Don't Sweat It: What Working At A Gym Taught Me About Fitness Fads

by Kennedy Bailey

Fitness has always been a part of my life. I grew up with a mama who “always be workin' on her fitness,” said in your best Fergie voice, of course.

That being said, I grew up hiking, dancing and spending my days out in the sun. Now, as a young adult, I have continued my active lifestyle. After working at a gym for a year, I have found the emphasis on fitness fads fascinating.

I would watch as girls checked into the gym with their fresh Nikes, their hair perfectly undone and their Beats blasting.

They would stay for two hours, lounging in our lobby. They had their eyes peeled, watching like pre-workout, pumped panthers ready to pounce on the proper "swole-mate."

This was the mate they could take 'Tool Pic Tuesday" Instagram photos with. Maybe they would experiment with some "acro-yoga." Maybe they would find a guy with whom they could share their (obviously similar) passion for fitness with.

As I worked for months trying to make a living, I watched the epidemic spread. I measured bicep after bicep, and some guys had chests similar in size to those of a Victoria’s Secret model.

These guys were working under the table to get the results they wanted, and would be watching girls walk around the weight room (#girlswhosquat). I would watch as these guys gained weight faster than a newborn baby in its first months.

I became more and more fascinated with this fit world I was working in. It's crazy to see transformations on 19-year-olds, as they happen over the span of months, versus years.

Don't get me wrong; I have no complaints about my daily view behind the front desk counter or about the eye candy I was tasting.

However, there is a difference between working out because it feels good and working out for the image. The thing about this fitness fad is that it has not only increased the size of our gym rats' muscles, but also their egos.

Let me be just go ahead and tell you, gentlemen: No matter how much weight you lift, let’s make sure you can still lift a girl up when it counts. The ego shouldn’t get bigger as the numbers on the scale do.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not some fitness fanatic or bashing on those who claim to be. I like the way it feels to be exercising daily.

As for some of my fellow gym-goers sitting in the lobby, I am left to believe they are interested in the release of something else, if you know what I'm sayin’ (wink, wink).

The continual images of these perfect bodies and the Pinterest fit couples flashing in our faces is a lot to keep up with. So where do we start? At our very own local gym, of course!

So here I am, again on the outside, watching the crazy nation grow. I am happy to be healthy, and I live a life of moderation in every respect.

I say yes to waffles, a donut and an ice cream here and there. I am not going to stop going out and eating fun, yummy food because of my "meal plan” or gym regime.

Take the damn waffle and top it with whipped cream. And please, do not even say those two words with your first bite of heaven: cheat meal.

What an odd thing to say! By not eating the damn waffle topped with whipped cream, you are cheating your life. I call that a “life cheat.”

So, to those girls at the gym with fresh Nikes and push-up sports bras, I hope you find what you are looking for. For you boys, I hope your leg size grows in proportion to the rest of you.

As for me? I will continue to watch with fascination, outside of your territory, drinking my tea until yoga begins.