Well, I've been at the Y a few times as I work on torturing myself (aka swimming) and for some reason I really noticed something that's been on my mind for a while. It has to do with the kinds of people you see at the Y.
So, who do you see at the Y? Just about everybody.
Tall folk, short folk, fat folk, skinny folk, uber-fit folk, way way way out of shape folk. Nice folk. Mean folk. Just any old folks. I guess I didn't used to think that would be the case. I thought it would be all hard-bodies and elites who were obsessive exercisers. And the reality is there are some of them there. But there are a lot of people, as I said, who look like it's hard for them to climb the stairs and a huge range in the middle. And the cool thing is, all of that is inspiring. When I'm running the track and I'm zipping by people who either can't run or are running a lot slower, I feel good because hey, I can run better. But I also feel good because I see people working and trying and think that they look exactly like I looked 6 years ago when I started exercising, and I feel good for all the potential gains they can make. And I also really respect the guts it takes to go to a health club, even the Y, when you are way out of shape and start doing something about it. And that is inspiring.
Then there are the people who zip by me when I'm running. Or who are lifting the equivalent weight of 2 trucks over at the weight machines. Or who aren't running but just by looking at them you can tell they could outrace you, then kickbox you to unconsciousness, and then slam dunk your body through a basketball hoop. And when I see them that's inspiring too. Because they you think, wow, if I work at it I can be closer to that kind of shape. Not that I can ever be in that shape. There are some genetic and in my opinion kind of insanity things necessary to be that damn fit. But I'm closer to it than I've ever been and I could get closer still, and that's inspiring.
Then there are the people who are just about where I am, and they drive me nuts. Because if you're running, they're right there with you. They're not so fast you can't hope to catch them, and they're not so slow you zoom by them without effort - they're right there with you and it makes you work harder. Whatever they're doing, they push you just a bit by being there doing about the same thing. So that's cool too.
I know there are health clubs where you get a lot more of the elites and the beautiful people, and I doubt they'd let me in the door (well they probably would cause they want my money, but you know what I mean). But I really prefer a place where normal people go to work on themselves and improve their lives. It's more welcoming, and more fun.
This post was paid for by your local YMCA association (just kidding).