(This post is the second post in the Pretty Awesome Kindness 101 series.)
There’s a famous saying by John Cassis that goes — It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice. I’ve said that before and I’m sure you know how important it is to me to be kind. That is why, today I want to talk real quick about being nice, in the gym.
Before you go all A-crowd on me, hang on for a few minutes. This is a short read and probably a good reminder to all of us, especially if we work out regularly in the gym. While it may apply to so many other places we normally hang out at, I will give a few specific examples that can make your heart swell, and possibly get your adrenaline up in a non-physical way, the next time you go for a work out.
Because the next time you’re in the gym, you have a mission. And this mission is all yours to seize.
Ever since I started powerlifting, I’ve been going to the gym every day. Prior to this, I’ve been alternating gym days and workout days at home, and only utilise my membership if I do feel like there’s a need to use some of the weights I don’t have at home. Ever since this too, I’ve been seeing some regular faces in the gym, as I go around the same time every day.
But recently, I met this girl, probably around the same height as me with muscles as tough as my sister’s old Dr. Martens. She’s strong. And I mean, damn strong. She can probably squat two times more than me and she does it very well. For a moment there when I first saw her I was intimidated. I mean, really, I was there feeling all untouchable trying to get my personal record in my deadlifts and she had to come around and own the gym at the same time.
That ego stayed with me for a few days. I observed her and every time she caught me looking, I’ll turn away and do my thing.
Until I finally had the guts to approach her and say what I wanted to say, two days ago. I walked up to her while she was resting in between her sets and told her exactly this — “Hey. Nice job on the squats. That’s an awesome load of weight.”
She reacted, albeit surprised, but she smiled and said, “Thanks, I appreciate it.”
Wow. Just wow. That felt super good. Before I left, she acknowledged me, again, by nodding her head.
I left the gym that night feeling inspired. I don’t even know her but I feel like I can work on my strength to be as strong as her, all because I was nice enough to go up and tell her that she was doing an excellent job. It made me feel joyful and valued.
That incident several days ago made me think.
How many times have we walked into a gym and see a familiar face, someone who is genuinely working hard and yet we do nothing to acknowledge them?
How many times too have we walked into our gym, at 6am, sleepy and not bothered, only to give the girl at the reception counter half a smile?
How many times have we said thanks, verbally, instead of just nodding our head when someone gives up their bench for us?
I know for sure I don’t do it often enough. Even though I wouldn’t say it’s our fault, we can do something about it to make this world we live in a kinder place. We can definitely put in some effort, especially if we go to the gym every single day, to genuinely say hi to the people around us. And we can definitely practice random act of kindness no matter what time of the day we’re working out because it doesn’t take much effort to smile.
And here’s one more thing. Sometimes it’s hard to be nice. Sometimes we just feel like screaming and saying something nasty to those people who just don’t clean up the weights after they’ve used it and that takes good strength and thoughts. Sometimes it takes shit loads of self-awareness.
But remember this, it’s always better to be nice. Always.
So do yourself a favour. The next time you’re in the gym…
Say good morning (or evening) to the girl at the reception. Ask her how her day was, and listen attentively. Say thanks when she passes you your locker keys. She’s human too and she’s doing her job, a very good one indeed.
Put the weights back on the rack after you’ve used them, and put it back on the right spot. And yes, especially if you have deadlifted 350lbs. Not funny when someone else have to do that for you.
Tell that girl or guy that she’s doing an awesome job on her squats, deadlifts, sprints, kettlebell swings. Whatever. He or she will appreciate it. Trust me with this.
And most importantly, spread the kindness along wherever you go. It doesn’t take much and it cost you nothing. In exchange you get hours of endorphins running through your blood, and another person might even do the same to another. Like a smile, kindness is contagious. The gym is a good start, and you’re one kind person who reads this.
And you never know, someone else might step in to give you a compliment one day, when you’ve finally lost that all that weight, or you’ve managed to beat your own personal record in whatever you’re doing.
Kindness is important. Don’t underestimate it. And if we all can practise it, the world will be a better place to live in for sure, and the gym… I think I’ll love the gym more. What do you think?
Have you ever met a nice person in the gym? Or what is the nicest thing someone has ever told you, in or out of the gym? Let me know by leaving a comment below. :)
Have a good weekend and a lovely Mother’s Day. Get her flowers. That’s a nice thing to do too.
P.s. My PR 165lbs deadlifts video below.
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