Saturday, July 18, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Hate The Gym (And What You Can Do About Them)

The recent lockdown has been tough on our bodies and our minds. And while many restrictions have been eased in recent months, many of us are still far from feeling as though things are back to normal. Still, with summer well and truly here, many of us are looking forward to getting more social, spending more time in the sun and taking better care of ourselves in body and mind. Fortunately, with our access to restaurants and take out services limited over the spring months, many of us have fallen back in love with cooking. This is fantastic, and makes it much easier for us all to take control of our health by exerting more control over our nutrition. Still, while nutrition is a fundamental cornerstone of good health, it can’t do all the heavy lifting on its own. Pun intended. It needs to be supported by proper hydration (that means water, not coffee or soda), and a good night’s sleep so that your body is able to carry out the repairs and maintenance it needs. And, of course, we all need to keep our bodies in shape with regular exercise. 

Exercise doesn’t just keep you looking trim, lean and healthy. It can help you to manage stress and boost your mood. It helps your heart and respiratory system healthy. It keeps your metabolism running efficiently. And it can even make you smarter! But if you’ve spent the past few months working out from home, you may have mixed feelings about returning to the newly reopened gyms. Of course, there’s the matter of how safely you can work out in the COVID-19 era. But there are also a number of other issues which can make you loath to join the crowds of lycra-clad fitness enthusiasts enthusiastically grunting and sweating to electronic dance music. 

There are many of us who, as much as we may want to keep ourselves in shape, simply hate going to the gym. But the unfortunate truth is that home workouts, even if you’ve invested in some great fitness equipment, can be limiting. A YouTube tutorial can’t give you the same support, guidance and motivation as a Personal Trainer. What’s more, it can’t correct the instances of bad technique that can lead to mistakes, frustration and even potential injuries later down the line. If you’re serious about getting into shape, the gym is the best place to do it. And if you genuinely can’t stand gyms, you owe it to yourself to try and ascertain the reasons why, so you can take steps to mitigate them. 

It feels like a waste of money 

In a time of economic uncertainty, you’ve likely had to do some belt-tightening. You may have culled some of your streaming / subscription services, and put some of your unwanted belongings on eBay to help address the cash deficit in your household. Still, you may not be too keen about adding a gym membership to your household expenses. Especially if you don’t feel that you’re getting good value for money. 

But, as in most things, you get out what you put in. If you don’t feel like a gym membership offers good value for money, it may be because you’re not going often enough to justify the expense. Or perhaps your local gym doesn’t have the facilities and equipment that are meaningful to you. Fortunately, wherever you call home, there are likely some alternatives that provide more value for you personally. Maybe the problem isn’t that you don’t like gyms in general. It’s just that the gym you’ve chosen doesn’t represent good value for you.

Your workout clothes make exercise a pain

One of the best things about getting back to the gym is the opportunity to buy yourself cool new workout clothes so that you can hit the treadmill and the weight bench with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment. But if you’re making choices based on what works best for your appearance, rather than the needs of your workout regimen, things can get complicated. Dressing to impress doesn’t always mean dressing for success in the gym. You may find that your workout clothes don’t let your skin breathe, so you feel sweaty, chaffed and uncomfortable after a long workout. Worse still, they can cause you to have to contort your body during exercises to prevent wardrobe malfunctions. And this can either inhibit or distort the range of motion necessary to engage your muscles properly in the exercise. This means that you won’t see the gains in terms of appearance or performance that you should be getting. In this post, we have some advice on what you should be looking for in your gym wear. 

You don’t have to rock up to the gym looking like a sack of old potatoes. But you do need to find the right balance between fashion and function. 

It’s lonely and boring

Fitness can feel like a solitary path. And when you have to rely solely on yourself for motivation and inspiration, even the strongest resolve may start to flag. Some people enjoy the solitude that the gym provides. It gives them an opportunity to get away from the stresses of the home and the workplace and focus their energies on achieving their fitness goals. However, if you’re an inherently social person, you may find the gym a fairly lonely place. 

What’s more, if you’re slogging through your exercises without anyone to give you the encouragement and motivation you need, boredom is an inevitable consequence. And boredom can make you coast your way through your exercises. Which may mean that the gains you get from your workouts are minimal, making you feel even more like you’re wasting your time. And when you have nobody to whom you can make yourself accountable,  you’re likely to want to throw in the towel.

Engaging a friend, relative or work colleague to act as your Gym Buddy can help in a number of ways. First of all, it can make your time at the gym less boring. You’ll have someone with whom you can laugh and joke between sets, so that your workout sessions feel more like a fun social activity and less like a chore. You’ll also have someone who can spot you to ensure that you’re able to find the sweet spot between maintaining proper form and being able to lift a weight that challenges your muscles. It also means that you have someone to make you accountable for your own progress. So you’re much more likely to see the results that will keep you motivated and engaged.  

You’re trying to make the wrong regimen right for you

You may have a friend or family member who’s done sensationally well with their new exercise regime. Keen to replicate the awesome results that they’ve enjoyed, you may have incorporated their routine into your own. But of you don’t see the same results as them within the a time scale that you feel is reasonable, it can lead to frustration and disillusionment. 

But the truth is that every human body is different. And two people can pursue the exact same routine and experience very different results. Instead of trying to make the wrong regimen work for you, shake things up and try something different. While you may experience some trial and error, it’s all about finding the right combination of exercises to meet your goals. 

You’re trying too hard to compete with other gym goers

If you’re competitive by nature, you may feel that the gym environment pushes you towards some unhealthy habits. Such as comparing yourself unfavorably to other members of your gym, and trying too hard to compete with them. A little competition can be healthy and improve your performance at the gym. But taking it too far can lead to behaviors that actually impede your progress. Especially if you try to match what other people are lifting in the weight room. 

Trying to lift too much weight will more than likely lead you to take shortcuts with your technique. Which may cause you to cheat yourself out of great results. Because the muscle isn’t engaging properly and the movement isn’t controlled, you may not only compromise your results, you could risk seriously injuring yourself. A more healthy attitude towards competition can make your time at the gym much more satisfying and rewarding. 

You think you’re getting nowhere because you’re not tracking your progress

Finally, if you’re eyeballing your results you’re sure to find the gym a frustrating environment. Indeed, any attempts to improve your fitness will be met with despondency and frustration. We can’t always see the results of our workouts in the mirror. And because we see our own reflection looking back at us every day, we’re usually the least qualified to spot any difference in our appearance. 

Which is why it’s so important to track not only how much weight you lift and how much cardio you do, but to track your measurements and weight on a monthly basis. This will reaffirm to you that you are making progress. Even if that progress is invisible to you right now.


TechMatrite said...

Although at one time I aspired to be like the “gargantuan” individuals who grace the pages of the magazines, I had a change of heart once I reached the National Championship Level. Here’s why.

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Honeybee said...

This is a good read. I really want to go to the gym for a change but I don't know, it's just hard to do anything right now. I don't know what's wrong with me

Casey Bearns said...

Tracking your progress really works! I used to work out before but I could never understand why I always fail. I learned later on that weighing myself and recording my progress regularly keeps me motivated to accomplish my goals.