I finally got a chance to get back to the gym after a two week hiatus—not planned. It felt nice to make some time to do that.
For the past couple of years my gym of choice has been Planet Fitness because it’s convenient and affordable. Years ago I used to belong to one of those fancy gyms that had a private workout room for women, television screens in each cardio machine and even a makeshift movie theater set up with bikes and treadmills so you could watch the newest releases while breaking a sweat.
It made going to the gym more interesting and helped the workout fly by.
Planet Fitness is pretty basic, but it suits me. While I was working out, I thought about what I always do when I’m there.
Out of all the gyms I’ve ever belonged to, they try the hardest to have the most welcoming environment. From the moment you walk in you are greeted with positive messages—starting with the sign at the door that says, “Leave egos here.”
I like that.
Glance up and you will see one wall with the can’t miss phrase, “Judgement free zone.” On another wall is the equation, “Planet Fitness= no critics.” And blown up to massive proportions is their mission statement which pledges to make an environment that “anyone can be comfortable” in. They “seek to perfect this safe, energetic environment, where everyone feels accepted and respected.”
Messages even cover the machines which say things like, “you belong” on the sides of them.
It’s motivating and it’s refreshing. Even after being a member for all this time, I still notice the signs; they still resonate with me. Since I am often my own worst critic, the words remind me that it doesn’t matter if I’m having the best workout of my life. At least I’m there. And it reminds me not to worry about what everyone around me is doing.
When I look around at everyone else, I often feel they are thinking the same thing.
I started to wonder how many people would be better off if we can carry these messages out of the gym and into our heads, our homes, our workplaces and our interactions with acquaintances or strangers. “Judgement free.” “No critics.”
It’s nice to remember these phrases the next time our minds jump to an unwelcome place.
Do I miss the movie theater and private workout room for women? Sometimes. But I think I’d miss these messages more.
Thank you for the inspiration that surrounds me while I work out. It’s nice to feel a sense of peace in the midst of strangers.