Saturday, August 25, 2012

Judgement day

Scenario: You're at the gym, working your guts out on an elliptical and you notice someone wander out of the change rooms and hop on a treadmill. They spend five minutes walking at a slight incline, then move to the mats and spend another ten minutes stretching and mucking around with a foam roller.

You finish up your cardio workout and move over to the weights area and you see that this person has pulled out a resistance tube and is doing a couple of really basic exercises with it. You're getting sweaty in the squat rack, and when you take a break between sets a few minutes later, you see that they've put the band away. They do a few more stretches and then head back to the change room. You see them come out a minute later with their bag and leave the gym.

Pfft. What a waste of time. Twenty five minutes of walking, stretching and stuffing around with a band. Who'd pay for a gym membership, just to do that? You get back to your hard-core training (because you're a total badass) and forget about them...

Have you ever seen somebody at your gym do something like that and silently judged them? Hmm.

That person was me yesterday morning. I had exactly twenty-five minutes to spare between the school drop-off and my appointment for my cortisone injection. I could have gone home, sculled an extra coffee, then driven back to the radiology place, which happens to be in the same complex as my gym. Or I could have stopped at the shopping centre and had a coffee there, browsed the Spring fashions and then driven the 1km or so to my appointment. But I chose to use the time to squeeze in a quick workout instead.

I jumped on a treadmill to get my sore legs moving (Ouchies! Thursday's training had left me with screaming hamstrings, quads and glutes) and warm up a bit before doing the exercise that was my highest priority - my shoulder rehab. I added some extra stretching because I was feeling particularly stiff. The exercises I'm doing are not impressive - in fact to the untrained eye, it may look as though I'm not doing anything at all with a couple of them. But they are essential and they are having the desired effect.

I was having a little laugh to myself as I imagined what I looked like, and what that chick with the amazing glutes over in the squat rack was thinking...

There have been times in the past where I've noticed someone doing what appeared to be a no-effort workout and made snap judgements about them. But if there's one thing that injury teaches you, it's that you can't judge a book by its cover. Or a gym-goer by their workout. Whatever.

Now when I see somebody who looks capable enough doing an "easy" workout, I wonder what their story is - Are they recovering from an illness? Do they have an injury? Did they do a massive workout yesterday and today they're doing a programmed recovery day?

The moral of this story: If we don't know a person's story, we shouldn't presume to judge them.

Are you sometimes guilty of being a judgey-judger?

Don't forget to enter the giveaway to win a fabulous online coached running course from Up & Running! There are courses suitable for everyone, from beginners to aspiring half-marathoners. All you have to do is leave a comment on Friday's post before 5:00pm AEST next Tuesday 28th August for a chance to win. Don't miss out!



Debbish said...

Great post Kerryn! It's so true cos you don't know anyone's backstory. If I don't go to a lunchtime class but want to get to the gym (and need a break from work during the day) I sometimes go and do a 30-35min session on cardio equipment.

It's like going to a stretch class or low-key pilates class. It's sometimes exactly what you need if you've worked on other days or you might be in recovery etc. Or... you may not be in the mood that day but force yourself to go and burn a few calories - like you said, rather than grabbing a coffee etc.

I used to get upset with high-profile trainers 'dissing' walking. You know... saying it's a waste of time. Cos for a while there I couldn't walk without getting shin splints and I DREAMT of being able to go for a 30min walk a day.

Again, great post! (There's that thing about not judging until we've walked in someone else's shoes!)


Kathryn said...

Oh I might sound like a smug prick for saying this but when I'm at the gym, I'm only focussing on me not anyone else mostly.

By the way, I think I've caught your cold. Is that possible via the internet?

Kek said...

Deb, walking is SO not waste of time. For beginners or folks with injuries, or coming back from an illness or surgery, it may be one of the few safe activities they can do. And no matter how fit and strong I am at any given time, I always make time for some walking - it's great for moving lactate out of sore muscles and easing DOMS, plus I find it a fantastic head-clearing activity, and an opportunity to see what's going on in my neighbourhood. All valid uses of my time, I'd say.

Kathryn, I'm pretty sure that bug has gone through half of Melbourne. If it's the one I had, it's a bastard. Sorry about that. And yes, I mostly don't notie or care what anyone else is doing at the gym, but now and then I notice some strange things... ;o)

Liz N said...

Nope I don't judge - I see it as my role to welcome everyone into the fitness environment whether they're in rehab or an elite athlete x

Sara said...

I have been that person too and tend not to judge (although, I have not been IN an actual GYM for over a year.. ), but I do remember getting really annoyed with a woman in my old gym who did nothing but hours and hours of cardio. She was in there nearly every time I was, doing cardio and was dangerously thin. It was a 'do I say something or not?' situation. I didn't...

Kek said...

I agree, Liz...except for the a-holes who hog a piece of equipment while doing nothing but talking to their mates. Or on their phone. Perhaps I'm being harsh - maybe they're training their jaws? :p

Sara, I see those things too and I never say anything either. Not my place... :/

Cherub said...

Love this. Having had, due to injury, to reconsider what constitutes exercise. Going harder, faster, heavier, longer is just not helping my body anymore, if it ever did.

I now do what my body needs and not what my head thinks it needs. That said, I still sometimes feel lame leaving the gym after 25 minutes because I've finished my session.

Kek said...

That's the thing, Claire...most of the judging is going on in our own heads.

Post a comment

Join the conversation...leave a comment.