Yesterday, as I was at the gym, sweating away on the elliptical, I looked around and felt a surge of love. It’s not just that I love my gym (I’ve only been there about four months and honestly, I don’t feel like we’ve really bonded yet), it’s just that I love THE gym. Do you feel it too? It kinda makes me want to gush a little, so here I go.
Does this inspire you? No, me either. So #1 is that the gym is inspiring. At home, there are lots of distractions, like that pile of laundry on the couch behind you. As much as you want to hear Jillian Michaels yell at you to work harder, the to-do list sometimes calls a little louder. Plus, maybe you have kids who wonder, “why is she jumping so much faster than you, mommy?” which doesn’t do much for your concentration (or confidence) level. The gym atmosphere gets you in workout mode, with lots of sweaty, like-minded exercisers working toward their goal. Well, most of them at least! Plus, I love to see people of many shapes, sizes and fitness levels all trying to do the same thing–become better versions of themselves. It makes me want to work harder too.
Which brings me to #2. Watching other people workout is not only inspiring, it also gives you some great new ideas for your own routine. While you’re on the treadmill, look around. Watch the trainers with their clients; or that super ripped guy you see trying a new body-weight exercise every week; or the women doing circuit training who’s lost 30 pounds. Maybe they’re doing something you’ve never done, or something you’ve forgotten about. Just make sure the person you’re watching seems knowledgeable and has good form; you don’t want to pick up bad habits. Not sure? It never hurts to ask a trainer for help.
My #3 reason is pretty simple: the gym has great equipment. You’d have to spend quite a bit of money to pimp out your home gym with the same toys your membership gets you. Granted, you don’t need fancy equipment to get a good workout-you could be totally fit just doing body-weight exercises-but the toys sure make it more fun. Plus, the more options you have, the easier it is to switch things up when you feel a little stagnant. So don’t get stuck in the rut of doing the same eight machines over and over again. For example, here are three ways you can do a row:
The last reason for lovin’ the gym? #5 is about community. Initially, you might not think this is very important. Maybe you like to enjoy the gym solo because it’s your only alone time. Or maybe you want to workout at your own pace, and adding someone else to the mix would slow you down (or intimidate you with their super powers). That’s ok. Having a gym community doesn’t have to become social hour if that’s not your bag. My dad is a perfect example of this. I’ve been to the gym with him a few times, and he mostly does his workout in peace. But he does have a group of “gym buddies” that he chats with a little bit here and there. They keep tabs on each other and notice when someone goes missing for more than a workout or two. It’s a great way to feel a little more invested in your workout, and your gym.
If, on the other hand, you love to be social, you can really whoop it up at the gym. Group fitness classes are the perfect way to make exercise more fun and dynamic, and there is something for everyone. Yoga obviously has a calm, introspective atmosphere, while Zumba gets you laughing and dancing. In my own experience, classes like RPM and Body Pump can be a mix of fun and competitive, depending on your goal (and probably the time of day you attend).
So readers, what do you love about the gym? Does your workout center have that special something that keeps you coming back? Are you a gym snob like me? Remember, this is the time to be nice and show the love. Don’t tell me what irritates you about the gym–don’t worry, you’ll get the chance for that another day!
Btw, all photos (except the one of my laundry) are from Shape.com.