A woman named Stephanie Lynn Holdmeyer is going viral on Facebook with an open letter to anybody who judges strangers at the gym. After someone wrote a Facebook post about Holdmeyer and her boyfriend thinking they were "hot shit" because they wore their weight belts to the gym, she decided she'd had enough, and needed to address the issue. Especially because that weight belt was related to her recent back surgery.

When Chris & I first started working out at the Rec, we were judged hardcore. Someone even posted on Facebook about the ...

Posted by Stephanie Lynn Holdmeyer on Monday, October 17, 2016

Here's her full post:


When Chris & I first started working out at the Rec, we were judged hardcore. Someone even posted on Facebook about the "buff couple" & how they "thought they're hot shit because they wear their belts all the time". This was about two months after my back surgery & I did indeed wear my lifting belt during almost all of my workouts for support.

My point is, everyone gets judged. People don't bother to understand where you're coming from or why you do the things you do.

That overweight guy? Someone judges him because of his weight, but little do they know he's already lost 100 pounds & has changed his entire life around.

That guy with the skinny legs? He's had seven knee surgeries & he's currently trying to strengthen his legs. It's just a long hard process.

That skinny girl you think "really needs to eat"? She's actually super self conscious about her thin figure & has been trying to gain weight, but her metabolism is super high.

That kid who follows you around & watches everything you do? He looks up to you and wants to learn your workouts, he's just scared to approach you.

That girl with really bad form? She had to mentally prepare to enter the weight room because she was terrified of people judging her. She second guesses every exercise, but she's too intimidated to ask anyone for advice.

That buff dude you think is cocky? He grew up in poverty and working out was his alternative to drugs or alcohol. He's not cocky-just focused.

That woman taking too long on the equipment you want? She's a single mom exhausted from working two jobs & raising three kids. She's trying to push herself to finish her workout, but she needs a little extra rest between sets.

That old man doing strange exercises and talking too much? He decided to get a gym membership to stay active & socialize after his wife passed away last year. Talking to you makes his day & has helped his depression.

There's more to people than what you see. Instead of jumping to conclusions or making judgements, take a moment to consider someone else's perspective.

Don't judge a book by its cover.


Holdmeyer's post has gone viral, with over 85,000 likes and more than 42,000 shares. Many readers are commenting with messages of encouragement, and sharing their own stories of being shamed while they were just trying to work out.


It seems like everyone who's ever gone to the gym has been judged at least once, and feels self-conscious as a result. (For example, I know I run goofy and don't know how to use the weights.) But Stephanie Holdmeyer's letter is an important reminder that you're not going to the gym to look cool—you're going because you care about your health. And anyone who doesn't understand that needs to do work on their mind more than their glutes.