I remember studying gym culture in university. It’s an actual phenomenon. As soon as you’ve passed those gym doors you’ve entered another world filled with dating rituals, gym enthusiasts and penetrating stares. I’m not saying all gyms are horrible, but for the average person and fitness newbie, the ambiance can be a bit overwhelming. Personally, I believe there’s less chance you’ll stick with a new fitness program if you go to the gym.
In my 10 years of working in the fitness industry (both in gyms and in other less conventional environments)here are some of the most common reasons people give up their gym membership and some solutions that can finally get you healthy without ever entering a gym:
Gyms are intimidating:
Have you ever thought, “When I get in shape I’ll join a gym”. How about, “When I know how to exercise I’ll join a gym”. These aren’t excuses. It’s a classic case of gym intimidation. And it’s one of the most common reasons people choose to give up their fitness membership or refuse to join a gym in the first place.
While there are always exceptions to the rule, gym culture mostly consists of a strong community of already active individuals. And while they feel perfectly at home in the gym, those trying to get active may feel out of place.
Begin a workout where you feel most comfortable, safe and free from intimidation: in the comfort of your own home. There’s no need for high fashion, you can sweat all you want and you can push yourself a bit further because if you can’t finish that final push-up there’s no one there to see.
In-home fitness options are increasing in popularity. The internet contains thousands of free fitness videos from beginner to more advanced. Do a body weight workout that requires zero gym equipment or even hire an in home fitness expert to come to your house. There is zero intimidation because it’s your territory, you know the rules and you’re free from judgement.
It takes a lot of time to go to a gym:
We live in a time crunched society where every second counts. Even the closest gym requires at least 15 minutes to get there, 15 minutes to return home and a 15 minute post-workout shower (this is a conservative estimate). You’ve already wasted close to an hour and that doesn’t even include the time it takes to workout. For some of us that time is too important to lose. While you may stick with it for a while, at some point you’ll find yourself negotiating between heading to the gym or doing another task on your high priority “to do” list.
Gyms are for structured exercise routines. You follow a plan with a set amount of sets, repetitions and weights. But structured exercise is a fairly new phenomenon. Before it was invented we relied solely on movement. Why not save time and eliminate structured exercise. That way you don’t need to head to the gym. Instead, simply move. Fitness technology (otherwise known as wearables) is a time sensitive option that tracks your movement. It can track your steps, the amount of stairs you climb and your heart rate zones. Set a goal to reach 10,000 steps per day. Take the stairs, or do an hour of much needed house work. (You’d have to do it anyway). Fitness wearables help you get fit by tracking everyday movement and give you back your time you would otherwise lose by going to the gym.
You have to plan and execute a workout in a gym:
You enter the gym and it’s a world filled with fancy ropes and colourful balance balls. To one side lies a shiny abyss of dumbbells and fancy racks. Perhaps you looked up a program or two online and you’ve got your sheet in your hand ready to follow. Yet executing each move requires brain power. Where do I go? How do I know I’m doing it right and do I really need to read instructions?
At the end of a long day, you’ve already given all of your brain power to family, friends and work. The last things you want to do it figure out how to execute a workout.
Join a class studio instead. Class studios specialize in group fitness only, from yoga to resistance training. Experienced fitness teachers design the classes, tell you what to do and change it up so you won’t get bored. All you have to do is show up and go through the motions. If you’re worried about your form, speak to the instructor before class so they can keep an eye on you. Choosing class only studios gives your body a great workout while your mind can relax.
Take away message:
The gym culture is changing slowly but surely. If you’re one of the lucky ones that found an empowering facility then good for you! This article is specifically meant to provide hope for those who have struggles with conventional gym ambiances and may even give up good health because of them. In today’s society there are a plethora of other options that can help you get fit. The gym is not your only option.