This article is not at all what you think it might be about.
I am not here to give another speech about the importance of staying fit or to blab about the extra boost of confidence you will get from seeing your numbers go down on the scale.
No one should tell you to change your shape or size. You own your body and have the right to fuel and change it based on what you believe is best for your own individual health.
However, I would like to address the negative connotation that seems to be inadvertently glued to the word “gym.” (Just saying it can make you cringe, right?)
Trust me, I used to feel the same way.
I just couldn’t understand how anyone could call the gym “fun.” I had just about every excuse in the book to not go to the gym such as:
“I don’t have enough time to go.” “I get too bored on the machines,” and the ever so famous, “I want to save myself from the embarrassment of working out in front of the ‘gym rats.’”
But after giving it an honest try and slowly learning how to use the machines, I can truly say that I love going to the gym and you should too!
1. To spend time with ourselves.
It is so rare for us to actually spend quality time with ourselves.
We live in a world where multi-tasking is almost required. Whether we are at work, school or trying to respond to hundreds of e-mails, we often don’t have the chance to be truly in-tune with our bodies.
When I am at the gym, I am forced to put aside my e-mails, social media accounts and the issues that arose from the day.
It’s my “me” time and almost serves as a form of meditation.
For example, when I am stretching before a workout, I am truly in sync with my body. I can feel exactly which muscles are tight and the parts of my body where stress built up over the day.
Living in the moment with my movements allows me to stand still and brings me back to myself after a hectic day.
I also achieve this relaxing feeling when I lift weights. If you are lifting weights properly, you should be doing reps in accordance with your breath. This action forces you to slow down your mind, concentrate on your breath and gives you a chance to regroup from your day.
2. To make goals and surpass them.
There is no better feeling than being able to achieve your goals and going to the gym allows you to do this on a daily basis.
Maybe at first you could only handle 20 minutes of cardio, and after two weeks of practice, you were able to reach your goal of 30 minutes.
The same goes for reps on any machine targeted at a specific muscle or with the use of free-weights.
With hard work and dedication you will see an increase in confidence from being able to accomplish your workout goals that you used to think weren’t even possible. Also, you will of course get a boost in confidence because of the transformation that you will see in your body.
Not to be skinny, but to be strong.
3. Because our bodies like it.
They are natural pain reducers and allow us to feel happy and almost euphoric.
However, this does not occur from just picking up a weight for five minutes. It is most noticeable after a full workout that includes both aerobic activity and weight training.
Instead of trying to achieve this happy and fulfilling feeling from eating unhealthy foods, working out is a perfect and healthy solution for getting an extra pick-me-up.
4. Social Circle.
Sometimes the most difficult part about leading a healthy lifestyle is having inconsistency at home.
If we are trying to work out regularly, eat healthy foods and have a clear mind, our healthy lifestyles are often disrupted by friends and family who eat differently than we do.
Maybe they beg us to go out for ice cream after a big Italian dinner, or maybe they encourage us to have a movie marathon when you planned on working out.
It is certainly okay to indulge on occasion, but being healthy does require dedication to a lifestyle that benefits our bodies. When you go to the gym, you know that everyone else there has the same goal as you, to be healthy.
You will see some athletes trying to gain weight in muscle, other individuals trying to lose weight for health purposes and those who have mastered the healthy lifestyle trying to upkeep a sense of well-being that they worked hard to achieve.
Either way, everyone at the gym is working towards a similar goal, to be fit and healthy.
Therefore, while there is a huge misconception that newcomers will get judged at the gym, I have actually experienced the exact opposite.
Anyone who is at the gym for the right reasons should respect those who have the courage to strive for their health.
So, the next time you have a thought about going to the gym, instead of cringing and quickly coming up with an excuse not to go, give it a try!