Fitness Articles

Learn to Love Going to the Gym

No More Excuses!

I was not very athletic in school. All elbows and knees and very little ability, I was usually the last one picked for teams. It was clear to me at a young age that my future lay in books, not basketballs, so I accepted my lack of athletic skills and concentrated on simply getting through gym class without causing my team to lose.

Fast-forward almost thirty years and I realized the pounds that had been steadily creeping up on me weren’t going to disappear on their own. I needed to get serious about my health before I started following in my mother’s footsteps with osteoporosis, high blood pressure and pre-diabetes. It was time to get to the gym.

Even though I knew I had to start working out, it took a few days to psych myself up and actually set foot in the gym. All of the old memories started playing in my head. Would I make a fool of myself? Would people laugh at me? How was I ever going to figure out all of that equipment? Maybe I should forget about the whole thing and resign myself to accepting my body the way it was, instead of putting myself through all this mental torture.

Then I realized that most of the problems I had in gym class all those years ago stemmed from my lack of knowledge. I didn’t remember a teacher ever explaining the rules of baseball and I was too shy to ask, so when the ball came my way I simply ducked because I didn’t know what to do. But now as an adult, I was much more confident and had the power to ask questions. I could do this!

I chose the gym closest to my home so I wouldn’t have an excuse not to go. Since it was within walking distance, I could never bail out of an exercise session because it was too much trouble to get there. So with new cross-trainers in hand and only slightly shaky knees, I signed up for a one-year membership.

My representative immediately put me at ease by giving me a tour of the facility and explaining all the rules and protocol. After showing me how to operate the cardio equipment (treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bikes), she left me on my own to find what I was most comfortable with. I selected the treadmill—I could already walk, so it seemed the natural choice for a beginner. Thirty minutes later I was sweating and happy. Even though I had stumbled a few times before getting into the rhythm of the machine, nobody had laughed at me or even seemed to notice. This gym thing wasn’t so bad after all!

I started going three times a week and noticed the same people there most of the time. This made me feel even more comfortable because even though I didn’t know these people personally, I wasn’t around total strangers anymore. It even got to the point of nodding a hello to the woman on the next treadmill or commenting on something we had both seen on the TV as we worked out. I felt like I was part of a tribe of people who were all trying to reach the same goal—physical fitness.

I made a lot of progress over the next few months but I still felt a little insecure around people in tip-top shape. All it took was a scan around the room to find a whole range of body types and fitness levels and I felt better. I was doing okay.
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About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

  • MICHELLE40505
    I joined Planet Fitness last week, and it seems a lot less stressful than 24hr Fitness. Though not sure if i'll be motivated enough to get results. Any suggestion? - 9/4/2014 12:41:41 PM
  • My preference is definitely to get outside. But if the weather is just too bad to do that, I go to the gym. I also go to the gym for my strength training because I would never do it on my own - so I go to a class twice a week, and for step aerobics, simply because I love it! - 5/14/2014 8:22:09 PM
  • I miss my gym! Not able to go as have to stay with DH and grandkids.

    I use my treadmill, wii, dance tapes and spark tapes to get workout in.

    - 3/6/2014 7:19:37 PM
  • Right now I am not apart of a gym because I am on a budget and will be moving soon. But I did learn in the past it has to be close to home. I know I am too lazy to go out of my way. I also learned that it has to be fun to me and not feel like a work out. I liked the tips given here. I would also like to add for the sake of my mom. She needs a buddy. She meets up with a friend to work out with 2-3 days a week. With this buddy she is more likely to go to the gym :-) - 2/11/2014 11:29:23 AM
  • I love working out outside too, but in Chicago, one must have another alternative on days like this when it is 37 deg below freezing. And then there are super rainy days and summer days occasionally in the high 90s or even 100+ deg F. Consistency is key! - 12/28/2013 11:00:40 AM
  • AMEN! I love the gym! I have been going to a good one less than 2 miles away for 13+ yrs. It is my main form of entertainment and I love the variety: swimming, yoga, pilates (mat and machine-based options), weights, Kinesis, PowerPlex, every cardio machine, dance classes, aerobics, massage, martial arts, boxing, tennis, track, kettlebells, etc.! It is worth every penny. People who can't "afford" such a nice gym frequently have cable-internet packages that cost nearly as much, or large budgets for fast food and restaurants, so it is really about priorities. We are not rich, but the gym is a priority! - 12/28/2013 10:57:01 AM
  • I gym in walking distance! I have to get in the car and drive to get to any. I still find, after 5 years, that exercise is not fun for me. I do some because I must. Most days I don't. I do Curves when I can but as I said it is a drive and winter weather can curtail the session. Sometimes when I see the comments I envy you who love it. I don't even like walking. - 10/5/2013 8:28:23 AM
  • #9 is the best part! Me and the kids can go together, they get to run and play with kids their age and I get to work out and be around adults!!then when I'm done I just pick them up. We're all in the sane building! - 8/30/2013 9:03:50 PM
  • A big advantage of the gym for me was the social enrichment aspect. I remember the first time I ever ran three miles on the treadmill years ago. A woman who had been there and seen me work out for several weeks happened to pass by while I was completing this big milestone, and noted the stats. After I was done, she was waiting for me. She gave me a big high-five and a hearty congratulations. It really added a little extra something to the achievement! - 8/28/2013 12:23:55 PM
    You've inspired me to go back to they gym after a long hiatus. Thank you. - 8/28/2013 9:09:56 AM
  • I love going to the gym to workout. I love meeting other peoples as well who is going for good health. - 7/15/2013 1:23:13 PM
  • I like the gym and have belonged to one from time to time. In fact, I am probably going to join the fitness center at work (again). But I am there to work out, not socialize and when people start getting too chummy at the gym, I quit going. - 6/18/2013 8:38:28 AM
  • I really don't like the gym that much. I am not a social person. I find that it is always the sweaty, smelly person who wants to take the treadmill right next to me when there are 20 open ones. And I had to change the time I went because there was this guy there that just irked me to no end and the thought of even seeing him there was getting on my nerves. - 1/5/2013 3:37:58 PM
  • I take a variety of classes at the gym to keep it interesting. The machines (treadmill, bike, elliptical) are there for back-up in case I don't make it to a class I like. This strategy has definitely kept me more interested in going than my previous gym memberships (and I've had quite a few). :) - 9/1/2012 8:48:53 AM
  • Good article! Easy to relate to and authentic. - 7/7/2012 12:58:16 PM
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