On why I go to a sketch gym

I love my gym. It’s a very basic gym. We picked it when we were working on paying off our student loans and were trying to spend as little money as possible. $10 a month seemed perfect to us. No childcare, no classes – all very basic. But it was clean and had the equipment I wanted for cardio and weight lifting. Perhaps not in the classiest neighborhood (read: the gym is in between a Goodwill and an abandoned lot & there’s a cop parked outside every day). Definitely not in a part of town I would go by myself after dark. But it’s become like a little home to me. After we paid off our student loans we talked about switching to a safer/nicer/closer gym, but I just couldn’t justify spending $100/month on a gym when I didn’t need any of the other amenities.

gym on carnival elation{I don’t have any photos of me actually working out so this shot of me on our first cruise when I was pretending to work out will have to do}

So I stay at my gym. And I stick out like a sore thumb. Not only am I one of the very few (often only) Caucasian people in the gym, I also wear obnoxiously loud colors (tie dye and neons being my favorites). I get teased rather regularly by the gym folk about being an adult who wears tie dye. But what can I say? It’s bright and happy. πŸ™‚ And I’m also the only person in there walking on a treadmill with my face in a book.

rach tie dye{yup, love that tie-dye}

Speaking of being teased by the gym folk & books… recently I got book shamed by Kieron (one of the new guys who works at the gym). He sees me come in with a book every time and last week he asked me for the first time what I was reading. He couldn’t have asked when I was reading something deep or thought provoking in the weeks prior. Oh no, the day he asked me, I was reading… Vampire Academy. *face palm* I’ve already admitted to you guys that I love YA lit, but it’s a totally different matter to admit it to the new guy at the gym. Ever since then KieronΒ has picked on me for my “bad” taste in literature. Whatevs… he just doesn’t know what he’s missing. πŸ˜‰

asics{even my shoes are bright! love my Asics!}

But my favorite thing about my gym is how often I have had the opportunity to talk to people about Jesus. All my other reasons for not switching gyms are still valid, but this is by far the biggest one. The very first time it happened was a couple of years ago after I’d been coming to the gym regularly for a few months. One day I walked into the gym and JT (the guy at the front desk) stopped me and asked “Why do you smile so much? I have watched you every time you come in here and you’re always smiling at everyone. Why?” I was totally caught off guard at first, but within just a few short minutes I was telling JTΒ about Jesus and how different my life is with Him in it. I didn’t gloss over the hard times, but I did share with him how life as a Christian gives me hope even in the hard times. Since that day I have gotten to know so many staff members at my gym. About their families and financial situations. About their backgrounds and beliefs. I’m not one to push what I believe on other people, but when you ask me why I live and act and speak the way that I do… it’s Β because of Jesus. And I’m happy to share it.

blissful rach{see! very happy! though here I was happy to have just gotten married. but I am always happy about Jesus!}

Do you Β have a gym you love?
Have you ever been book shamed?Β 
Love Rach


37 responses to “On why I go to a sketch gym

  1. Aww, what a lovely post. No need to switch if you love it! My gym is about $40 and while I could go cheaper, I adore it and can’t make the switch! I have those exact Asics. HA, bought two pair before switching completely to minimalist shoes.

    • $40 is totally in my price range for a gym too! Gyms in Memphis are either crazy cheap and minimal (like mine) or $100+ with more features than I could use. Christopher actually goes to the gym at the Jewish Community Center to swim because it’s only $30/month (that’s just to swim, it’s over $100 for the full membership). It’s good you’ve found a place you love!

      Also, I love that we have the same shoes! Shoe twins!! πŸ™‚

  2. This is a great post! I used to get looked at crazy for spending more on my gym membership than $10-15/month like most of the gyms, but I needed childcare so it was worth the extra amount. Now I do have a bond with so many people at my gyms (one for lunch workouts, one for closer to home, same gym group just two locations), and I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. It’s funny how you get attached to a gym. Sounds strange but makes sense to me. And love the bright colors. You should check out those Asics noosas or whatever they are called. Black with every other color on them too! I’ve been waiting to find some on a good sale, lol

    • Oh yeah, once we have kiddos I’ll have to switch gyms to one with childcare so I definitely understand that! And I love that it’s not about the gym itself so much as it’s about the relationships you make with the people there (whether it’s a minimal gym or one with more features). I’m so glad you’ve found a gym you love too!

  3. You are wonderful! That last picture is so perfect!

  4. I go to a not so great gym, but I still love it. It got me to where I am now and I have met some great people at it.

  5. Ahh girl you just made me tear up. What an inspiration to share and show Jesus, thank you!

    I agree that I much prefer the rag tag gyms. In our new locale they don’t have any of those close enough so we hope they will build one soon πŸ™‚

  6. Ahhh, this is wonderful. I bet that you bring a smile to people’s face at the gym every time you’re there. And not just because they’re laughing at your taste in literature. (You know I love the YA fiction, so I’m surprised I haven’t been book shamed before!) You’re just a lovely person to be around – even on the internet!

  7. That really is great! You sharing the love of Jesus wherever you may be! And at least there’s a cop outside – that must bring a little bit of comfort, lol.


  8. You are so awesome. I always wonder when my pastor talks about sharing the Gospel how I’m supposed to just start talking to people about Jesus, but you totally took the opportunity to share, and that is SO cool. I think we forget sometimes that others can see us, and our attitudes do say a lot about other things… like the hope that’s found in Jesus. You rock!

    • I grew up watching my parents do this and our pastor is frequently encouraging us to minister to people everywhere we are. Yesterday he just finished a sermon series on “the theology of work” where he really challenged us to take Jesus into our work places. Christopher is especially good at this. I’ve learned a lot from him. I think stuff like that is a big part of why it comes so easily to me now. πŸ™‚

  9. OH. And P.S. Totally cracking up about the book thing. I *sort of* had that happen to me one time. Sometimes I take a book to church and read it while I’m waiting for band practice to start (we have to get their super early). Anyway, usually I’m reading pretty clean books, generally speaking, but the ONE time our pastor’s wife has ever asked me what I was reading, I was definitely reading something I would NOT recommend to her. It wasn’t 50 Shades or Gray level bad or anything close, but I just wouldn’t recommend what I was reading to a pastor’s wife. (And I didn’t really love the book either.) Afterwards I felt convicted about reading a book I wouldn’t recommend to her. I guess I shamed myself in that scenario!

    • Oh my gracious! Hilarious! And embarrassing! But also a good way to be convicted about the types of things you read. I know that there are some books I’ve read that I wouldn’t go out of my way to mention to my pastor’s wife for sure.

  10. What’s wrong with adults wearing tie dye and reading YA novels? I see no problem with that! I’m surprised I’m not wearing a tie dye t-shirt right now as I type this haha Oh, and I just finished the Hunger Games (was kind of late to the game on that one).

    That’s so cool that you’ve gotten to know all the staff members at your gym! If you went to one of those big gyms, it probably wouldn’t be like that. One of the perks of going to a small gym is that instead of just a mere gym member, you really are part of a small community! Or at least that is what I would imagine. I don’t go to the gym….don’t judge me!

    • No judgement at all! I didn’t go to a gym for a long time there either. I just love the way that weight lifting makes me feel strong! And the cardio is good for my heart (I have a minor heart condition). Otherwise I probably wouldn’t go either. I’m glad I’m not the only one who rocks tie-dye, though! πŸ˜‰

  11. Love this!!!! I love that you’re conscious of how much money you’re spending (so many members of our generation are in terrible debt) AND that you use the gym as a witness to what God has done in your life. I especially love that!!! πŸ™‚ If more people smiled and showed the joy that God has given them (AND used it as an opportunity to share), this world would be an entirely different place. πŸ™‚

    • I know you definitely understand budgets and being mindful of your finances. It’s nice to have a friend who understands that. Of course we live inexpensively so we can do a couple of things with our money: 1. pay off debt (currently working on the house which is all the debt we have left), 2. save for retirement, 3. give generously, and 4. TRAVEL! So I try not to judge other people for using their money differently (like having an expensive gym or buying expensive clothes/cars/etc) because I know it would be easy to judge us for spending money on traveling. Not that you’re judging us, haha! I just started thinking “out loud” as I was responding to you. πŸ˜‰

      • (I loved your question about budgeting with a newborn for my Q&A segment that I’ll be doing so I won’t get into that yet… I’ll have an official take on that when I do my post. Ha, ha). BUT I feel that Nate and I live inexpensively for the same exact reasons! And you’re right, we all use money for different things that are important to us. I noticed that my parents put their extra money into making their house nice, and it’s a labor of love they do together. Nate and I, on the other hand, couldn’t care less about adding super nice updates (although we do put money into the house as needed and try to do a little bit of work on it every year),but we LOVE to travel. That’s what we save for (in addition to paying off debt, giving, and retirement). We just have the house and carpayment as debt, and I can’t wait for those to be paid off someday. Ha, ha. πŸ™‚ But, yes, I’m all about bargain shopping for clothes (with the occasional splurge purchase if it’s an investment piece) and budgeting play money. And I couldn’t care less about fancy manicures, facials, pricey gyms / cars etc. either. But as you said, we all use our money differently. But I think there is such freedom in only spending what you have… and saving for what you want. πŸ™‚ A lot of couples fight (and even divorce) over finances, and it’s so sad!!

        • I look forward to hearing more about how finances/budgeting has changed with a baby on board once you get that finished! I feel like you guys are so similar to us in a lot of ways so it’s nice to hear from someone who is a step ahead of us. Oh, and I’m with you on bargain hunting for clothes. Seriously you and I should be neighbors. We’d be besties. πŸ˜‰

  12. Awww! You are so cute! …and I love your last little quote! Jesus makes me happy too!! ❀

  13. You are FAR braver than me.. I am planning on going to one of those mega gyms with childcare and classes and the works. It’s almost a kind of safety net of sorts.. since I’ll be signing up after having the baby, if I don’t stick with it, I’ll be just like every other gal who signs up, haha! Anyhoo, looks like you have a good thing going though! ❀ – http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

  14. I love this post so much!! I think it’s so cool that you choose to keep going to a less fancy gym for the relationships, and the chance to share Jesus! Good for you, girl! And such a good reminder that our attitudes affect people all the time, even when it seems like we’re doing something individualistic, like working out. Definitely a reminder I need; I’m the happy and conscious of others type 90% of the time, but I’m often tempted to just keep to myself at the gym, since I’m not a fan of working out, and I tend to assume that everyone else is just as bummed to be there πŸ˜‰

    • ​Oh girl, don’t get me wrong… when I’m actually in the zone and working out… I don’t talk to anyone. πŸ˜‰ I’ve got my headphones on rocking out. I talk to the staff at the front desk as I come in and as I leave. Of course that doesn’t stop them from talking to me while I’m working out. That happens pretty frequently. Last week I nearly fell off a treadmill in fright when Kieron popped up on the treadmill next to mine and asked a question about the book I was reading. He felt terrible about scaring me, but I assured him that I spook easily and that I wasn’t going to sue the gym for me nearly falling off the treadmill. πŸ˜‰

      I learned a lot of this from Christopher. He is a big believer in how important it is to know people’s names and to call them by their names. So we know the names of all the staff at our gym as well as at Starbucks. And there is a huge difference between when I walk into our Starbucks and know every single person working and ask them (by name) how their weekend was vs walking into a Starbucks where I know no one and asking how their day is going. People are polite, but until they get to know you, they don’t open up. And calling them by their names goes a long way to opening them up. At least that’s my theory why the staff at Starbucks & our gym share so much with us. Just because they feel like we are invested in their story. πŸ™‚

  15. Amanda at The Lady Okie linked to this blog and I’m so glad she did. This was encouraging and challenging to me in my outlook for the day and interactions with others. Thanks for writing, sharing to us and especially sharing Jesus with so many along the way. πŸ™‚

  16. I love this post! It is neat to see the open doors God can give you in a place you frequent!

  17. “Sometimes we are the only Bibles people will ever get to read”. So glad you share Jesus by the way you live πŸ™‚

  18. Pingback: An awkward moment as told by the cast of Friends |

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