Why You Should Cancel Your Gym Contract
Keeping fit in the 21st century is no easy task. Life tends to be packed with commitments and responsibilities leaving little or no time to look after yourself. Generations before us had the advantage of working outdoors, with physical exertion part and parcel of their daily life. To compensate for the sedentary lifestyles we are now prone to living, the corporate health machine beguilingly suggests you join a gym. Here, you will get access to all the latest equipment and advice you will need on your quest to a fitter and healthier you. If you have walked down this road but are still waiting for the promised results, then you will want to read on.
The key to staying fit is continuity and progression. In this respect, there are a number of problems with the generic gym model. Firstly, the environment is static. Your initial sessions at the gym will be easier because your brain is focused on your surrounds and other patrons rather than the physical exertion. But soon enough, these distractions wear off and all you can think of is how tough the workout is. Secondly, keeping your routine fresh requires preparation and knowledge. Repetition will not only limit the efficiency of your workouts, but will inevitably sap your precious motivation and we have neither the time nor expertise to compile routines that are both interesting and effective. Thirdly, gyms tend to exude pretentiousness. The last distraction you need while trying to achieve your goals is the air of superiority projected by the usual suspects. And lastly, you have probably been inside for the last 8 hours of your day. Going from one stressed environment (work), to another (gym) is hardly the best way to relieve tension.
So what is the alternative? Continuity and progression demand motivation, and while people are motivated for different reasons there are two common threads shared by those who exhibit a perennial passion for exercise – community and diversification. These are the building blocks of a sustainable fitness regime.
Start with community. Find out from your friends and family – especially the ones you perceive to be active – what keeps them going back for more. If they say gym, move on! Listen out for the more abstract activities and ask if you can tag along the next time they go. Try as many as you can until you find something that you enjoy. The beauty of this approach is multifaceted. You will meet new people who will offer support and useful advice not because they are paid to do it, but because they are passionate about the activity. Camaraderie and a healthy dose of competition are far more potent stimuli than blasé gym instructors and random bystanders, ultimately making your exercise session more productive and enjoyable. Place emphasis on the social element by setting up forums -a Whatsapp group for example – through which you and your fellow endorphin seekers can communicate, banter, and share goals. Often all you need to avoid (vitally) skipping a session is some encouragement from your crew.
Your body is made up of many moving parts. Few activities will target all your muscles, so diversifying your routine will improve your all round fitness and keep things interesting at the same time – a wider circle of exercise buddies is an additional benefit. Diversifying your workout does not mean ignoring routine. What you should aim for is two or three different activities that you can commit to on a weekly basis. This way you will achieve that all important progression needed to keep you motivated. An investment in a heart rate monitor to track your fitness levels is worthwhile or alternatively you can record your workouts in an exercise diary.
Gyms have dominated the fitness space for decades, but the truth is that most of us leave these establishments feeling unsatisfied on both a social and physical level. Cancel your gym contract and bring the fun back into your workout regime by exploring new activities with likeminded people. The opportunities for growth both physically and socially will always be greater than anything a gym contract can offer you.