So here’s a question for you…
Why do people go to the gym?
- to lose weight?
- to body build?
- to train for a sport?
- to burn calories?
- to feel good?
Wait! I like that one – go back to that one. To feel good.
Personally, I used to go to the gym for lots of reasons – to make myself feel a little less bad about having a junk-food binge, to calorie count, to lose weight. With these motivations in mind, I never once enjoyed a workout. I ended up feeling very on edge the whole time I was there, stressing about trying to make myself a little more appealing to other people through every kilometre I travelled on the treadmill, through every new set of push ups and leg razors. Not only were my workouts physically draining but mentally exhausting because I was motivated by what others thought of the way I looked.
How bizarre is that?- I was paying to be a member of a fitness club with MY money and was working out using MY body, but all I was thinking about was other people. There have been many I’ve spoken to who agree that this is probably the root of why they also exercise at the gym, to aim to make themselves more aesthetically pleasing to OTHER PEOPLE.
Yesterday, I saw a woman holding a white stick with a red band around it (for anyone who doesn’t know, this signifies that she is both deaf and blind). With the appropriate help from staff, she was using one of the abduction/adduction machines which aims to work the muscle in various parts of your upper leg. Later on in my routine, I jumped onto the last remaining treadmill and next to me was an elderly woman, I’d guess around 75 years years old. Neither of these women needed to lose weight. Neither of them I would assume were training for a sports career or upcoming competition. They were simply there to EXERCISE for…and this is the important part people…THEMSELVES. These women, I like to think, have fitness and wellbeing at the top of their priority list and without even knowing it, have proved an absolute inspiration to myself.
I find it so enriching to think that they weren’t there because the media was telling them they needed to be thinner or do some squats because their bottoms weren’t round and perky enough. These women were there because they simply wanted to be, whether with the intention of keeping themselves moving, keeping their bodies healthy or even to simply trigger those all important endorphins that give us a rush of good vibes.
What I’m trying to put across here, is that the gym is a fantastic tool we can use to keep fit and healthy, when life in the 21st century can leave us sometimes feeling rather lethargic and static. However, like many great tools, when used in the wrong way, it can become a large hindrance. When other people’s opinions and thoughts motivate you to work out, you are simply not going to enjoy yourself. So, if this applies to you, whether a friend, parent, partner or even the media is making you feel like YOU MUST go to the gym, go for yourself because its your body and your mind.