. Let's talk about people who come to the gym to socialize, shall we? Major, major No. 1 pet peeve! I've talked about this before. Clearly it did not reach enough of you. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I go the gym to work my body, not my vocal cords. I prefer to socialize over coffee or cocktails, not the cable machine.
Now obviously I'm not talking about catching up while waiting for a exercise class to begin, or even a good heart-to-heart while pounding out 4.5 miles at the Riverwalk. I'm talking about people running their mouths when they should be in beast mode in the weight room or running intervals on the track.
Even with my carefully-honed lines of defense -- earphones in, no eye contact, and game-face on -- people will still stand there chatting away while I'm squatting (and dying) on the Smith machine. And the worst part is, I'm too nice to say anything. It's so annoying. And because I can't leg press 405 pounds while counting out my reps, while Drake's blaring through my headphones, and listen to someone's life story all at the same time, I inevitably stop what I'm doing, listen, and generally want to strangle whoever is talking my ear off. All while nodding and smiling, of course. I have got to start forming stronger boundaries.
Now, the silver lining to making friends and acquaintances at the gym is it keeps you accountable. Being accountable is a huge part of making exercise a habit. And if you know someone's going to wonder where in the heck you are when you feel like punking out, nine times out of 10 you're going to go, even if you don't feel like it, right? Accountability.
For me, by making friends at the gym I now have some pretty amazing people in my life that care as much as I do about health and fitness: an instructor who pushes and motivates me to work harder than I ever thought possible four days a week; a locally-born and raised athlete who is bound and determined to do something about the obesity epidemic in Mississippi; and my best friend, who I met in zumba. We used to try to out-dance each other, and now we dance our butts off, laugh and sing, even if the song's in Spanish. We just make up our own lyrics. She's the only person I know who's down for a walk/run at 9:30 at night or a 15-mile bike ride when it's 100 degrees outside.
In the long run, that sense of community and friendship that we fitness fanatics share -- whether in the weight room, a zumba class, or even begging for mercy in R.I.P.P.E.D. -- is what keeps us coming back for more day after day. And coming back for more day after day is what's important, even if you do have to listen to a few life stories.