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Instructor Inspection

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Even after a full year membership at the gym, I still consider myself a novice.  I began cautiously.  Only using equipment and areas I knew I couldn't manage to fumble with.  These items included:   the elliptical machine, the treadmill, and the sauna.  I became bold, or rather bored.  Thus I ventured into the wide world of classes.  My favorites include:  yoga, Pilates, and Zumba.  Until yesterday, I was envious of every single instructor who I had the pleasure of learning from.  Perfect bodies, outgoing personalities, and perfect bodies.  (Yes I mentioned perfect bodies twice.)  The reason:  this was the entire purpose behind my gym membership.  To obtain the six pack abs, toned and slim legs, sleek arms, and the tight derriere.  My personal goal : less jiggle when I wiggle.

The more classes I took, the more accustomed I became to being incredibly jealous of the instructor's finely tuned body.  But as I started gaining looks of envy for my increasingly finely tuned body, I became less jealous and more zealous to do exactly what was being taught.  It became clear, the instructor's were giving exquisite tutorials on how to obtain a perfect physique.
So upon entering the 10:30 a.m. Saturday Zumba class, I mentally prepared myself for the common scenario.  The perky, size 0 blonde instructor comes bouncing through the door ready to exhaust the hell out of me and a room full of desperate housewives.  Instead, a robust, size twelve (possibly fourteen) redhead comes strutting through the door and begins to adjust her playlist.  I figured she was a substitute.  I figured wrong.

She introduced herself as Betsy and began rattling on about a new song she was introducing into the mix.  After taking off her jacket to reveal a one size too small shirt, the warm-up began.  The music was loud, the dance moves were jumbled, and my feelings were mixed.  I fought the urge to stare at my enthusiastic instructor's beach ball shaped belly, her jiggly arms, and her meaty thighs.

I did well focusing upon the moves and suppressing the excuses for Betsy's excess weight. Perhaps she recently had a baby, although she looked well past forty-five.  Maybe she was on medication that increased her weight dramatically, although she looked perfectly healthy.  Maybe she was a new instructor, although I recall for the last few months pulling up class information and seeing her name as the full-time instructor.  I simply could not make any excuses for my current instructor's lack of visual perfection.

This was a new emotion regarding my gym experiences.  I did everything I could to dissuade myself from judging based on physical looks.  In fact I have gone to great lengths to support overweight individuals in the struggle not to be judged.  And here after a lifetime of supporting larger individuals, I was getting caught up in how my Zumba instructor could be forty to fifty pounds overweight and still help me lose my three pounds in order to obtain 'ideal weight bliss. I felt bad for not being jealous of my instructor.

The experience has pushed me to reevaluate how to perceive the gym.  I must not expect everyone who is employed at a gym to look immaculate.  I already know that the exterior is simply one facet of an individual.  And now I know that my gym does not discriminate on any level, which in itself is a truly comforting thought.


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