A gym-goer’s plea to campus

Column by Rachael Wylie. E-mail [email protected].

Recently, while walking into the Johnson Center, I became immediately aware of all the people who ­— prior to Dec. 31, specifically — had never stepped foot into a gym in their lives.

And if they did, it was merely to prove that they were not among the varied classes of “lazy” people, but rather those who simply “didn’t have enough time” to go to the gym regularly.

We all know these people.

The ones who put on a brand new pair of Nikes and a spandex suit only to traverse the rugged terrain of a running track for two laps, and then quit after whiny complaints about a “sprained ankle.”

Or the people who spend an inordinate amount of money on lifting gloves (and, therefore, leg braces) so they can squat 10 pounds until the first drop of sweat hits the floor signaling for the time to “call it quits” and go home.

Or, what about the girl on the elliptical who’s reading the collector’s edition of “Twilight” while she slowly and carelessly glides on the zero-inclined machine that’s periodically beeping, telling her to move faster.

These are the people that we serious gym-goers try to avoid at all costs. (And by “serious gym-goers,” I mean people who actually go to the gym to sweat and get what’s subjectively called “a good workout.”)

It’s hard to sympathize with those people who have the time to dedicate to the gym and the physical capacity to work out, but chose to recreate their living room coziness by taking up space on equipment that’s being waited on.

Sympathy, actually, isn’t at all the word that comes to mind. Adjectives such as impatient, infuriated and judgmental — usually in that order — are all appropriate.

It’s fair to be judgmental of those who should be, by now, knowledgeable of what the functions of a gym are really like, and respectful of the people who are (often times violently) trying to work around them. You lackluster gym-goers can be, should be and are being judged by those of us who are vigorously running to 50 Cent and lifting weights until our whole body aches in accomplishment.

You lackluster gym-goers have had your chance. You’ve had countless new years to prove your abilities to work out effectively, and have instead chosen to do nothing more than get in the way of those of us who are trying our best to maximize the free time we’ve dedicated to physical activity.

With that being said, there are many people who, this New Year’s, made a vow to themselves to try something new — to work out and be physically in shape. For those of you who are still dragging yourselves around to gyms around town, trying to maintain some level of motivation, know that it gets easier. If it hasn’t already become a routine for you, it eventually will.

Here on campus we have many programs that are designed to help first time gym-goers reach their desired goals for physical fitness. We have classes, groups, weekend retreats (ask Johnson Center workers) and intramural team sports designed to make fitness fun and enjoyable.

Personal trainers and workout programs are available for all body types, along with many experienced athletes who are always willing to help people who are “first-timers” trying to get the hang of the often times complex machines.

You, my friends, deserve a pat on the back for stepping up and trying to make a difference in yourself. Jumping into workouts head-first with good intentions and drive is a positive thing that should be commended. It’s hard. If it wasn’t, it’d be called going to the movies.

The drive that manifests itself in the gym is often times a precursor to the drive and ambition we have in other areas of life. You don’t want to be the person who idly stands by while watching others achieve their goals — to succeed physically (and mentally) you need to try…hard.