Faces of Exercise
Peter stares at the hard floor for a full minute. Maryann drops her head in exhaustion then smiles, glad it's over. John turns and chats with anyone about anything.
These are faces of exercise. Some are intense, some are relieved, and some keep looking around.
Let's look at Peter first. He's serious. One minute is all he gives himself before tackling his next set. He knows what a minute feels like; he doesn't have to watch a second hand. Maybe Peter didn't used to be so serious at the gym. Maybe last year Peter was diagnosed with diabetes or had a heart attack. He now has purpose, a vision of better health and fitness. You can see it in his eyes. Peter is determined, consistent and focused.
Peter knows why he is doing a certain exercise. Perhaps he saw it in a fitness magazine, a book, watched others in the gym or hired a Personal Trainer. Peter has replaced something in his life with an hour of working out at the gym. Peter can now do ten pull-ups; used to be he couldn't do any. What good are pull-ups in daily life? Ask Peter, now he can tell you.
Peter starts sweating after his first set that's how concentrated his effort is in the gym. He recites "Where concentration goes energy flows." It's been internalized with Peter. He's got it, and will never lose it. Not after a two-week vacation, not after having the flu. Peter controls his body.
Maryann works with a Personal Trainer. She's in her seventies. She knows how vital exercise is for her well being. She notices so many people around heróat work, friends, at homeólook unhealthy. She sees a dullness in their eyes. Maryann's eyes are getting younger. Maryann's eyes are vital, sharp. Maryann will not give up, not to the Cybex close-row machine, not to her Personal Trainer who challenges her, not to hip replacement surgery.
Maryann shows up on time, listens, concentrates on her body movements and never complains. She feels pains, but the muscles are getting stronger, her posture is noticeably better. It all makes her smile. Maryann will add six years to her life.
John works out fifty-percent of his time at the gym. The other fifty-percent is spent chattering. But that's okay too. The gym is a social place for John. He looks at himself in the mirror to perhaps recollect what he used to look like. It's a weak motivation but motivation enough. John will gain a little around the mid-section this year. He doesn't like doing cardio and likely has done the same exercise routine for ten+ years.
At least John shows up.
You've seen these faces at the gym. You may know them as Intense, Resolute, Lackadaisical. There are other faces too: Flirty, Comical, Bullying, Lost. There are Intimidated, Confident, Show-off, Inconsiderate and Lonely. They all have their reasons for being at the gym. We all do. They're all there, either all the time or now and then. (And so must we be there too since we notice them.) Good for them; good for you.
My point is this: Whatever face you are (or see) at the gym, let's support our efforts and acknowledge our progress. Aren't we all trying? Give someone a "Nice job" after his or her set instead of a dismissing "You done with that?"
Let's face it, it'll make their day.