Don't Be a Mean Girl (or Guy) in January (or ever)

I was riding the elevator up to my gym a few days ago, and got on with several girls who (it appeared) were all friends.

I cannot wait, one of them said with a huff, for all of them to JUST STOP COMING. 

Her friend nodded her head in agreement and commented that Nobody even knows how to use the machines or how to wait in line for classes. 

As we filed out of the elevator, I heard their final comment and snickers on the matter:

Don't worry. They'll be gone soon. 

I wanted so much to say something. It was such ugly talk - with no support at all. And in retrospect, I regret that I didn't speak up.

Here is what I would have said:

I get your frustration - but don't be mean girls. 

If just one person that is trying to get healthy succeeds - that's worth any inconvenience to you. 

Oh and by the way - I was one of "those people." 

I have been the girl that wasn't quite sure what the etiquette was at spin class. I didn't know you should try to arrive to yoga class a little early. I wasn't a natural athlete. I stretched in the wrong spot, and put my mat the wrong way. I didn't know where the cleaning cloths were!

January is an interesting month for fitness. Gyms and classes are more crowded - some of it driven by resolutions for the new year, the stress of going back to work after time off, or overindulgence during the holidays. And at a time where we should be encouraging, smiling, and helping - it somehow seems that everyone is judging.

Ask yourself - if you attend any sort of gym or yoga class - as you hop on the treadmill, or line up for spin, or find a spot in a crowded yoga class - are you helping? If someone is struggling with how to use a machine - can you take a minute to assist? Are you quietly letting another student know which way the class is set up? Are you making room in class without eye rolling or judgement?

Ask yourself - if you teach, or own a studio or gym - are you helping? Are instructions and guidelines laid out? Are you welcoming new faces?

Kindness rarely fails. Don't be a mean girl (or guy), please.

Mean girls can wear gym clothes, too. Offer support, not attitude, during crowded January.