Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Seven years ago – though it doesn’t seem like that long – my sisters and mom and I all got memberships to a gym where we began regularly attending a cardio dance class.  It was a hip hop style class, very upbeat with lots of current music.

I am not shy exactly, but I always find going into situations like that a bit intimidating.  Especially because the group in the class appeared unusually close knit.  However, I look back on the years we took classes there with such fondness!

I quickly learned that I thrive on the energy of group classes.  Whether it was a dance class or a group weight lifting class, I found my energy levels and enthusiasm sky rocket when in the midst of others who are also pursuing their fitness goals.  When I struggled, their energy gave me a second wind.  It was also just incredibly fun!

It was also a great way to meet people.  We soon became friends with several of the people in the class, and then we’d be attending each other’s birthday parties and going to shows together and so on.  For someone like me who can easily retreat into a hermit like state, it was good to have an ongoing social life.

We met one particular couple in this group that we attended with every week.  A really fun, upbeat couple who were inspiring in terms of fitness.  They didn’t let setbacks or their busy lives interfere with their commitment to fitness.  They were fun and uninhibited.  We had friendly competitions about who could sweat harder, but all that did was make us laugh more.  More importantly, they made me feel like I could.  Like I could achieve my fitness goals, and that even if I am not a gifted athlete, I am making a positive difference to myself just being there and getting a sweat going.  It inspired me.

The bond with that couple went from just dancing together at the gym to going to roller skating rinks, enjoying live music, trying new restaurants and having house parties!  One time, for a birthday party, we had team shirts made!  We also had matching knee high mustache socks to wear to dance class.  Everything about it was fun and upbeat!

Even though I had lived in this state for 8 years when I met them at those classes, it was the first time I really felt like I belonged.  We clicked, and the class clicked.  As I recently told them, it was like my Cheers!  Sometimes you truly want to go where everybody knows your name, and what an unlikely place to find that, in a gym. 

I was on my treadmill recently listening to Britney Spears (a guilty pleasure of mine) and the memories of those classes and those newfound friendships came rushing back to me and I was inspired by them all over again.  I worked out harder and better because of it!