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So I earned “Member of the Month” recently. I’m not really sure what that means or what the criteria was for such distinction, I just knew somehow I was. But since then, it has become a little clearer. Amongst a sea of really jacked beasts in a land called Iron, there I am, Mr. MOTM, several times a week doing my thing. I don’t lift as much. I’m not as ripped. But someone or several someones noticed me.

While I may not stack up to the ELH contingent (extremely large human) as far as mass, I realized what the trainers, and some of the serious, this-is-my-way-of-life types, and even a few of my breed (Average Joes) were noticing about me. It wasn’t how much weight, but how much work. I had developed a work ethic and discipline. I take pride in that.

Four years ago, when I started this journey, maybe I needed a baby sitter, someone to hold my hand, and encourage (or push) me. Now, my motivation and inspiration comes from being there and seeing the others push themselves. Now I know how to do it, and the wanting to do it comes from inside.

That’s not to say there aren’t days when the gym thing just isn’t happening. It’s easy to let other things come first, the way they used to. But now if I do miss, I make up the time, because it’s a priority. I received one of the greatest compliments recently from one of the People of Iron – the kind you hold on to forever. They said simply, “You work really hard”. They noticed. I have fought through self-doubt and even (against common sense) a good bit of pain. I do work hard.

But while I’ve been so busy being in awe of the beasts around me, I also know some of the Average Joes – the ones who are dangerously overweight; the ones who don’t think they can get through a session, are looking at me. My responsibility as “Member of the Month” is to show them it can happen. I used to be them.

I’m just this side of amazed when I hear people say, “That gym’s not right for me.” While Iron is a completely different gym genre than say, the local Y, it has the same stuff most gyms do. What’s different is the camaraderie. I’ve had several of the beasts make encouraging comments and even stop what they were doing to show me a certain technique. As the song goes, “everyone is helpful…”.

The journey continues…

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