Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Etiquette Free Zone

With another year comes the influx of resolutioners that will either sink or swim in the ethos of diet and nutrition. As one of the regulars at the gym I have decided that it is an every year sort of thing that you just deal with if you have to. Many years back the popular crowd in “The Judgment Free Zone” had already driven my workouts to the wee hours of the morning, so my interaction with the resolutioners is quite minimal, depending on whether I get up in time or not. I joke during the non-resolution season that if I don’t get out of the place before 5:30 then I no longer qualify for “Judgment Free” status, and when resolution season sets in I have until 5:00 am before I give up my sanity.

This is not a blog about resolutioners really, it is a blog about resolutions in general. The usual push to get healthy after the New Year is actually why most people fail at it. Seriously, there are so many more things that go into getting healthy that are never on anyone’s radar, but are every bit the reason you either do or do not make it in the healthier lifestyle world. Imagine if you will what it takes to be me. Some will have read off that statement and assumed that it was not worth delving into, but if you go a little further, open your mind if you will, then you will see something different than getting up grumpy because you have to work out. You see my very attitude about being in shape is what drives me to be in good shape, not the fact that I go to the gym every day. Again this is a lot harder than it sounds, but I will bore you with it a little further.

I wake up every morning with an attitude that I am going to do about an hours’ worth of futzing about the internet, and then after I take care of whatever my body chooses to eliminate from my half a pot of coffee I drank, I will go to the gym and I will conquer it. Has it always been that way, well no, of course not there were “stages” that got me here. First I made the effort to get up and go to the gym every day. Second, I learned to be happy with what little gains I had made. Third, I learned to get along with everyone at the gym. Fourth, I started to actually look forward to going to the gym, be it because I looked forward to the workouts or I looked forward to the people I saw there. Fifth, I became one of the people that others would notice is NOT there. Sixth, I started accepting, or more to the point, relishing the fact that it was an everyday thing for me. I am going to stop here, just so I can speak more to those that are just starting out.

Here’s the problem with the New Year’s resolution of going to the gym and getting healthy. You may not have the mentality for it. Here I will give you an example from my own life. I have used things like his as a Facebook status and we have either laughed or commiserated over it. I am at the gym (which I have been doing daily for a long time so despite the people who think they have me pinned, I actually have everyone that walks in there pinned, I have seen them all) and in walks that new person who deep down inside is an asshole. Now I say this because they go to the gym to tell someone off, or to get frustrated with people. Now of course I make it sound like this is how they just come into the gym, but it is also how they go into work, grocery shop, drive etc. They are an asshole and that is how they should have spent their resolution, but I digress. As soon as this person finds myself or someone else to “tell off” for whatever reason, their resolution to be healthy is over. They will not be seen at the gym for another year. If you are an asshole, try making a resolution to not be an asshole.

Most of the issues that would arise between the resolutioners and the lifers change from location to location, but etiquette is a lost art let me tell you. My gym in particular makes it’s gravy off the resolution crowd. Sell them a one year membership for 99$, clean up after them for a month, don’t see them for another 11 months. They spend more time walking the new people around explaining to them, who to judge who not to judge, it never really comes up whether they should put weights away, or play with their cell phone somewhere other than sitting on a machine. I don’t even bother trying to ask people to respect others because they either do or they don’t. If their parents didn’t get around to teaching them that then I don’t stand a chance.

Another person who makes a New Year’s resolution to be healthy because someone else (a spouse maybe) doesn’t like them the way they are. It breaks my heart to see people who are so obviously at the gym for the wrong reasons, especially if they start becoming real bitter about it. If you are working out for you than the rest of the world’s opinion of you matters very little to you and more importantly, you don’t start projecting on them. One day you are sad that you are working so hard and someone else isn’t and then the next you are angry that they aren’t working as hard as you are. If this consumes you then you will either give up on the gym or use it to the point of being unhealthy and never actually enjoy the end result of all the time you put in there.

I make it a point every morning when I go to the gym to say “good morning” and flash a smile to everyone I walk past. Sooner or later everyone stats doing the same. The gym is my second home and I want to be happy and comfortable in my second home. Part of that is making sure that others around me aren’t neurotic the entire time they are there. I encourage people who need it, and avoid the people that need that too. I have always used the term “you don’t shit where you eat” as it pertains to catting around gym, mostly because it isn’t what I go there for but more importantly because it isn’t what a lot of the people I could make uncomfortable with it go there for either.

This year if you are making the usual resolution of diet and exercise, please just take a minute to make sure that you have the attitude to do it. You may need to work on something else first and then find it a lot easier to stick with a diet and exercise program. I know in my own case it really came down to being able to get along with people and stop being so claustrophobic, and in time it became an issue of being able to actually work out without hurting myself. 2014 was without a doubt my best health and fitness year ever and I am hoping to follow it with an even better year this year. I hope you are ready to do that too.