What made me fall in love with fitness... and why everybody belongs in the gym

I grew up in a pretty sleepy small town that didn’t have a whole lot of fun activities to offer kids.  It was beautiful, though, and quiet and spacious.  My parents gave me the best gift in the whole world, which was a house on land with a barn and horse in the back yard. 

 Little me taking riding lessons.  Yep, it's a picture of a picture because I forgot my iPhone that day.

Little me taking riding lessons.  Yep, it's a picture of a picture because I forgot my iPhone that day.

I spent a lot of time outside, and remember watching my dad play around with some old weights.  They were old Sears weights, my mom tells me, and they belonged to her brother when he was growing up.  My dad would use this old barbell and curl them, and occasionally press them on a bench he had made. 

 My dad and Maverick playing in the backyard.  They were big buds and had so much fun.

My dad and Maverick playing in the backyard.  They were big buds and had so much fun.

Somewhere along the way, I got the itch for lifting, and begged to go to the gym.  I wasn’t allowed until I was 12, which was the minimum age at the only gym in town.  But when I turned 12, my parents bought me a membership, and I tagged along with my big sister.  From then through the end of high school, I ended up just kind of being a gym rat, soaking up the experience and knowledge people had earned along their fitness journeys.  I asked a million questions and received an outpouring of genuine advice in return. 

This was my first experience with the amazing supportive environment that gyms produce.  It breaks my heart when people think gyms are full of critical, judgmental beautiful snobs, because the truth is that the core members of a gym usually provide the best support a person could imagine.  I LOVE the support groups gyms provide.  People truly would be so pleasantly surprised to realize what a great environment gyms make for personal and physical growth. 

Anyway, here I am.  I can honestly look back and say the best times of my life, and most of my best relationships, have formed in a gym.

I encourage you to try joining a gym.  If you can, find a neighborhood gym, or at least one that is not a huge chain.  You'll find the regulars to be hard working people who understand that everybody has to put his or her time in.  Truly, try it!  It'll be more rewarding than you can imagine!