Friends from the Gym

6 11 2011

I always tell my daughters to get themselves a few, very good friends. The “good friends” will be there when you need them, in good times and in bad. We all have best friends, but some of us have other friends that we see several times a week. We don’t know where they live, don’t have their cell phone numbers, don’t work with them, and they don’t know what we look like without messy hair and without work out clothes on. They are called GYM FRIENDS. If you’ve been a member of a gym for several years and have stuck to the same schedule, chances are you have acquired some gym buddies. Go away for a week and when you come back they ask, “where have you been?”  Chances are you see these people more than you see your actual besties. They are the ones who notice that you’ve changed your hair color, got new sneakers, lost weight, give you a spot and notice you’ve gotten stronger …. and they are also the ones who sometimes notice when something is different about you… be it something good or something bad. I have worked long enough in a gym to spot someone who is newly pregnant, got fired, having an affair, had a boob job, is getting married or is getting a divorce.

Some  friends you meet in classes at the gym. They may save you a spot because they want to hear how your date went, if your kid got accepted to a college, how the new baby/puppy is, what chapter you’re up to in the book they recommended, etc. Sometimes it’s your gym friend who you share more intimate secrets with than your best friend. They know who you call “hot guy” “my gym boyfriend” or “skinny bitch” at the gym and who “sweaty man” is, etc.  They are less likely to judge you, criticize you, or lecture you. Sometimes if you’re lucky the  person moves up from being just a gym friend, and they become a real friend in your personal circle of friends. I have watched friendships form and been a part of the groups of gym friends who socialize outside of the smelly gym.  I have done races with gym friends, cookouts and holiday get togethers.  Some of the best times in my life were doing adventure races, runs and bike races with gym friends.  I have been fortunate to have met some terrific people at the gym who are are friends in my personal life as well.

A dear friend once told me that when a tragedy in your life hits you, you will find out who your “real” friends are.  Years ago when my wall came crumbling down I did everything in my life to hold it together while still going to work at the gym. But as much as I thought I was still projecting my tough girl facade, it was my gym friends and clients who saw otherwise. The weight-loss, and the always chatty Hope wasn’t blabbing away, and the banter I shared between members and gym friends, which usually included ribbing (sarcasm) just wasn’t happening. I wasn’t walking around saying things like “Hello Ladies”to a group of muscle heads standing around talking.  What amazed me is that these people, some whose names I didn’t even know, knew more about me from my appearance and demeanor than did my own parents. What amazed me even more was the kindness that came from clients, and my gym friends. I’m talking sincere kindness, from dropping off food, watching my kids, and even asking me if I needed any money. Crazy huh? Could it really be true that some of my gym friends were there for me more than my so-called “longest and dearest friends”? Sad to say the answer was yes.  I don’t discredit my “real friends” for not being there, I think that my gym friends see me more often and saw a Hope that my friends and sadly my own parents just weren’t seeing. I couldn’t hide behind a phone call and say “I’m fine.”  I wasn’t and it showed.

So if you belong to a gym you probably understand where I’m coming from. It doesn’t mean that I think you should go to the gym and chat away. You’re there to get a job done. But sometimes a gym friend provides  motivation to get you to the gym, keep you at the gym or work harder at the gym.  Could be a FB message about seeing you later at the club,  the girl you see everyday  working out harder than you, or the “hey dude can you give me spot?” When I’m working out I wear an invisible  sign that says “don’t talk to me!”, but a smile or a nod is sometimes all that is needed to just say hi. Compliments are thrown more at the gym by total strangers than sometimes are own families. The occasional you’ve lost weight, you’re looking ripped, your running has really improved are things I hear  members saying all the time.  I love to throw  compliments to people when I notice someone who is working their ass off,  especially if they are losing weight. I usually get back a thank you that silently says thanks for noticing. How can I not notice my friend, I see you everyday at 5:30am.

In the first  chapter of my life I often said I don’t need more friends I have enough, however my motto for chapter two is that you can never have enough friends, as they all have different roles in your life. Over 5 years ago when I thought I had a few good friends I soon realized that I have more than a few, and in a few different places. I might never know what they truly look like showered and dressed, but it doesn’t matter. To me I have been shown their most important muscle that is hidden ….their heart.

Now get to the gym and make a new friend.

I write this blog today to say thank you to many but especially to Trish Murnane who 7 years ago when she was in school to become a teacher and was working the front desk at the gym,  saw some lady who worked at the gym who she barely knew, with 2 small kids and said, “Hey, do you need any help with your kids?”  Going over and above in the helping with the kids and dog department, I shared with her my tears and yes, some of my biggest secrets than my besties will never know.  Once some chick who worked the front desk…now one of my dearest friends.  

P.S. I also met my BF (boyfriend/best friend at the gym). Never ever talked to me……cute story for another time.


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Hope Nagy Certified Personal Trainer

Hope Nagy Certified Personal Trainer

For Personal Training in the Philadelphia area


or e-mail Hope





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