Friends in Orange Places
For single people, there can often be an ulterior motive for going to the gym. Of course they want to get a good workout, get in shape, be healthy, and boost their energy. But a lot of them are also looking to hook up.
That’s part of the reason that some women don’t like the gym—they feel like it’s a “meat market” and they don’t want to be bothered. Others love that aspect, and purposely get dolled-up to do their workout thang, with the secondary goal of catching a hottie’s eye.
Back in my single days, during the random stretches that I actually went to a gym, I was so focused on trying to figure out the equipment and not look like a complete dork that the last thing on my mind was trying to meet anyone. Now that I’m married, “hooking up” at the gym has a whole new meaning.
I’m talking about friends. Workout buddies. Comrades in exercise. Don’t get me wrong—when I started the Weight Loss Challenge at Orangetheory Fitness, I wasn’t trying to become best buds with anybody and sit around singing Kumbaya together after our workouts. I was trying not to pass out on the rowing machine. But I was pleasantly surprised by the friendliness not just of the OTF staff, but of the members.
The support started on day one, when the staff welcomed me like I was a long-lost friend they were SO HAPPY to see. That was cool, and it made me feel good. And even cooler, it’s still that way. They’re just as welcoming now as they were when I first started, and I like that. It’s part of what motivates me to get off the couch and show up for class.
But what I realized is that their attitude sets the tone for all of us, and helps us encourage each other. I’ve struck up conversations with some really nice people as we were waiting for class to start. I’ve started seeing the same folks at some of the classes. We commiserate over splat points and how many pounds we’re losing. It’s like a little support group.
Take Yukari and Shawn, for example. Coworkers and friends, they’ve been coming to Orangetheory just a little longer than I have. I met them one night after class and kept seeing them on certain days.
Yukari moved here from Japan a few years ago. She said she likes it here, but the culture and lifestyle changes translated into her gaining weight.
“In Japan you walk a lot more, take the stairs, and live an active life,” she told me. “I drive a lot more here and I like American food, too—eggs, cheese, beef, and I love huevos rancheros.”
Me too, Yukari. But I don’t have moving to a different country as a good excuse for gaining weight.
Yukari heard about Orangetheory from a coworker, and recruited Shawn to try it with her. Now both women are hooked. They challenge each other during class and spur each other on as needed. That’s perfect for Shawn.
“I think it helps because I'm a competitive person so I'm like, ‘This girl can't beat me!’” she laughed. “I see the person next to me who seems to be doing the same as me and I compete. And I yell to Yukari to keep going. It fosters a healthy competitive spirit.”
I’ve enjoyed getting to know Yukari and Shawn during our brief conversations. They even gave me tips about using the OTF app. And now, they encourage me, too.
“Come on Kristi, you’ve got this!” I’ve heard Shawn yell out on more than one occasion when I’ve been ready to tell that rower what it can do with itself.
And there are other folks in my various classes whose names I never got, who provide encouragement as well. Several times I’ve been heading from the treadmill to the weight floor and gotten a high-five from another member. That unspoken support (often because we’re both out of breath) is a boost that seems to happen at just the right time.
A few times, I’ve even run into friends of mine that I didn’t realize were OTF members. One Sunday, I saw that two of my friends, Stephanie and Erin, were in the same class. Afterward, we hung out for waaaay too long catching up (props to the OTF staffers for not kicking us out).
So I have to say, I’m digging the social aspect of Orangetheory Fitness. I need that, it helps me stay motivated, and it makes working out more fun. It’s good to have friends in Orange places.