…and why it makes me angry.
I joined a Crossfit “box” (that’s what they call a gym in Crossfit lingo) a couple of years ago. I was looking to challenge myself physically a bit more than my classes at the YMCA could provide for me and I wanted to maybe even meet some people; make some friends who were interested in a healthy lifestyle.
So, I joined a box in my area and showed up for my first class. As the front desk person was giving me a tour, she showed me the refrigerator that was stocked with bottles of water for purchase. I also noticed that the entire lower shelves were stocked with beer. I thought that was odd, but chalked it up to the owner maybe enjoying a cold beer when she was up there doing paperwork or cleaning or whatever. Who am I to judge?
Then, I started getting emails about a special Friday afternoon Crossfit class that ended with a “Happy Hour.” The photos showed up on my Facebook feed of the class participants, still sweaty and dirty from the WOD (workout of the day) doing handstand/kegstand-type of maneuvers, guzzling beer like college students. This rubbed me the wrong way.
Then, at the holidays, there were several social get togethers both at the gym and at the owner’s home where alcohol was predominantly featured–and I don’t mean a festive glass of wine–I mean jello shots and beer bongs.
It was very common for my fellow classmates to show up for the Monday morning class hungover, reeking of alcohol from the weekend before, complaining (or bragging?) about how much they’d had to drink over the weekend and commiserating over shared weekend shenanigans with fellow classmates and even coaches.
All of this really made me angry.
First of all, I joined a gym to try and engage in a healthy lifestyle. I hoped to surround myself with people who were health conscious and maybe not still drinking like college-age people at my age (40-something). Some of these heavy-drinking classmates were also mothers like me. I knew that I absolutely didn’t want any part of that scene.
Also, I learned that the owner of the gym is a recovering addict herself. I can’t speak to her current sobriety, but she was prominently featured in all of the social media photos cheering on the shot-taking and jokingly holding the beer bong for other gym members at the Friday Happy Hour class.
Long story, short: Due to a handful of factors, I canceled my membership to this gym. I’m not going to lie–the college student-like approach to drinking and socializing was a big factor, as was the owner’s laissez faire attitude about the drinking habits of the other gym members.
All of the drinking that was going on at the gym and with other gym members didn’t trigger me or make me want to drink–quite the contrary–but I did feel excluded. I had hoped to make a few connections at this gym, but it became clear to me that if you didn’t go out and drink with everyone else, you weren’t “part of the club” and this quickly became a “club” that I didn’t care to be a part of.
From what I see though, my experience at this “box” isn’t necessarily an isolated scenario. I see more and more gyms luring members with promises of social gatherings at local breweries and wine tastings and happy hour classes that end with drinks. I mean, there’s even a Wine Workout that someone came up with. I’m sorry, but…WHAT?
I’m not judging people who can drink socially but I’d really like to see a gym or a fitness professional NOT advocate drinking. Just for once. Not only is drinking your calories not a good idea if you’re trying to lose weight, but it’s also a dangerous habit to introduce to your members.
Can we really not do anything without alcohol? Can’t we go for a few days a week without drinking alcohol, or is that unfathomable?