Something Nice at the Gym

Since the beginning of the year, my little brother, Marcus, and I have been going to the gym on a very regular basis. We shoot for Monday – Friday but we’re both busy professionals with families so sometimes life gets in the way and we have to miss a day. Not often, but it happens. We’ve also added a new member to our happy little workout family. The three of us keep each other motivated and accountable. It’s become one of my favorite times of the day.

This morning, we were just heading over to finish up our final set when an elderly woman called me over. She’s around my parents’ age – somewhere between 60 and 70, I’m guessing. (I’m terrible at guessing ages, so that’s why I gave myself a ten year spread.) She told me that she’s been watching me since my first day and she’s noticed how much I’ve improved. She told me to keep up the good work and that I’m doing great. My cheeks hurt from smiling. I was, and still am, so touched that this quiet, tiny woman sought me out to tell me something so nice. I wonder if she knows what an incredible difference she made in my day.  What a great boost to my motivation! I’m seeing some very small changes in my body but it’s still tough most days to drag myself out of bed at 4:39 (I get one snooze after the alarm goes off at 4:30).

The whole drive home, I found myself thinking back to that first week. It hurt and I was sweating like I’d run a marathon from the simplest of exercises. I wasn’t embarrassed and I didn’t feel bad because I’m 47 years old and out of shape. I knew that I’d get better as time went on.

This is our sixth week of working out and I feel so much more confident in the gym. I really noticed the difference when our third, Nick, started with us last week. Watching him try to navigate the machines and get his form right took me back to my first handful of days and, wow, what a difference a few weeks make!

I’m also very fortunate to have Marcus as not only a workout partner, but a great coach. He’s got years of experience from high school and college sports so he knows what exercises to do, how to do them properly, and he’s just about the most motivating coach I could hope for. He pushes just hard enough to get the best I’ve got to offer but keeps my ambition in check when my ego starts to get the better of me.

That nice woman was right; I have improved a lot and I am doing a great job. It can be a big challenge for me to think of positive things about myself sometimes and I’m grateful to her for helping me to see that my hard work is paying off.

I guess the moral of the story is that my day was made so much better by a few kind words from a stranger. It’s the little things that make the biggest differences. What little thing will you do today?

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