How many of you hate the skinny girls, the muscle guys ... the "pretty people?" I know I did. I used to hate their guts. No lie.

I'd see them out and about, looking all toned with a spring in their step. Clothes fit them, they didn't wheeze, and they laughed just a bit too much. I managed to not kill them by assuming them to be egotistical jerks, slow-witted or giggly.

My loathing for them also made me stay out of gyms. I knew that's where they congregated. Besides, I had better things to do with my time.

Eventually, I got sick and tired of my constant war against myself - against the "skinny world" for that matter. My anger at myself became greater than my hatred of "them" and I sucked it up. I entered a gym.

Wearing my sweat pants and a giant T-shirt (that I kept tugging at because it clung in places I didn't want accentuated), I walked into the weight room. I saw a few heads turn and I clearly remember feeling judged. I forced myself to ignore it and pushed forward.

I was sore for weeks. I did too much and probably with questionable technique. But I did it, and I kept doing it. Sometimes anger really is your friend.

Over time, as I became a "regular," the others began to chat with me. Muscle-head guys befriended me. Skinny girls I used to hate were nice to me - they complimented me. My guard began to drop. The muscle-heads started showing me new exercises, suggesting books and talking to me about protein. Skinny girls shared their fat pictures - wowing me with how far they'd come.

I had an epiphany one day: The pretty people I'd always hated didn't just wake up pretty everyday. They worked at it. In front of me was a guy who looked like a magazine cover, sweating his guts out on a stair climber. A skinny girl was over doing ab crunches. It was a weight-lifting guy who introduced me to the concept of tracking my food on a sheet - and keeping my protein up. I think he even talked about his "fat pants" once.

They had the same challenges I had; they had just been doing something about it all the time I was busy hating them. I never hated poor people who worked hard and wound up rich. Then why should I hate fit people who work just as hard?

As I revisit my first moments in the gym, in all honesty, they were probably looking at me thinking, "Who's the new girl?" - not "Who's the fat girl?" I wasted a lot of time. Learn from my mistake. Don't be hating.

NSCA certified personal trainer Shannon Sorrels has a bachelor's degree in chemistry and an MBA. Her company, Physix LLC, works with Valley individuals as well as groups to improve their overall fitness. Reach her at (480) 528-5660 or visit

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