Why we really go to the gym

January in the gym, packed. February in the gym, not so packed! Why is this? We’ve all done it, probably every other year we’ve done it. We’ve made a New Years resolution along the lines of:

  • “Next year will be my year to lose the weight”  
  • “I’m going to get fit”
  • “I’m joining the gym”
  • “I’m going to take up swimming”
  • “I’m going to do at least 2 Les Mills classes a week”

The list goes on, and on, and on. The thing is, it’s perfectly normal to make and break our resolutions, especially ones we make about fitness and or health. It’s a shame, but it’s normal.

Time, life, other commitments all get in the way.  Perhaps it’s because the goals we set ourselves aren’t realistic; aren’t true to our lifestyle, so we don’t properly invest in them?

Every year though, of the mass influx of new fitness fanatics and gym go-ers, some hang around. Some don’t flee in February. Why is that? What is it about the gym in particular, and about being active and healthy, that little by little, lures us in and becomes a part of our normal routines?

Fitness

Fitness, being active, working out…it’s insanely addictive! Even if you’re someone that only goes to the gym to keep a mate company, or to prove to yourself that you can hold onto your New Years resolution until at least March, the endorphins released after a workout, no matter how short / long / intense it was, make you feel amazing! You can’t deny it!  

Whether you just did a Les Mill Pump class for 50mins, ran on a treadmill for 10mins before work or tried your first spin class, it’s this high on endorphins; the feeling of your blood pumping, sweat building, muscles aching and the calories burnt, that after a while, starts to boost your confidence and helps you push yourself at whatever workout it is you do. You start to set yourself goals, compete against yourself and maybe others, challenge yourself to lift heavier, run longer, spin faster.

It’s this high that keeps us coming back to the gym for more.  

Social

Of course, there’s the social element of working out and going to the gym too. It can be a huge influencer in your fitness journey should you need or want it.

Many people prefer to and thrive on working out alone, and that’s of course fine. But for those who really need the incentive and encouragement to keep up the exercise routine, company certainly helps.

Company in the gym is easier to come by than you might think. Sign up for personal training sessions, become a regular in the group gym classes, spend time cooling down or relaxing after your workout, stop for a coffee. Gradually and through repeated attendance, faces will become familiar, striking up a convo won’t be so daunting, you’ll begin to bond over how tough the class was, you and your trainer will get to know each other better and the chat game will be as strong as the muscles you’re now building.

Soon the gym will become a familiar and friendly comfort zone and working out won’t just be about feeling the burn.

So give it a go, don’t think you need to hide behind your headphones at the gym and keep your head down…because you don’t. Embrace the wider experience and make a mate or two.  

The escape

It’s no surprise that our day-to-day lives are typically crazy and chaotic: whether we’re still in high school, slogging away at uni, or navigating our way through adulting and the corporate world, things can get tough. Days can end where we’re left feeling utterly exhausted. It’s why we have things like video games, box sets, beer and gin! So that we can cope.

But even on days when we’re left feeling like there’s no energy left, there is. And it’s important we tap into that and make it work for us.

Even for those who have the luxury of working from home, get out the house, get to the gym, save the box sets for later and get the heart rate up. Or perhaps you’re more of an early morning gym go-er and getting up and out, doing some cardio or an early morning boxing session its how you fire yourself up for the day, ready to slay.

Either way, the gym is a haven from the chaos and deafening rabble of the real world. It’s a place where the only pressure you may feel is determined by the goals you set yourself, or if your Spotify playlist stops unexpectedly. We go to they gym to switch off, crank up the music and have time out from the kids.

We go to the gym to be amongst others seeking refuge. And it’s totally ok to acknowledge that.

Why we start vs. Why we stay

For many of us, we may start at the gym because our New Years conscience told us to, but why we stay, is wholly down to you as an individual and your attitude towards the gym. Maybe it’s the thrill of getting some you-time away from the real world; seeing your gym class mates at the start or end of your day; or the amazing feeling of knowing you just upped your weights, smashed your average RPM in spin or increased your reps on the gym floor.

The gym isn’t and shouldn’t be seen as just a place for working out and annoyingly toned people. It’s so much more than that. It’s a holistic experience that those of us who give it a chance beyond January, can appreciate. It’s a space, your space, where you get to spend ‘you time’ exactly how you choose. So make it count. Make the gym work for you. Give it until at least the summer!

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