Thursday, October 1, 2015

No judgment. No problem.

As I stood there waiting to hand my ID and boarding pass over for the TSA agent to scan, he looked down at my shirt. 

It was a white Nike tank with a pinkish filtered photo of stairs on it. "No Gym. No problem," it said.

"That's my motto," the TSA agent said.

I looked at his heavy build. He was big — at least 300 pounds. He stood at the counter, his chair a good foot away from him, but I immediately thought his comment to be sarcastic. I thought thoughts no one should think. I questioned my purchasing the shirt, not realizing no gym, no problem could also be interpreted as, "I'm fine just never going to the gym" or "I'm fine just sitting on my ass all day and never doing any physical activity. No gym? No problem. Fine by me!"

All those thoughts pouring in a matter of milliseconds.

I snapped out of confusion as he scanned my information and I gave him a smile, thinking about how much of a smart ass he was for that comment.

"It's that very logic that's gotten me to where I am today," he said, "I used to be twice this size."


He continued, "It's that kind of thinking — that the world is your gym — that's gotten me moving, and has kept me going."

"Wow!" I exploded. "That is so awesome! Keep up the good work!" I was so inspired.

But in my head I felt so ashamed, for immediately jumping to "he must be using sarcasm."

I have always had a strict no judgment rule when at the gym or on a track or in a race — or when just generally seeing a person who was working on their health. Because you can't see an overweight person going on a walk and think, "they should really do something about that overweight problem," obviously, because they are.

But why stop there? That's total bullshit. Because we don't know everybody's stories. We really don't know where they are or what they've been through.

If I had lost 200 pounds, but still had work to go, I'd want everybody to know. I'd shout it from the rooftops, "I KNOW IT ISN'T OBVIOUS BUT I'VE COME SO FAR!"

But at the same time, I would have grown so much patience, and quiet confidence and perseverance. Things I often struggle with.

I could have hugged that man that day. I can't imagine the kind of pride he must have, and I think about him often. No gym no problem likely saved his life.

When I think I'm in a rut, or I'm not noticing any differences in my speed or weight lifted or ability, I think about him.

When an athlete I look up to breaks a PR and I know I will never have that kind of speed, I think about him.

When the people I love finally understand what I mean when they experience a new level of health, I think about him.

Everybody's journey looks different, but most people never know how good their bodies were made to feel. He's on his way there. And he's proud.

We were meant to find our own gyms. And they don't all look the same. Fitness isn't the same for everyone. Perfect form is relative.

There's another great Nike line: There is no finish line.

Great, because the finish line is always moving forward with you. It's dynamic and different for every person.

No gym. No problem.
Just freaking do it.

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