I love seeing friendships develop at the gym. Our culture here at Fit St. Charles is very supportive – people of all ages and fitness levels generally encourage each other in the workouts – I love that. This universal acceptance is one of the things that sets us aside from the big box gyms. At Fit St. Charles, no matter who you are or what your fitness goals are, you can find a non-judgmental and encouraging atmosphere in which to workout. Sometimes, within the friendly atmosphere of the gym, true friendships develop. Not everyone is interested in making friendships at the gym and that’s ok, too. Those that do and those that don’t are equally welcome – our coaches are just happy that there are no cliques or drama here!
The friendships that do develop during athletic pursuit are special – they are usually rooted in common goals and a common philosophy that supports the value of each person. I’ve experienced this in other settings. Most runners will tell you, for example, that the friendships developed on the running trail are unique and, often, the closest friendships that they have. I believe that this is, in part, because we all become vulnerable when we push our physical limits. For some, that vulnerability is frightening, and they won’t risk it. For others, it is an opportunity for growth. When someone encourages you when you are outside of your comfort zone (either physically or mentally), a path to friendship is created; a path that widens and becomes more beautiful each time it is trodden. This path helps to broaden the comfort zone and enable our friends to become stronger and grow strength that extends beyond the gym.
Gym friends are terrific in that they support one another in healthy habits. While these friends may or may not do many things beyond the gym, one component that is consistent is their encouragement of one another to meet their fitness and health goals.