You Can Do This


The other night at the gym, I saw a young man in the middle of what looked his first personal training session. He was probably over 300 pounds, I’m really bad at guessing weights, but he was trying his best to do the moves the trainer showed him. He had to stop and rest a lot, his chest heaving, his face flushed, his shirt soaked in sweat, but he didn’t quit. I had a moment of tenderness towards this complete stranger. Instead of being annoyed at how crowded the gym has become, I was happy that this young man was there. He had decided that 2013 was going to be the year he was going to lose the weight that’s been holding him back.

I had an overwhelming urge to approach him and say “Keep doing it. Don’t quit. You can do this.”

But I didn’t. I’ve had these feelings before, I Saw my Ghost at the Pool, and in that case I did not approach the woman either. I don’t think it’ s my place to comment on someone’s efforts or desire to lose weight. I will help if asked, but I won’t assume they WANT my help if they don’t ask.

Despite that, I do wish I could give some people encouraging words–especially this time of year. The gyms are flooded with newbies and while a lot of them will quit by March and do the whole thing again next January, there is a small percentage of people who WILL stick it out and keep trying. I want those people to KEEP TRYING.

I finished up my own workout and sent good vibes that man’s way. I hope I see him again the next time I work out.


If you’re looking for some more motivation, try checking out this list: Top Health and Fitness Sites for 2013. I was nominated to be included on the list and I’m so happy about that! My goal for this blog is to encourage people to get healthy with whatever methods work best for them–and still enjoy their lives. Check out the list for more blogs doing the same.

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Here is some more motivation and information if you’re starting to flounder with your goals:

What NOT to Do as a Personal Trainer

Mistakes You’re Making in Fitness Classes

Don’t Get Discouraged

Know Your Limits, But Don’t Get Discouraged

Overcoming Exercise Obstacles

Since I didn’t tell the guy at the gym, I’m telling YOU.  “Keep doing it. Don’t quit. You can do this.” Don’t quit. Wait. Exercise and healthy eating may just become a habit for you and maybe it will be easier. It got easier for me, give yourself time to adjust.

QUESTION: Describe your very first gym experience. What made you go back the next time?

18 Responses

  1. Your post was exactly what I needed today 🙂

    I was feeling a bit discouraged earlier, and out of habit, checked your blog.

    Thank you for the words of inspiration.

  2. The only time I ever feel like saying something is if that person is doing the same exercise that I am – like cycling or barbell squats. I don’t necessarily care to have some comment on what I am doing, even if it is positive because then it makes me aware that I am being watched (which I dislike). That’s just me, though.
    Lori recently posted..Crock Pot Baked Ziti and a bit of standing!

  3. I’m in love with group classes at the gym now after never, ever liking them (a big part of it was that I was intimidated and didn’t think I could follow the routines). I finally went to check out a strength training class that didn’t look frighteningly hard went okay. The instructor was great and when I asked about another class she taught (a sports conditioning/boot camp class – the one that really scared me) she encouraged me to come and said, “I’m really great with beginners!” I’ve been going ever since and it’s the first time in my life I’m exercising really regularly and I look forward to the gym. I don’t think I would have had the guts to go to her other class if she hadn’t specifically encouraged me to check it out.

    I’m such a regular that I know right away when someone’s new and I always try to strike up a conversation – before class when I can give them some tips about the routine or some encouragement that feeling a bit lost is okay, or after class when I ask them how they liked it and tell them I hope they come back. I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone act in any way other than totally thankful that someone reached out.

    I’d encourage you to try to talk to folks and, if there’s an opportunity, to share your story. I know not everyone feels comfortable doing that (I’m someone who talks to strangers in cafes and other places all the time – I have no problems starting conversations), but I wouldn’t keep myself from doing it because I thought I might offend someone. I think you’d be surprised how receptive people will be. And, you might be changing their lives in important ways you might not even realize (as was the case with me and the instructor in that class).

    You’re an inspiration and so is your story! Thanks again for sharing so much!

    1. That’s so great that you found that you actually did like the classes. I’m glad it’s working for you. And brava on helping the newbies! I imagine it’s intimidating for new people in class. It was for me when I took new classes and was always two steps behind everyone.

      As for encouraging people or telling them my story…I’d like to BUT…I feel like it could be taken the wrong way. Like “hey you look overweight, check out my site on weight loss”! 😛 See? Kinda tacky. I’m sure I could think of a better way to say it but I don’t want that impression to come out. I know what it feels like to be self-conscious about my body and weight.

  4. I don’t have anything like 100 pounds to lose, but I’ve certainly been the outsider/newbie at the gym. If you happened to cross paths with that guy, just eye contact and some neutral comment might be enough. Heck, sending positive vibes is something – whenever my friends or I drive past a cyclist we chant “Go biker, go biker!” since we’ve been there plenty of times!

    I’m so glad Christi linked to that “hey fat girl” blog post – I’m totally sending it to some friends and am saving it for future mood-boosting.

  5. You are right about the small percentage of New Year’s gym goers who actually stick with it past March. It’s a sad fact, but true nonetheless.

    It all comes down to persistence. Those who eventually find long term success have learned the power of persistence.

    So many people think that motivation is the key to success in health and fitness. They think that if they can just stay motivated then they’ll be able to achieve all their goals.

    Well guess what?

    Motivation is fleeting. It comes and goes like a fickle lover. Motivation is great at getting us started, but it is persistence that sees us through. Persistence never leaves our side. It will stay with us until the end.

    It is our persistence that will bring us long lasting results. Not motivation.

    Trevor recently posted..6 Reasons You Don’t Want to Exercise . . . and How to Get Over Them

    1. I agree. I think habit and persistence are what keep you at the party. There are DEFINITELY days I do not feel motivated to count my calories or go to the gym but it’s so ingrained in me now that it’s habit and I don’t think about it too much. I just do it.

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