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Fitness Is My Family

Finding a workout that works isn’t just about getting in shape. It’s about finding your tribe.

“Honestly,” confided the woman sitting cross-legged on the mat next to me, “I spend more time with my yoga friends than I do my own family!”

Her comment got me thinking. Going to the gym these days is about more than a workout … it’s about adopting an entire lifestyle. Show me a line-up of folks from my local Crossfit, Barre, TRX, pilates, SoulCycle, and yoga studios, and chances are, I’ll be able to tell you who’s who.

Yogis listen to Krishna Das and wear the latest Lululemon pants to the local natural grocery store. Crossfit fanatics rock the short-shorts-with-knee-high-socks look and listen to death metal as they’re doing squats. Barre devotees wrap their hair in a bun, freshen their lipgloss, and aren’t shy about wearing a full-body leotard with ballet flats. You get the idea.

It may sound like a superficial exercise in stereotyping, but it’s much more than that. When we really get into a new fitness regimen, we take take on the “look” of that subculture, we read recommended books and articles, we listen to a certain kind of music, we even eat a specific kind of food. Fashion, food, music, books: those are exactly the kind of things that connect us to one another and give us a sense of community. Finding a workout that works isn’t just about getting in shape. It’s about finding your tribe.

While we’re talking about fitness and community, a side note: have you noticed that some fitness centers are becoming full-service community centers?

Take VillaSport in Colorado Springs, for instance. Like many fitness centers across the country, they host live music performances at the pool, express mani-pedis, family tea parties, holistic facelifts, women-in-business networking nights, wine seminars, chili cook-offs, daddy-daughter dances, even breakfast with Santa. The list goes on and on.

So where do we gather these days when we’re looking for a sense of community? Where in our lives do we find like-minded people? Where do we find our friends? It used to be: work, school, church. And now we can add … the gym.

“Fitness Is My Family” … I can see the t-shirt now!

Photo Credit: antoniodiaz/

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