A Thank You Note to the Strangers At My Gym

Photo courtesy of Vancouver Magazine.

Photo courtesy of Vancouver Magazine.

(Almost) every morning, I find myself navigating a sea of familiar faces. Sweaty faces, red faces, faces that emit an energy and a zest for life that is rarely seen during the rest of the day. These are the faces of the strangers at my gym. Well, I guess they’re not really strangers. Although we do not know each other by name, we share a similar mindset that has us rising early -- sometimes even before sunrise -- to get our bodies to the gym.

My gym, Equinox, is so much more than just a gym to me (no, this is not a sponsored post...just a love letter!) It’s my sanctuary, an integral part of my daytime routine. On the rare occasion that I miss my morning workout, I feel “off”. I feel slanted instead of straight. You know the feeling. The truth is, I need my alone time at the gym. My morning gym routine is as essential to my life as drinking water (or drinking coffee for most people). I need to see those familiar faces, the ones belonging to my tribe: the ‘morning people’.

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In my experience, these particular morning people are the devoted ones. We count on each other to be there, rain or shine, no matter how little sleep we were granted the night before. We hold each other to accountability, in a way. As strangers, we never admit this, but it’s implied in the casual waves and the subtle smiles we share in the morning. Ah, you made it. Of course, we never take the conversation much further than this, and that’s all right. That’s the way I like it. My mornings at Equinox are for me, and your mornings are for you. The solo sacredness of the time at the gym relies on this silent agreement of anonymity we vow to keep. And as strangers, we understand that. We are, after all, cut from the same cloth.

What the gym lacks in conversation, it makes up for in pure energy and hustle. One doesn’t need to look far to feel inspired. Just as the ache in my hamstrings has me believing I’ve reached my limit, I look over and see “The Inspiration”. The woman who has been training her ass off for three days in a row. The man who began his journey struggling to complete a full lunge and who can now squat more than me. The trainer who’s already on his third client by the time I show up, who gives me a wink as I start my standard warm-up with resistance bands. These people motivate and push me. I know deep down they’re rooting for me and I am rooting for them.

You strangers give me the energy and fuel I need to start my day with determination and excitement. This is especially true when it comes to the women in the change room. To the ladies who congregate in the Equinox change room every single morning without fail, I say:

You are an inspiration to all of us.

In fact, I often tell my boyfriend: “These women at my gym are the most dedicated, kickass women that I know -- but don’t really know.”

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You are the hustlers, the real heroes of the city, the glass-ceiling smashers, the ones who find the time to make that 6am HIIT class before you assume full boss-lady mode. You leave the change room with a cool trace of sophisticated perfume, your faces artfully painted, your hair perfectly blown out, and your bodies fit and toned under your power dresses and sky high heels.

In this changeroom alone, there is enough determination and confidence to power the entire city. Ultimately, it is these women from whom I gather the strength to face each and every day.

So as another day comes to an end, I would like to take the time to thank the people who make this all possible for me. Thank you strangers and see you tomorrow, bright and early, at the gym. I know that I can count on you to be there.

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Written by Alice Ko, Founder of Love Your Mornings. To discover motivating morning routines, please visit our blog