Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Kill 'em with Kindness

So a couple weeks ago, I made a mistake.

I over extended myself with workouts, I didn't sleep enough, and I didn't eat enough.

I was just go go going from one thing to the next, and when I got back to the gym to teach my second of 3 classes that day, I let my exhaustion get the best of me in the parking lot. A woman in another car and I had a non-verbal misunderstanding about a parking spot and I threw my hands up in frustration. I knew better, but I was tired and my filters were down. I didn't flip her off, just threw my hands up. 

The problem with parking lots is, everyone can use them. And everyone can stop in them. And wait for you to get out of your car to demand an answer for why you made any given gesture. And then comment on your apparent sense of entitlement to a "god-appointed parking spot" and alleged insufficiency as a human being. 

Suffice it to say, we both overreacted. 

The problem (and actually saving grace - I kept my temper under control a lot better because of this) is that we were in front of my place of work, and I was about to go teach spin. There was a very real chance that this woman, who actually did follow me into the gym, was about to be in my class. I kept my words as civil as my low blood sugar would allow, but she still got to me. I ended up shaking in the back room for about 5 minutes before I could go back out to the spin room and hope that she didn't show up in my class. 

She didn't end up coming in (she didn't even have workout clothes with or on her), but ever since then I've been sort of wary that I might end up running into her again. I don't know this woman from Eve, and I can barely even remember details about her...glasses? Short brown hair? That narrows it down. 

But this morning, when a woman matching that description came into the bootcamp class I subbed, I realized that there's a shift that happened at some point in the last couple of weeks. Instead of dreading this mystery parking lot lady, I've started teaching every class as if she *is* going to show up, and I have a point to prove. 

She judged me off of a 5 minute interaction at the middle-end of a VERY long day, in which I felt cornered and defensive. That's not my best side. Not even a little. It makes me angry that she got that snapshot of me in her mind. 

So now, every time someone who could potentially be her comes in (and that's pretty much every woman roughly 50ish years old with short brown hair and glasses...so like half the class) I find myself becoming obnoxiously encouraging and positive. Because if nothing else, I need to prove to myself that what she saw when I was (literally) backed into a corner wasn't me. That was a bad moment and I'm not going to let it happen again. 

So thanks, random parking lot lady. You've made me a better person. So there. 

Monday, November 4, 2013


Teaching group ex is a roller coaster. It can get really frustrating when you show up with a really well-planned class and find only 2 people came...and they sit on opposite sides of the room.

I'm still struggling with adjusting my attitude on this one. I know I should be better about treating it like a small group personal training session, but invariably the weeks that only 2 people show up, they're brand new people whose goals I haven't gotten to understand yet. It becomes a toss up between taking a few minutes to get to know people who may never show up again to tailor the class to them on the fly, and just going with whatever I had planned and hoping some of it aligns with what they need. It's definitely easier to just go with what I had planned, especially since most people coming to a group ex class aren't there because they want a custom class - they nearly never know how to answer the question "what do you want to get out of this?" 

But, we carry on.

This morning, though, was a good one. I had 6 people in tabata. I was a little nervous that no one would come because the bus got there late and no one was there when I got there at like 6:29. Within a couple minutes though, 6 people showed up (including 2 newbies). The class worked hard, and my favorite regular was very vocal...I love that.

She laughs a lot when I tell everyone to make it harder, but at the end of the day she still does it. I pointed out today that it's taking her longer and longer to start laughing at me, which must mean it's getting easier - progress!

That same regular told me that she specifically emailed my manager to tell her that she wants me to teach a Saturday morning class - and that she's already got at least one other person recruited to come regularly.

I'm honestly flattered that she's seeking me out so much. It's really sweet.

Then, one of my other regulars shared some new stats with me about his fitness goals and such. He was really excited and proud of himself, which was great to see. The icing on the cake though? After spouting off all his achievements, he ended with "so you should definitely take some credit for that."

I just...so needed to hear that.

It's a good day.