Adult Bullies – Exercise Know-It-Alls

I’m having a moment of frustration with lots of people around me. Why are people so closed-minded? Why are people so self-involved?

At work, people make decisions on what benefits them the most. And these are people who are assigned to committees on behalf of the larger population. For example, at my work, there’s a wellness committee. This committee is headed by the Vice President of Human Resources. A person whose entire job is to speak on behalf of the larger population.

Yeah, he’s incapable. All he can think about is himself. He can’t put on someone else’s shoes. He makes sweeping decisions based on his likes, interests and experiences. For example, when we did blood draws this year, he forced all men to have the prostate test, but wouldn’t take any time to discuss optionally adding on vitamin and mineral testing offered, or any other testing that might be beneficial to those other than him. Those tests “weren’t necessary.” But, because the prostate marker specifically affected him, this was top priority. Never mind the rest of the employees who might have other medical issues.

I’ve found the same to be true of many of my friends who workout. Very pretentious attitudes toward anything they don’t do. I don’t know if I’m overly empathetic (I’ve been told I am, said negatively, but I feel like it’s one of my best traits), or if it’s because I’ve done so many different workouts in my life.

All I know is I don’t care what workout people do. If it gets them moving, keeps them motivated, helps them break a sweat, etc., then I’m happy for them. I feel like that’s all we need – to break a sweat. And if what you’re doing makes you happy, you win!

But I have a group of friends who judge everything. They judge the classes offered at the gym. They judge the weight machines at the gym. They judge home workout videos. They judge ellipticals and treadmills. They judge any fun classes people pay one-off like Zumba, stripper classes, high heels classes, etc. Would I do some of these? No. But that’s why there’s such a variety. Everyone has different interests. But have I done a lot of these in the past?  Yes. Have I seen results with them? Yes as well.

I have a whole drawer full of workout videos. A whole drawer! And I still like to do most of them! They’re fun. It’s private. I don’t have to share my workout equipment with anyone, or touch their germs. I can wear whatever I want. I can try new things without worrying about looking stupid. I can pause the video if I don’t have heavy enough weights or desperately need a water or catch my breath break without missing any of the workout. I can workout at 5AM or 11PM. I can do half of a workout if I can only workout for 20-30 minutes. Or I can stop, rewind, and redo a part I just can’t get. I love workout videos. They’re where I started working out, and I have lost most of my weight using them. Old reliable.

I have also forayed into running outdoors, on treadmills and with an elliptical I have in my house. I think I prefer walking or running on a treadmill to an elliptical, but the reason I bought an elliptical is for the lower-impact workout I can’t reproduce as easily. And because it’s quiet, so I don’t need any type of setup or to blow the sound out of my speakers. That said, if I had the room, I’d probably have a treadmill with the whole setup, too. So I don’t hate. I also like exercise bikes. I like variety!

On the other hand, if I’m running or walking, I prefer outdoors. And I also have a bike to ride outside. So I’m not partial to the treadmill or elliptical or exercise bike. But they are nice when weather isn’t in agreement.

I have also taken almost every workout class at the Y. Seriously, almost every one. It’s been about six months since I canceled my gym membership, so I haven’t done the new ones that have come out recently, but I used to do those classes. They were nice on the way home from work. Or over lunch breaks. And when I lived really close to a Y, I’d even get up, get a workout in, come home, shower and get to work at a good time. Those classes work. They work up a sweat, and work as hard as you work. They do all kinds of things – kickboxing, step aerobics, classes with weights, bootcamp classes, yoga, pilates, combination classes. There’s something for everyone. I even went on a swimming stint for awhile. There’s no shame in my gym membership game. If I’m paying for it, I’m going to try it. In fact, one time two friends and I signed up for a hip hop dance class where, over eight weeks, we learned a hip hop dance routine to an entire song. It was definitely a good workout for my brain. And once I learned the dance, it was a great workout! That class was more fun than anything, but it stimulated my mind, kept me off the couch, had social interaction and memories with friends, and got me into the routine of going to the gym. So even though that was one of my lesser-caloric-burn things, it wasn’t necessarily just to burn calories. There were also plenty of classes I took that I didn’t care for. So of course I took and worked toward mastery of those I was really challenged by and really enjoyed. For those who were better at the hip hop class, they burned more calories.

This past year, I started lifting weights. And I listened to people tell me I didn’t need yoga. And I didn’t need any type of cardio or core work. But after awhile I realized they were actually “supplementing” their workouts with ellipticals and exercise bikes. And they were doing a bunch of weird bullshit, keeping them in the gym for two hours. I finally realized they didn’t know anything more than me. All they knew was what they liked to do. And that’s what they were trying to push on everyone. I think they were trying to validate their decisions by pushing others in the same direction.

And in the meantime, bullying people who did other things.

But I’m smarter now. I’m smarter and more open minded than these people. Just because they push and bully doesn’t make them any better or smarter than me, with all of my workout experience. Am I the best runner? No. Do I lift more weights than anyone in the world? No. But I go into any new workout with an open mind. And am happy with anyone doing anything that gets them moving.

You like power walking? Do it! You like step aerobics. Get at it! You prefer running? My slow pace envies you. You want to do a stripper pole class? Hey, all the power to you! I wish I were so flexible and confident! Whatever it is, do it! Even if it’s a 20 minute yoga routine you think is “really beginner.” That’s exactly what I’ve been doing this week. And I’m not ashamed!

So ignore the haters. Get out there and do whatever it is you like to do right now. Don’t worry about defending yourself from the haters out there. Shake ‘em off. And if next year you want to try something new, move on. Don’t worry about those same haters saying, “Don’t like it?” Um, no, I just want to try something new! Just because I’m not a routine person with working out, and want to try new things to get excited. I’m not you. Obviously, I’m not you, you hater. I know you’re unhappy. And insecure. And trying to make everyone else unhappy. And get them to do what you’re doing to reassure you.

This isn’t your body. It’s mine! And I’m going to vary my routine as I lose motivation to keep on keepin’ on. And really, it’s none of yo’ business!

And if you think it’s your business and feel better about yourself by bringing someone else down, maybe you need to reevaluate your health, happiness and workout routine. Maybe you should add some reflection time to work through whatever it is that’s making you insecure. In the meantime, I wish people wouldn’t use me to make fun of workouts other people choose. There’s one way to inform others about a workout routine that might be more effective, it’s another to bag on extra movement people are getting in their lives. You making fun of them might ultimately be the reason they stop moving around at all.


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