Something I realized recently is that when I talk about going to the gym with friends who don’t like going to the gym, I pretend like I secretly hate working out in order to seem more Normal and Relatable. I realize I’ve been playing into that narrative that #fitness sucks because I feel weird and guilty being proud of all the hard work it truly takes to keep a regular gym schedule. But here’s my big secret: I like it! I like working out! It’s something I’m proud of, and I (and so many other people) am sick of hiding my enthusiasm for something that is, yes, a lot of hard work, but is also very fun.
As someone who enjoys lifting up heavy things and running really far sometimes, here are 14 things that women who enjoy working out are absolutely sick of hearing.
1. “Just skip the gym and come drink with us!” This is the worst because working up the will to go to the gym in the first place is hard enough without constant peer pressure to do literally anything else.
2. “I just can’t imagine caring that much about how I look.” Enjoying exercise because you enjoy how it affects the way your body looks is fine, but that is far from the only reason people work out. For some people it’s a great excuse to not be on their phones for an hour, and for others exercise has some truly unbeatable mental health benefits. The fact that it makes you strong is, a lot of the time, a fun side effect. So don’t assume people only sign up for the gym because they’re obsessed with the way they look.
3. [Insert literally any comment about your eating habits.] It’s incredibly lame to comment on anyone’s eating habits. But frequent exercise or training for a marathon can drive a person to consume wild things, like maybe 13 cookies in one sitting, entire jars of peanut butter, or whole meals crafted out of various proteins. Unless your gym rat BFF is exhibiting behavior that genuinely seems unsafe or makes you think they’re at risk for an eating disorder, kindly buzz off with the remark about how you don’t understand how she can eat the way she does.
4. “You’re always working out.” Just categorically untrue! If I’m always working out, then I wouldn’t be able to hold down a job, hang out with you, or do any of the other many things I do when I’m not at the gym.
5. “How much weight have you lost?” Once again, exercising is not just about how it affects your body, and weight loss is only one of countless reasons someone might have for wanting to work out. This is also just… a really intrusive and rude question to ask someone, and knowing they go to the gym or train for races doesn’t give you the license to ask it.
6. “I’d go to the gym but I don’t want my muscles to get big.” A few reasons why this statement drives me absolutely bonkers: 1) Big muscles can be cool ?, 2) You can work out with getting Extremely Swole, and, finally, 3) Is this your not-so-subtle way of telling me my body repels you?!
7. “I don’t know how you have time to go the gym, I’d feel so guilty taking all that time for myself.” Look, you gotta be able to do some things that are purely For You. Working out makes me feel sane and happy. And it’s not selfish to want to be sane and happy, especially so that you don’t act like a monster around your friends and family. Please leave me out of this narrative about how a woman’s time should be given first and foremost to everyone except herself.
8. “So do you have some sort of goal you’re working toward or what?” Yes, probably, and then when I achieve that one, I’ll just set a new one. A fun benefit of working out (especially for adults who are no longer in school and whose lives are divided up neatly into semesters and school years) is that it gives you things to constantly work toward. Progress! Is! Fun and Satisfying!
9. “God, I hate when people talk about working out, it’s so boring.” Ok ok, I understand this, but it’s not specific to talking about exercise. It can be boring for anyone who does something you don’t do to go on and on about it for any length of time. Yes, I get that no one wants to hear about how many leg presses I did the other day, but also there’s a reason people enjoy talking about working out: It’s fun to talk about things you like and make you feel good :~).
10. “Can’t you just take a week off? We’re on vacation.” Yes, I can totally take a week off. And I do sometimes take a week off! But I don’t do it willy nilly. I have a schedule, the schedule works for me, and who says vacation can’t include a morning jog, anyway? Everyone has different methods of ~relaxation~, and zoning out and listening to the same song on repeat for an entire six mile run is one of my methods.