Health and Fitness Column

Is being fit a negative?

By John Taylor | Aug 26, 2014
Photo by: File John Taylor

I get to work about thirty minutes early each day so that I can run around the local track. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to enjoy running as a form of exercise, a feeling that does not seemed to be shared by my co-workers.
When I speak with my colleagues throughout the day, I am often told they saw me running as they drove into the parking lot. “If you get here a little earlier, we could run together before work,” I often say.
Sometimes I get a laugh or an occasional scoff, but I often receive a flat-out, “No,” as a response to my invitation.
I am also realizing the employee lounge during lunch breaks is not a welcomed place for me. I will often greet my co-workers on my way to the copy machine, but the gestures are usually met with, “don’t watch what I am eating,”’or “I know you are disappointed with my food choices.”
Really? When did I become that guy? People really think they need to explain their exercise habits or lunches to me? In a very polite and diplomatic way, I often have to tell them I could care less about their health-related choices.
I even found I work with someone who was so self-conscious while being around me due to a preconceived notion I was judging her, I made a ridiculous joke to lighten the mood.
“You know the only reason I run each day is because my wife is really hot, and she’ll divorce me if I gain weight,” I told her. Nothing could be farther from the truth (the divorce wife really is smoking hot), but after I made this comment, my co-worker seemed to be more comfortable around me.
So when she thought I was running to improve my fitness levels, I was judgmental and wanted to talk down to people living unhealthy lifestyles. But as soon as I said I am only staying in shape to appease my wife, I am suddenly a nicer person?
The logic seems ludicrous, right? Are there people out there who think that the only reason married people stay fit is to make their significant other happy, but if they were single, these fit individuals would start packing on the pounds?
Yes, I would like to speak with my co-workers without them feeling self-conscious and realize I value them more as people first and I don’t spend time thinking about their waistlines.
The topic of reverse discrimination for being too fit has made recently national headlines after a woman in Richmond, California was asked to stop going to her local gym because the other members were “intimidated” by her fit physique.
Tiffany Austin said that multiple “Planet Fitness” employees approached and asked that she wear clothes that didn’t show off her toned physique. According to the employees, Austin’s appearance was displaying “gymidation.” Yes, that is what “Planet Fitness” calls it.
Never in my life would I have expected being fit was a bad thing in certain environments. In this age when living at a healthy weight is such a medical emphasis, I think certain segments of our society are really messed up if being fit is seen as a negative.
Seriously, if this trend continues, the Queen of Hearts would have never ordered Alice’s head to be chopped off. The White Rabbit would have told Alice she wasn’t allowed to follow him into Wonderland because she was too skinny.