Let me paint a picture. It’s January and you’ve decided to get fit and healthy as a New Year’s Resolution, so bright idea – you join the gym. You then spend a few weeks regularly going to the gym, feeling quite smug. Then February hits and people are coming out of their post-Christmas hibernation and wanting to go out and have fun. Cue a decline in gym visits. You lose the momentum and suddenly you find yourself paying out each month and barely going. But, you keep promising yourself you’ll go, so you keep the membership out of some sort of duty.
Does this sound like you?
If you’re someone who enjoys (and is motivated) heading to the gym, who makes sure they get their value for money, then this isn’t for you. I do appreciate that the gym works for a lot of people (I'm not dissing it!), but this post if purely for those that join without fully integrating it into their life.
I’ll start by saying gyms can be expensive. Yes, I know you can get corporate discounts and there are plenty of budget gyms out there, BUT whatever you pay, they’re expensive if you don’t ever go! You may get used to having a certain amount coming out of your account every month, but think of what you could spend that on if it wasn’t going on something that you didn’t benefit from.
Here are some of the reasons why you should break up with your gym:
You don’t know what you’re doing when you’re there: Have you paid any thought to exactly what you want to achieve and how you might reach your goals? Most people probably haven’t - many of us sign up to the gym, have a quick induction and then get straight into it. We aimlessly move from one piece of equipment to another, bashing out a few reps here and there. I’m afraid to say this scattergun approach isn’t going to get you the results and is a waste of your time.
It’s draining you of time as well as money: think about your journey there and back and all the time spent waiting for a machine to come free. For the hour you’re there, how much of that is actually spent working out? Again, if you’re wasting time, you’re not going to see the results any time soon.
You’re not getting support or a community feel: you may be surrounded by loads of people, but you can still feel really alone. Many people are busy doing their own thing and not interested in striking up a conversation with anyone. Having support and encouragement is really important to help you on your path. Without that, you can tend to get despondent. You’re more likely to get a supportive network at a class or even in online fitness communities.
You can get stuck in a rut after a while: doing the same routine/class every week can get boring and unless you’re making progressive changes to your plan (again comes down to knowing what you’re doing), you’re going to get to a point where you’re not seeing any more results – you’ve plateaued. What do you do next?
You feel out of place: there are the muscle blokes hogging the weights making you feel unwelcome in that area and there’s the beautiful people who look like they don’t need to be there, but make you feel uncomfortable. I’ll say now, that you’re amazing and no one should feel like this in the gym, but they can sometimes be a little intimidating!
So what are the alternatives?
Well there are plenty!
The fitness and wellness industry is massive these days and there are so many free or cheaper options out there. You’ve got YouTube videos galore, expert online trainers with programmes that are much cheaper than a gym, loads of local classes (so much variety there’s something for everyone – I have a few) and of course you could just get out in the open air and go down your local park (yes, not so appealing in this weather at the moment, but just think of the fresh air!).
So, you don’t even need to leave your house if you don’t want. Think of the time you’ll save doing a workout at home, and there’s the fact that you don’t need to look like a supermodel as no-one is watching!!
Obviously as a personal trainer I do need to do a plug and say that although we aren’t cheap, we do at least have the expertise to create a programme that gets you the results you need, so in that sense we’re better value than a gym membership that you don’t use enough and don’t see the results with 😊 And, I for example, do home visits so you can still get to do the workout in the comfort of your own home in whatever clothes you want to wear – I won’t judge!!
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