I Heart My YMCA


On Friday I spent the day working out of my car. I visited companies that provided corporate sponsorship dollars for for an event that benefited the organization I work for.

My first stop was at a hospital. I got lost looking for the gentleman I was to call on. I wandered into an office hoping a nice person would point me on the right path. I peaked in to see a smiling young lady who was finishing up a phone call. She looked up and we exchanged “I think I recognize you, but I don’t want to risk looking stupid if you’re not who I think you are” looks. Once she finished the call we confirmed that we know each other…from the YMCA.

She and I are used to seeing each other on the Greenway…or in the locker room. We look a bit different in the “real world” than we do in our “gym world.” It was nice to see each other “with clothes on.” (That’s a gym rat joke).

Running in to her made me think about my various circles of influence. I have work colleagues, church friends, high school and college friends I still see regularly, friends of friends who’ve become my friends, friends from the recovery community, and family. Most of my family continue to live right here in Middle Tennessee.

But it’s only been within the last two years that my workout life has become an important part of my social life. Prior to then, self-conscious about my size, I would slip into the gym wearing the baggiest of t-shirts, workout on a cardio machine, lift some weights, grab a shower and get the heck out of there with as little attention as possible.

Now I have friends….real friends whom I only know from the gym. We enter triathlons, 5ks and half marathons together. When the weather is nice we cycle together. We celebrate birthdays. My gym friends have been some of my most loyal supporters as I continue my fitness journey. Our common bond is our desire to live healthy lifestyles.

Enlarging my circle of influence to include gym folk happened by accident. One day I asked Lynn a question about stretching. I didn’t even know her name. That question and answer period led to light bantering and before I knew it I was meeting Lynn’s friends. And so on and so on.

I’m grateful that my gym is no longer a torture chamber…a place to compare myself with the “better thans.” I’m grateful it’s become a place of fellowship…a place where I can be “as good as.”

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