My gym, American Iron, is a lifting gym. No daycare. No classes. No pool. No sauna. No whirlpool.

It’s a power lifting, strength training, bodybuilding gym. There are plenty of members who have general health goals, but there are a lot of athletes,  power lifters, and bodybuilders. The place is a little intimidating at first. But the owners and the members make a special effort to make new members feel at ease. I was a member for several months before I started going regularly a year ago. When I started, I was walked around and introduced to all the “regulars” so I would feel comfortable.

After you walk in and check in, you have to walk down this long hallway to the gym and locker rooms. Both sides of this corridor are covered with pictures of competitors – all kinds. Bodybuilders, power lifters, Olympic lifters – most pictures are autographed. Most autographs include a message of “thanks” to the owners, Bob and Tammy. That first day, I saw an autographed poster of Cory Everson. As I walked down that hall the first time, I thought “how cool would it be have my picture on this wall?” At the time, I didn’t look like a competitor – far from it.

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I look at those pictures every morning. I’ve picked out my favorites for inspiration. That large poster of Cory greeted me every morning for the last year. She’s a great inspirational figure for me. On tough days, I touched it as I walked by. When I was supposed to be napping between lunch and the night show of my competition, I really spent the time watching YouTube videos of Cory’s guest posing routines.

So I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. Today my picture was on the wall when I walked down that hallway. They asked for a copy of the one with my before pictures because they thought it would be inspirational to other members. I agree – when I started, it was helpful to see pictures like that. At the time, I only had “The Biggest Loser” and internet pictures of people I didn’t know. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share them now with the people who supported me during the process. Especially the people at this gym. They stepped in when I needed help. Hubby made a print, I signed it, framed it, and dropped it off at the front desk a few days ago. Tammy told me that Bob was going to find a special place for it. I assumed that meant they wanted it in a good spot for other members to see. I had hoped it would be close to Cory’s poster, but I didn’t say anything. I decided that when it was hung up, I’d discretely measure the distance between my picture and Cory’s poster. I really didn’t think “special” meant a place that would be special to me.

The “special place” Bob chose was directly under Cory’s poster. I have no idea if that was intentional or a happy accident, but when I saw it, I teared up a little.  It’s the perfect place.  I would never have asked for that, but it’s perfect.  Now, I want to work harder.

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That’s me^^^ under Cory’s poster.

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