An Open Letter to the “Gym Encourager”

Every gym has one.  The one at my gym is about 40, 5’3″, 100 pounds soaking wet, and looks disgustingly cute in her workout wear because she doesn’t glean a drop of sweat from her moderate stroll on the treadmill.  This is a public service announcement, really, so don’t hesitate to share in the spirit that it’s meant (in love, of course).


Dear Resident Gym Encourager,

First of all, let me thank you from the bottom of my heart for the selfless service you provide to those that are working out.  There needs to be more encouragement in the world, and I am grateful that you have taken on this responsibility.  Maybe you do it because you were once the recipient of encouragement and know how important it is to spur people one, because honestly, you never know how they’re feeling and your words may tip the scales to help them keep living a healthy lifestyle.

I, for one, absolutely need and covet your encouragement.  It is a huge motivator for me when my motivation is lacking, which is usually every single time I’m dragging my rear in the door of the gym.  I truly appreciate your words when I’m dripping in sweat and can barely breathe.

But let’s take a moment and talk about your approach…

The soft hand on the shoulder, the doe eyes, the “you’re doing so good, sweetie” in the sickeningly sweet tone of voice has got to go.  I don’t doubt your sincerity, but the way this approach comes off to me is that I’m a leper in the gym–that clearly a fat chick has no place alongside the skinny and fit elite that deign the gym to sit on the machines and furiously text between sets or giggle with their friends.  It makes me believe every bad thing about myself that I hear in my head.

See, you don’t know me.  You don’t know what brought me to this moment.  You don’t know the literal lifetime that has led up to me taking control of my wellness.  You don’t see how far I’ve come, how far I’ve progressed.  And sometime, if you’ll give me 15 minutes, I’ll happily tell you my story so you can know my journey, and not have to grapple with the thought that I just rolled out of bed this morning and thought, “hey, I’ll join a gym today.”  You’ll know that I’m not here on some half-committed whim, but that every time I lace up my shoes, I’m taking an intentional action to save my life.

Keep up your good work in encouraging others. Please.  It’s a vital service.  But next time you see me awkwardly climb down from whatever piece of equipment that just kicked me in the rear and am wiping the nasty sweat dripping down my face, all you really need to do to convey your sincerity is smack me on the back or snap your towel at me and say, “Keep kickin’ it, Badass!”

Love, A future former fat chick

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