I love going to the gym.

I need to emphatically point out that I am not one of those insane people that cannot live without trying a new workout or adopting a new Cross Fit regimen. I simply like going in for an hour, maybe 80-90 minutes on a good day, at most. It saddens me to admit I don’t go as often as I should. Lack of discipline, that is the real reason, but I love finding excuses left and right, which is kind of pathetic but mostly funny. I am not here to shame people who don’t work out. In life, you make choices. People’s choices don’t much matter to me so long as they don’t directly affect me in a negative way.

All my life I was involved with all kinds of sports so moving around is embedded in my DNA. Moreover, I don’t work out for the Olympics nor am I trying to look like those surreal male and female body builders you see on Instagram. You know them, right? Those guys and girls with no fat, incredible abs and veins that looked like they are about to pop and give them an aneurysm. I am not them, never will be and never could be.

Aside from my love of working out, I also happen to know that there is nothing more lethal than sitting 8 hours in an office. A third of the day spent sitting in a chair, no matter how ergonomic it might be, is synonym to drinking poison daily. That is another subject for another day as health is the most important thing in our lives. So, every time I do go to the gym, I am just there to sweat and exercise, push my body and especially my mind. I love the feeling of exhaustion that makes me breathe hard. I love sweating so much that sweat goes directly into my eyes, I love trying one last push or lift. I sound like one of those lunatics that workout nonstop, but it matters not. Working out also brings me peace, it is a sanctuary of mine, where all my problems temporarily disappear and my workout music reigns supreme. For an hour, I am all alone, nothing matters, and I do feel content. Selfish, I know…

I will not lie, the other reason that makes me love the gym is that I get to observe people. Not in voyeuristic way, relax people! Yes, there is the occasional hot chick that wears tight yoga pants and my eyes follow her for a second, I will admit to that. I am human, all right??? Otherwise, observing people at the gym is quite an experience. Well, the common definition of the word “observation” implies that it is done for a long time (hours). Not in my case. A few seconds can tell you a lot about a person. I do that because I am curious by nature and because I am perfecting my observation and deduction skills. I am a Dr House fan, what can I say?

So, I look at people and do so intently sometimes, and it surely looks creepy from the outside. You get many clues from people; their body language, the clothes they are wearing, their shape, their phones and headphones, the way the scream or the way they are stoic, the exercises they choose, their demeanor, the way they look in the mirror or not, those who have trainers or plans and those who don’t, those who go hard, those who look at themselves every  5 minutes and those who don’t care, those who make friends, the silent types, those who look for attention, those who would love nothing more but be invisible and so much more.

You know who I admire the most at the gym? It isn’t the fittest person in there. I do admire their work ethic and their discipline that led them to have well sculpted bodies that would make Apollo jealous. They get my respect and admiration, that is a fact. But who are those who admire the most? Well, I frankly admire the biggest, fattest, most obese and out of shape person in the gym.

YES, I SAID IT as the great philosopher Chris Rock would say. Please understand, I am not trying to insult, demean, humiliate or otherwise devaluate fat or obese people. Far be it from me to try and break another person’s spirit. I know the negative connotation that come along with the words “fat” and “obese”. Their body doesn’t define them entirely, it is just a part of who they are. Well, according to the body mass index, I myself am obese. I do have a bit of a gut, big ass thighs, gigantic head and I weigh more than 240 pounds (110 kgs) and I am not tall so I do know (just a little bit, ok? I don’t weigh 400 pounds, so I don’t know what that experience is like) what it is being on the hefty side of things. I spent a few years not taking care of myself, and today, when I am on the wrong side of thirty (to quote some sports journalists), I am paying for my sins, meaning eating habits, lack of exercise and overall laissez-faire.

I truly admire the heavy people. I fucking do. I admire them because they are in the gym. They could be somewhere else, anywhere else but they are not. They are in the gym, working out! I admire them because they decided to make a change in their life. I admire them because they fucking know everyone is staring at them and judging them, yet there they are! They are not giving one single fuck because they care about being better and healthy. I admire their resolve. I love their tenacity. I admire their energy because when they come in, they commit and do the hard work. Most of them have never or rarely exercised in their lives and it shows. Yet, in the gym they are. They are walking and running on treadmills, they are jumping, sweating, instead of staying home and complain that their life sucks.

I admire people who make radical changes. I admire those who understand on a basic level that a radical change is needed. I admire those who are willing to put the work in. I admire those who go and seek help because what they are doing isn’t working for them anymore. Imagine having to do something that you have never or rarely done because it is necessary. Imagine getting so far out of your comfort zone that you feel like an alien! Imagine changing completely your lifestyle! Imagine doing a 180-degrees and take another direction, as a fucking adult! Imagine the sheer will that is necessary to move in a new direction.

I admire anyone who stops anything that doesn’t add any value in their life whether it would be smoking, drinking, partying too much, drugs, eating junk food, etc. Moreover, once you decide to make a radical change, there will be those who will discourage you or make fun of you. “You are going to work out? now? at your age? What is wrong with you? Forget that and let’s chill!”. I do not call those people haters. I call them talkers. They talk so we should let them talk while we focus on ourselves and our betterment. I salute the choices that improve the life of any person. It might not be a choice I understand or could make myself, but if you are happy, carry on!

There is no downside to being healthy, less heavy, better balanced and more energetic. Your good health will boost your immune system, improve blood flow, give you a better sense of self, and you will feel better. That is a certainty, not a myth. No one is asking you to run marathons but go right ahead if you want. No one is telling you how to exercise or when. That is entirely up to you. Instagram and YouTube have millions of videos that could help you with being healthier and fitter.

To the people who are overweight, fat or obese, who have decided to make a radical change and go to the gym, I salute you. I admire you for having the fortitude to be healthy, to be make those positive yet hard choices. Whenever I am at the gym, I always go up to them and give them a high-five because I believe they deserve it and because I am in the elevating game, not the hating game. I want to see them do better and if an innocent high-five can put a smile on their face, I would have made someone smile that day. I am selfish…

To everyone exercising, keep up the good work. To anyone who is thinking about it, go see a trainer or go workout with your friends or holla at me, and I will direct you to the right person or right website. To those who don’t feel like working out, it is no problem at all. I wish you well because I know you are productive in other areas of your life or maybe exercising isn’t your thing and in the end, there is nothing wrong with that.

Remember, consistency is key, and it is only too late when you are dead. You can always make a change, that is up to you.

Just one man’s opinion.

Now, smile and go on with your day.

Freeman. B

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