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Gyms Should Be Places of Love

Andrea Savard
February 9, 2023
5 min read

Sometimes I just want to walk through agym and hug every person there.

One by one. Tell each of them that they’rebeautiful just as they are, how they walked in. They are enough, they wereenough all along, even when they woke up this morning with crud in their eyesand drool on their lips. That whatever they’re doing today, however much effortthey’re putting into this workout, that it’s the right amount. And if it’s not? Tomorrow’s another day. They can try again.

I want everyone to believe in themselves as much as Ibelieve in them.


Think about this: If I can believe in youand I don’t even know you, imagine how much you could believe in yourself.

I know this is crazy talk. I can’t bewalking through gyms, hugging everyone. Someone will call the cops. I don’thave time to be arrested and explain. I’ve got shit to do and a whole lot ofNetflix to catch up on.

That’s a lie. I hardly watchNetflix. But back to the hugging.

Gyms should be places of love and strength and sweat.


That’s how I see it because that’s how mygym is. Just a bunch of people looking to get strong. Lots of barbells, nomachines unless you count the rower and the devil’s tricycle.

People at my gym are powerlifting andOlympic lifting and kettlebell swinging and rope climbing and running andpushing sleds and a hundred other things. But what they don’t seem to be doingis hating on themselves. They don’t seem to be shaming themselves or lookingdown on each other. At least not what I see.

When I look across my gym, there aregrowls and grins and a whole lot of intensity but no sense of “I don’t want tobe here.” Everybody wants to be there, or they’re doing a damn good job ofhiding it. And I’m not even counting the big guy sitting on the boxnear the roll-up doors, eating a burrito after his lifting session. He REALLYwants to be there.

But then I go to other gyms, bigger gyms,gyms with equipment and pools and towels and mirrors. That’s a different experience. Some of it is really nice! Who doesn’twant bright shiny clean things?

But some of it feels kind of sad, becausenot everyone seems to want to be there.. They’re watching tv and trying todistract themselves. They don’t seem happy. And some of them seem to be therebecause they feel they have to be.

  • Because they’re ashamed of their bodies.
  • Because they’re sad about they way theylook. Or angry.
  • Because they want fundamentally to feeldifferent than they do.
  • Because they want to fit in a world wherethey feel left out.
  • Because they think that someone elsethinks they should look a different way.

And maybe some people are there becausethey don’t love themselves as much as they could.

I get that. Loving yourself is not an easydeal. I have to work at it every day. It took me a long time to learn thataccomplishments and things can’t ever fill the hole inside me, nor can aperfect face or a perfect body or perfect children or a perfect house. I haveto fill that hole by myself, and I have to do it every single day.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that ifyou’re going to the gym to shame yourself into a new body, there’s a betterway. And if you are letting yourself be coached by anyone who’s trying to shameyou into a new body, stop. Get a new coach. Nobody needs that kind of malarkeyin their life.

Instead, do this:

Work hard. Do good. Be kind. Love yourself.


It’s an old and simple prescription but itworks. Gyms should be places of love and lessons,practice and positivity, health and happiness. Nobody’s got time for shame.That burden is far too great and time-consuming.

Sweat. Suffer. Smile. Repeat.


Leave your troubles on the gym floor andwalk out free, at least for a while. And hug the crazy lady grinning throughher deadlifts. She could always use another hug.

Life is never as hard as we make it.


Original content from Lisbeth Darsh. Reposted from
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