When I Saw This Guy at the Gym, I Stopped Making Excuses

no excuses

I turned up the volume on my headphones to try to concentrate.  My head was slightly lowered I finished my set and took a few deep breaths of recovery.

I try to drown out the sounds of a crowded gym.  Breathing.  Grunting.  The clang of weights being racked, bad pop music from the speakers, and the swearing of that meat-head next to you.  The shuffling and tapping...

Wait, shuffling?  Was that shuffling?  I don't typically look around at the gym; I go there to get my work done and get out of there.  But that was indeed shuffling, accompanied an unmistakable "tap...tap...tapping" on the rubber floor.

I looked to my left and saw the cane first.  My eyes rose curiously to meet this man face to face.  As with any encounter with someone new in public, I readied my facial expressions and voice to say "Hello" and acknowledge him (everyone should feel welcome at the gym, right?).

And as I made eye contact I noticed through his distant gaze that his eyes didn't meet mine.

The man was completely visually impaired.  He shuffled along at a snails pace, one hand controlling his cane and one hand extended in front of him, slowly moving side to side as he searched for another machine.

I holstered my salutation and rose quickly from my bench.

"Hey man, are you wanting a certain machine?" I asked.  "Yes," he replied, "the bench press machine".  He was right there!  I grabbed his arm and put his hand on the machine.  I couldn't help but watch with amazement as he set the pin in the desired location on the weight stack and he continued his workout.  He was oblivious to how inspired I was.  He had done this hundreds (thousands?) of times in his life and thought nothing of it.

At that moment, I stopped making excuses.

If this man can overcome his impairment and put together a solid work out, what is my excuse?  If he can endure the discomfort (inconvenience, if nothing else) of navigating a crowded gym, what is holding YOU back?  What are YOU afraid of?

People will laugh at me because I don't know how to use a certain machine!  Ask someone for help.

Bigger guys will make fun of me because I am not as strong as they are!  Ignore them - they had to start somewhere too.

Don't have a pity party for yourself.  Your life isn't so hard.  The challenges you're facing that are keeping you from the healthy lifestyle you've always wanted are nothing compared to this dude.  Get started, be bold, and stick with it.

The next time I see this guy at the gym, I'm going to make sure to ask him his name.  I might even see if he wants to work out together.

What do you think?

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