There I was, drowning in my own sweat that had pooled on top of the gym mat I was sprawled out on. I was exhausted, sore, and still thinking about the thoughts that ran through many heads before people stepped foot into the hour-long class from hell.
A woman, somewhere in her thirties, had walked up to the classroom inside the gym where a small group of people wearing workout clothes, including myself, waiting for the door to be unlocked. The woman had her long brown hair in a ponytail, thick cropped gray yoga pants and a large white T-shirt covering her protruding stomach. She mumbled something about keys and walked back to wherever she came from.
The woman came back to the classroom with keys in her hand and opened the door. The small group of people followed her into the room and stood around waiting for the class to start.
“This is my first time taking this class,” a girl whispered to me.
I responded with a, “me too,” and continued to stand around looking confused.
The woman began giving us directions on what equipment we needed for the class that day and started to pull out a CD from the CD case in her bag.
“Wait, she’s the instructor.” The girl next to me said. For a moment at the beginning of the class this girl had made an assumption about someone she had never met. She had no clue what the instructor was capable of or what she could do, and the girl let the terrible stereotypes associated with the instructor’s curvy physique block her from seeing the hardcore athlete this person actually was.
“Does she work everyone really hard? Like are there a lot of reps?” the girl asked another person who had taken the class before.
“Yeah, she works you hard. You will be dying by the end of the class.”
She didn’t have any well-defined muscles or a slim figure, but from the start of the workout we all realized that she was a strong, very fit and a healthy individual who could run marathons around us and then kick our butts at the amount of pushups, sit-ups and arm exercises one could do.
Somewhere in between the boot camp-like torture, I had to cheat and rest for second and take a breather while the instructor continued to crank out sit-ups and pushups like it was nobody’s business. I looked around me, and the slimmest girl in the room looked like she had died several hours ago. I sat up to check and see if she was still breathing when I noticed her hand twitch and her eyes blinking. Whatever confidence in my athletic ability I thought I had before that class had shot itself out the window in flames.
That old, don’t judge a book by its cover, was so relevant in this situation that it was crazy. That girl from class realized that you can’t assume the fitness level of any person based on how they look. Thinner people can be unhealthy, overweight people can be healthy and vice versa. Anyone that is not that person’s doctor should refrain themselves from suggesting to someone that they have to alter their weight and way of life. Focusing on being kind, compassionate and open-minded can really get you farther in life, and help people treat others with the same trust and dignity that they would do with themselves.