In high school, like 99% of students, I was fairly active. All that walking, stair-climbing and sports kept me in good shape. In college the freedom of having my own transport, making my own food choices and not having any required sports took its toll on my previously “okay” shape. (Lets face it, I was never supermodel thin… unlike some anorexic friends.)
I wanted to do something about it, but I didn’t have a lot of options. I lived in a crowded house with other people, in a crowded neighbourhood in the big bad city. One day I received a phone call from the local gym offering me a free introduction, one week trial and reduced monthly fee. Where they got my number in the first place I have no idea.
Joining the gym seemed like a good idea and after the first week I actually enjoyed going to the gym. The trainers were friendly, all the equipment was new and exciting, and the endorphins were giving me that walking-on-air feeling. Instantly I signed a year-contract and happily started going to the gym three times a week…. For the first two weeks.
Then I got sick and skipped the following week. It was all downhill from there. It was hard keeping a schedule when I was tired/stressed/busy/sick/away/working. I went maybe once a week and usually had to talk myself into doing a quick 30 min cardio and perhaps a bit of weights before getting out of there as quickly as possible. I avoided the changerooms at all costs and would exit the gym, red-faced, puffy and sweating … and inevitably run into someone I know.
I hated it when the gym was busy and I never saw a difference in my body. So a couple of months passed and I didn’t miss the gym. Finally guilt and the knowledge that the monthly payment is all in vain I tried going back a few times. Only to have the trainers treat me like a newbie all over again. My muscles would hurt for a week, effectively discouraging going back for at least a week and I still didn’t see any changes. So finally I gave up and made a vow to myself to never get trapped into a gym membership ever again.
A couple of years later I read this article someone had written about gyms. It was hysterical and all too true. The main thing I got from it was: who wants to run on a treadmill like a hamster in a wheel? There are so many other fun things out there, packed with physical exercise and wait for it: fun!
I will never join a gym again unless it is required for something else I really want to do. Like astronaut training before they go into space for example. I have found other things I would rather do, like trail running or mountain biking and because I love it, I do it often. For the first time I can actually see the difference in my body and I’m having tons of fun. Gym-bunny? No way!