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What’s Keeping You From the Gym?

Fitness Column by Bonnie Pfiester, as seen in print and online in Vero’s Voice magazine.

“Why are you avoiding the gym?”

It’s February and you may still be talking about making New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you’ve just been too busy to go to the gym – or maybe you just aren’t convinced the gym is a place you want to be. Sometimes I think the media would even scare me from joining a gym too if I didn’t know better.

Unfortunately, many people have the wrong idea of what a gym is and what it actually can do for them. Hopefully, when you are done reading this, you will not only giggle a little, but you will look at gyms a bit differently.

These are actual statements I’ve heard from people talking about gyms.

1. “I want to lose weight before I join a gym.”
I can’t tell you how many people have told me they plan to join a gym after they lose a few pounds. Although this sounds crazy to me, it seems so logical to the person saying it. In their mind, they want to look better before they start working out in front of people. In my mind, I’m thinking that’s what a gym is for – to help you look better. If you are even entertaining trying to get on fit on your own in order to get more fit in the gym, please rethink this madness. You wouldn’t try to get your life together before going to a therapist. You’d go to the therapist to help you get your life together. If you need help getting fit, go to the place dedicated to helping people get fit.

2. “Gyms are for bodybuilders.”
News flash: Bodybuilding is out and health is in. Although there are still muscular people out there, only a tiny percentage of people are actually “body building”. Gyms are not filled with grunting huge bodybuilders wearing skimpy tank tops carrying 2 gallons of water (despite what Planet Fitness wants you to think). Believe me, I own a gym and the average member is probably in their mid to late forties, working out so they can live longer and enjoy their grandchildren when they get older.  When people ask us what our average member is, I say, “it depends on the time of day”. We have an early morning career crowd, mom crowd, senior crowd, lunch crowd, after-school crowd and career crowd. Each crowd varies in age, shape and weight. However, they all have one thing in common – they are trying to improve their health and fitness.

3. “Everyone will be looking at me.”
This one cracks me up because everyone is so worried about how they look, they normally aren’t noticing anyone else. Not to suggest everyone is a narcissist, but everyone has a certain natural level of insecurity in even a best gym environment. As you begin to make friends and get a more comfortable, you eventually quit focusing on how you look to others and you begin to focus on how you are improving.  Before you know it, you are the one trying to encourage someone else to come to your gym. Unless you dress decide to dress like Richard Simmons or dance in a clown suit on the treadmill (true story – a member used to do her cardio between “gigs” wearing her clown suit), you will be just fine!

4. “I really don’t have any workout clothes”.
Honestly, although there are “fitness clothing” lines out there, the only time I see clothing like this is in magazines.

Do you have a t-shirt and some tennis shoes? Then you have gym clothes. Maybe you envision people wearing matching spandex outfits or having to wear a weight belt, but that went out a long time ago. Gym clothes are your basic comfortable activewear, and accessories are less for looks and more for functionality. People are wearing heart rate monitors more than they are wearing weight gloves. Today’s gym clothes are all about comfort.

5. “Gyms are meat markets for singles”.
Although a gym is definitely a much better place to meet someone than a bar, most singles are training hard in the gym so they can get noticed outside the gym. People used to treat their gym more like a country club or spa, but nowadays people actually workout – and workout hard. They sweat, they strain and they train to change. All in all, people take fitness a lot more seriously than they did twenty years ago. Plus, wearing a pair of headphones is one of the best deterrents for unwanted chatter. Throw you headphones on and everyone will know you are there to workout and nothing else.

6. “I don’t think that class is for me. Everyone in that class looks fit”.  
I hear this all the time. My answer is “they’re fit now but they didn’t used to be”. Some of our most intense fitness classes are filled with people who used to be overweight. Unless we post everyone’s before photo on the wall, people would never know how far someone has come. It’s important to realize there are 3 different types of members. There are the people that are just starting out, people who are getting fit, and people who are trying to stay fit. If you aren’t doing a class, you are missing out on having a fitness professional for an hour.  Instead of paying $50-$75 for one session with a trainer, if you’re a gym member, you have the opportunity to get professional guidance free in group fitness classes. Make the most of your gym membership and start trying more classes.

7. “I’m not a gym person”.
First of all, what is a gym person? Is it someone who loves going to the gym? There’s a big misconception that everyone who goes to the gym actually enjoys it. Sure, there are people who love their gym, love their class and love working out with friends. There are also people who dread going to the gym every day, but they still do it. I am one of those people. My husband, Steve, loves to workout. I, on the other hand, do not have that same love for training. I just know I am happier when I am fit, so my 1-hour workouts become an investment in how I want to feel the other 23 hours a day. Sometimes you have to do what you need, not what you want. Ironically, as you get results, the new you may become quite the gym person after all.

Don’t put off your New Year’s Resolutions any longer. Let one of our local gyms help you reach your goals this year!

You can learn more about our gym at www.maxfitnessclub.com  

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