Group Ex Woes: Bullying the Newbie

In all my years of endorphin filled exercise, I never realized how much of a utopic cloud I was living in.

That was until…I changed gyms.

Being an avid group ex-er, I grew accustomed to seeing the same faces and having the same conversations repeatedly. It became like brushing my teeth…except way more sweaty fun and less sudsy.

Leaving my bubble and changing gyms wasn’t my choice. Moving was. I didn’t give the new gym atmosphere much thought until I took my first group exercise class.

Upon entering the room, I wasn’t greeted with the familiar faces I had always known (obviously). Instead I was greeted with what appeared to be Mean Girls: When Moms Take Over.

It wasn’t the way they were standing or that first “Hi, I’m new…and awkward, what’s your name?” engagement that immediately sent me into a negative headspin. It was actually the verbal bashing I received when approaching the contact kickboxing bags.

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Evidently, this band of bullying moms keep a very tight knit circle. They also claim their bags even though they all appear like every other manufactured bag known to man. Oh, I’m sorry that I didn’t notice rudely disrespectful was your name and it was printed on this exact bag.

The story is actually one that bears striking rememblance to children and their toys. They become terrirtorial and the moral of the story is they learn to share…even their most favorite toys…or public use kickboxing bags in this case.

The moms acted no different than a bunch of minors congregating around lockers chatting about the new girl who just moved here from a town that they can’t even pronounce.

I felt threatened and completely humiliated over something so minuscule. I know Mrs. Roosevelt always tells us that no one can make us feel inferior without our consent, but I’m sorry a bunch of jab happy moms were enough for me to surrender.

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When the class finally began I felt like I was in a huge competition. I had taken kickboxing classes before but this one was different…I had to prove myself to these…bags.

I saw eyes on me the entire time. Yes, ladies, just because I’m new doesn’t mean I’m new to exercise. I didn’t let them know I was rattled. I also didn’t make eye contact or utter a word to them. I was trying to be as Switzerland as possible.

I still continue to go to this class because I truly enjoy the class and instructor. The moms are still mean.

I have noticed a group exercise bullying cult. Most of the people who take these classes usually love the instructor or the type of exercise or both. That’s why I go personally.

I am noticing a trend of people ganging up on newbies either by shunning them or verbally assaulting them in some way. Imagine if this were me like 5 years ago? I would have walked out crying.

I think it’s super important to maintain your ground when encountering people of this negative nature. And to think…these women were MOMS! What exactly are you setting your kids up for?

I usually don’t rant but I had to get this out because I’m not the only victim in these kinds of situations. No one has any right to bully you no matter what situation it may fall under.

Bullying isn’t just something that happens on the playground…it’s a very real problem that traverses many different age groups.

Have you ever been a victim of the group ex bully or band of bullies? I hope you never were the one doing the bullying!

Peace, love and no more bullying!

~C.C.D.

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