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It’s official! I am now a brand-new member of the gym again, thanks to my employer. Can you believe this place? Offering gym memberships to all of its employees, among all the other things they do for us? I went last night and, although I had never been inside that particular gym before, I felt like I was right at home. I even walked confidently over to the weight lifting area where all the sinewy dudes were grunting and claimed a bench for my own 20-minute strength routine. (PS, I know it’s not fair to judge other people at the gym, but some of those sinewy dudes had terrible form. I just thought I’d inject that lest you be intimidated by joining the gym because of the likes of these dudes. They are, in fact, imperfect, just like the rest of us.)

I remember walking into a first gym for the first time. It was like walking into a foreign country and not knowing the language, the etiquette, or the popular fashion. But once you start going regularly, taking the gym up on their offer for a free personal training session, attending group classes, and reading the trade magazines (for me, these are Self and Shape), you get to know the territory. If you start watching what other people are doing, you begin to notice habits and patterns. Maybe no one told you that you’re supposed to wipe down the equipment, but you notice several people grab the spray bottle while you’re on the treadmill. Ah-ha, take a note to self… Please, try not to be intimidated (though you will be), try to get into the habit, and just take a look around. We’re all glad you’re here. And you’ll be a gym rat in no time!

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