For nearly two years I have been head over heels with going to the gym; it seems we’ve run into that age-old case of the terrible twos. As soon as we fall out of love with a form of exercise, it’s so easy to think, “Well, there we go. That’s that. Exercise is not for me.” Instead of admitting defeat, we need to combat this resentment/meh attitude towards the gym (or whatever exercise). And by combating, I kind of mean don’t combat; don’t resist; embrace what can come of less or no time at all in the gym.
I think I understand why I’ve taken off my rose-tinted glasses when it comes to the gym:
- I aim to start weight training this year and it’s something I can’t focus too much attention on right now. For the last two years I’ve predominantly been doing resistance training with a sprinkle of cardio and weight training when I go to the gym. I wanted 2017 to be the year I get to grips with weights. I devote a lot of time to the gym and although I still enjoy it, I’m not nearly as excited about it as I used to be. I’m waiting for exams to disappear and my time to hone in a new skill increase ever so slightly.
- Recently I wrote a post about a sucky experience I acquired at the gym: Gym Etiquette: How not to be a Twit. And it happened again. I’ll explain what happened before by telling you what happened last week. I was on the leg press, starting to notice a nearby guy hovering. Predictably, he interrupted, “How many sets have you got left?” Not again. “Two.” “Can I jump in in between sets?” “No, I won’t be long.” This time, I stuck to my guns. Huffing and puffing (trying to make it so super clear how uncomfortable I was with him WATCHING), I completed my final two sets. I jumped off, frustrated, again. (Oh how I wish I then watched him do his workout!) These weird experiences have left me feeling a bit deflated and a little less on the “Gyms Aren’t Full of Uncomfortable Scenarios!” side of things.
Instead of feeling downtrodden, I have been going to the gym three or four times a week instead of five, just so I can keep up any strength until I head to the gym with different motives in a month or so. I have then been devoting a lot more time into other activities. And I have l-o-v-e-d this alternative focus to mostly just going to the gym and running. I’ve been running further but just as frequently, walking as much as I possibly can and, while I’ve been home for Easter I’ve swapped the gym for bodyweight training and a Zumba class each week. I plan to get a few swimming sessions in so that when I’m home for good after exams I can develop a routine- it’s when I am swimming as well that I feel super motivated and strong.
I may have to cancel my gym membership at university for next month and I wouldn’t be disappointed to go without the gym for the month. It needs to be constantly reminded to everybody that you don’t need a gym membership to be fit- far, far from it. Exercising outside (running and walking) has been making me super happy and so I’d much rather focus more time into activities I enjoy rather than going to the gym frequently because I feel I have to- of course I don’t have to.
Ultimately, I have learnt the importance of focusing energy on the fitness activities I am currently enjoying and ignoring the ones I don’t for the moment or for ever. There are plenty of other activities that your body adores that aren’t gym-related. Whether they are alternative workouts that concentrate on the same muscles, or entirely different muscles: fitness loves variation. And that’s the brilliant thing that comes from falling out of love with one form of exercise and falling in love with an alternative or two.
~ Kat ~