Petty gym behavior is counterintuitive

Lily Kime (‘19)

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As someone who appreciates the benefits that a work out can offer, I am no stranger to the Legends Fitness for Life Center. While the amount I workout per week often varies, it is still something that I enjoy. This enjoyment is tested, however, by a couple of things that I have encountered regarding Legends.

I am under the impression that there are two reasons why someone interested in working out would not go to Legends. The first is, for obvious reasons, time.

The second reason is that, as much as we may not want to acknowledge it, some people in Legends can be brutal while sporting a sweaty t-shirt and an innocent laugh.

It is horrifically common for individuals in Legends to find comedy in the fact that others are trying to do some good for themselves. Perhaps because to them, someone seems “too fat” to be riding a bike or someone appears “too skinny” to be lifting weights.

I have been the unlucky recipient of this kind of targeting. While doing a particular stretch, I overheard someone near to me turn to her friend and say, “And that’s a stretch you should do in private.” Now, I already hate doing this stretch around people and silently beg for nobody to look at me, and having this young woman take it upon herself to say such a thing with a laugh confirmed every single feeling of embarrassment and horror that I had formulated in my own mind. Her saying this told me that what I was doing was indecent.

What I was doing was stretching in a gym. How very indecent of me.

When recently talking to a friend of mine, she told me that she witnessed somebody making fun of a young woman on a treadmill because they saw her as being overweight. My friend then pointed out to them that what they were saying was unkind, yet they tried to excuse themselves by claiming that she could not hear what they were saying from across the room anyway.

I am sure that they are always considerate enough to say unnecessary and awful things out of earshot.

To those of you that find yourselves making these comments, society dictates that there is a right and wrong way to look. For the people that are in the category of “wrong,” they are informed that they should be doing something about it. Then they go to the gym and people like yourself decide that their effort is entertainment. You want to shame people for the way you think they are based on their appearance and then again for putting the time and energy into their health, possibly to make the changes you so unkindly said they needed. Maybe instead of giving unwanted “advice,” you should stop spewing spitefulness and make an effort to like yourself.

To everyone who has experienced this shaming or is hesitant to go to Legends because of it, understand that it is not acceptable, nor is it a reflection on you. You have just as much of a right to be in Legends as anyone else, and your health is nobody else’s concern.

This problem can only be solved when we learn to stop taking aim at each other to boost ourselves. That does not mean we need to suddenly take it upon ourselves to be everyone’s number one cheerleader, but we can at least take a moment to consider how we are treating each other and why.


Lily Kime (‘19)

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