The other night I went on a first date and I experienced something that I hadn’t in a very long time (and don’t let your imagination run too wild): I was the “new guy” in the gym. Now, I can almost hear you thinking, wow, first date, and you went to a gym? How romantic! What’s the second date? Doing your taxes? But that’s just the kind of weirdness you get when you ask out a personal trainer.
“We should meet for coffee some time,” he said.
“Ok, maybe, but why don’t we go rock climbing instead?”
“Are you… serious?” he asked.
“Yes! Let’s do it!”
Soon, there we were, and it was my bright idea, yet I was nervous walking up the steps to the gym. Partly because I knew it was a date, but partly because even after about 20 years of working in the fitness industry, I still find gyms an intimidating place to be.
Aside from the usual anxieties of walking into a place with which you’re unfamiliar (Where do I sign in? Is the desk person going to roll her eyes because I asked a stupid question? Does my hair look good, etc…) a gym can can bring up all sorts of issues we have with our bodies. And those concerns can be borderline overwhelming.
Am I thin enough? Am I muscular enough? Do I jiggle when I run? Did anyone notice me falling off the spin bike? We are all absolutely certain that everyone is watching. And judging.
Here’s the truth about those people at the gym judging you: They’re not.
I know we like to think we are all just a bit Beyonce, that when we walk into a place, it’s all eyes on us. But unless we are entering the gym with a full weave, a wind machine and a camera crew, chances are we’re getting just a few glances at most. Heartbreaking isn’t it?
But the good news is, this means we’re free to go about our business.
So what if you jiggle a little when you run? I’ll bet you anything, the person on the elliptical next to you is thinking they jiggle, too.
In all honesty, the folks in the gym are some of the nicest people you’ll meet. I havenever had a conversation with someone at the gym about how someone is too out of shape to be there. It’s usually more like, “That’s awesome! They are kicking ass and getting healthy!”
In other words, the people who probably feel the most insecure, are the same people who are actually inspiring us! And to let you in on another secret, the few people at the gym who might be throwing a little shade your way…well, that says a lot more about their insecurities and hang-ups than anything about you!
Now, as far as how my date judged me, that remains to be seen. First dates can be shadier than gyms, and the angles you’re seeing in a rock climbing session leave little to the imagination. If there is a second date, you will be the first to read about it.