The Friendly Lion



 I have been meaning to post this blog for a very long time, because it is a topic that I feel really strongly about. Since it is close to New Years, and people are probably already thinking about their resolutions, I think this is super appropriate to post now. A lot of people start the New Year by making decisions to lead a healthier life, and with that comes the decision to go to the gym. It is easy to get frustrated when you are a “regular” and you don’t get your normal treadmill or you don’t get a treadmill at all, due to the huge amount of people at the gym during the beginning of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some angst about a treadmill or two in my day, but I want to challenge you to change your thinking.

I have heard stories of mean people at the gym, but I hadn’t really witnessed it personally until this happened to me. A few months ago I had this bet going, I got up every morning at 4:40AM and swam before work for a month straight (on top of my normal workouts). Anyway, one morning I got there and there was a lady in the lap lane, and I stopped her and asked her how she wanted to swim. She looked up and at me and told me she was not going to share a lane and to swim on the other side. I was so taken aback by her rudeness. I could not believe that she said that to me. First of all, there is only one lap lane in the pool. Second of all, who needs a whole lane for themselves? That is crazy! When I was on swim team in high school we would have 10 people in one lane. I know this doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but it made me so angry that she wasn’t kind. It was 5:30 in the morning and we are all in it together.

After that experience with that horrible lady, it got me thinking about how it would have made someone else feel. I have been going to the gym for as long as I can remember and it bothered me that she gave us “veteran” gym-goers a bad name. The first time a person goes to a gym is kind of like a person going to church for the first time. They are out of their comfort zone and doing something that takes a lot of courage. One mean person can make a huge difference in someone’s life. A nervous person at the gym could have one little thing go wrong and never want to go back. I think it is easy to forget where we start. You were once a new person, and it is pretty sad that you wouldn’t be uplifting to someone else who is just starting. Get your head right and be a kind person, it won’t kill you.

I see on Instagram all of these pictures of lions and quotes about being relentless and strong and never giving up. Just an FYI, you can be nice and still meet your goals at the gym. Its not like being rude to people makes you more buff, it just makes you more of a stereotype. Take every opportunity you can to impact someone’s life in a positive way. You will never know someone’s story, or the impact whether or small or large that you can have on their life.

P.S. Most people really appreciate when you smile too, I understand that you might not want to be a chatty Kathy, but you can always smile. It is very encouraging. Although, if some guy is being creepy and staring at you, don’t smile. I repeat, don’t smile.

P.S.S. If you are a new gym member and you feel intimidated by the weight room, or by going to classes or you feel like people will judge you. They won't. Most of the people in the weight room are too pre-occupied with looking at themselves in the mirror and most of the people on the treadmills are busy trying to breathe through their run to pay attention to you! So don't be afraid, be empowered that you had the courage to walk in the door!

With love and motivation,


Blaine MenkeComment