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10 Reasons Why I Love the Gym

Thursday, October 06, 2011

I hear a lot of people, especially those with a massive amount of weight to lose, like I do, express their sentiments about going to the gym. These are generally negative sentiments, with a dash of ire, and a heaping helping of venomous hatred thrown in. We hate the gym for so many reasons... the pain, the expectations, the effort, the other gym members. I've expressed the same sentiments myself, many times. However, over the last few years (and especially the last few weeks, as I've stepped up my gym regime), there are a few things I've come to love about the gym experience. Here are the top 10, in no particular order:

1) Endorphins

Even though I sometimes have to force myself to go, I always enjoy that natural high after a good workout. That feeling of euphoria is a great reward for the hard work I've just put in.

2) Results

It's a long, slow process (especially when you're weight loss journey is a marathon), but the results do happen if you stick with it. My trainer compared it to working with clay... you start off with a shapeless lump; but, every time you go to the gym, you are splashing water on that clay and spinning it, and slowly shaping your body into the figure you desire. You can lose weight without exercising, but how much more will you enjoy a strong, toned body when you finally reach your goal?

3) Health

Every Monday, when I start a new week of working out, I feel stronger than the week before. I find that I can do a few more sit-ups, go a little faster on the treadmill, or do an extra set of weight training than I was previously capable of doing. I find that I can go a little longer on the elliptical, and that my heartrate stays at a more moderate, steady pace than it used to. I'm actually looking forward to my next visit to the doctor, because I think she might even decide I don't need one or two of those meds I've been taking. Even if she doesn't, I know that my efforts at the gym mean that one day, she will.

4) Variety

Going to the gym means that I have a ton of options available to me, when it comes to my workout routine. I go to a gym that is very basic; but even so, there are quite a few different cardio machines, weight machines, circuit training, and even free training classes provided that focus on every part of the body. Every time I start to get bored, I change things up and try something new. And some gyms offer many other resources, such as aerobic classes, spinning classes, yoga, zumba, basketball, swimming, saunas, and many other options.

5) Cost

As I mentioned above, my gym is pretty basic. There are no classes, or a pool. But it does have plenty of every kind of cardio machine and weight machine you could want, as well as free weights and space for doing floor work, and the aforementioned free training classes and a 30 minute circuit. All of this, and it only costs $10 per month, with no contractual obligations. That's a price even I can handle, and I am on a VERY tight budget. So, there's no excuse for not joining.

6) Televisions

Every gym to which I've ever belonged has had a long row of televisions available in front of the cardio machines, showing a variety of channels. One gym even had cardio machines that had TV's attached to them, allowing you to watch whatever you wanted on the available cable channels. That was pretty cool. But, even without that perk, there are 20 TV's at my current gym, showing all the networks and cable news channels, and the most commonly watched cable channels. This feature makes it a lot easier to pass the time on the cardio machine, and keeps me from becoming obsessed with the seemingly slowly moving time. Before I know it, I've done an hour of cardio and I'm done for the day!

7) Availability

A lot of gyms these days, including mine, are open 24 hours. So, there's no excuse for not finding time to go, even if it's only for 30 minutes. You can get a good sweat going after 30 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical, and even the busiest among us can find 30 minutes in a 24 hour day, at least twice a week, to spend at the gym. That's another excuse solved. There are even daycare facilities at many gyms, for those who can't find, or afford, a babysitter.

8) Challenges

Every week, I push myself just a tiny bit harder than I did the week before. I add 5 or 10 more sit-ups or crunches to my abs routine, or I go a tenth of a mile an hour faster on the treadmill, or a higher resistance level on the elliptical. And sometimes I simply try to beat my own previous record, whether it's the distance I've gone on a cardio machine, the calories I've burned, or the length of time I've done the machine. Nothing makes me happier than setting a new record for myself, and realizing how far I've come since the days when I couldn't walk from one end of the mall to the other without having to sit down five or six times along the way.

9) Partners

My gym partner is my dad, and we motivate each other to go when the other one doesn't feel like it (or, in my dad's case, annoy the hell out of me until I grit my teeth and go just to shut him up. Love you, dad!!). But he's not the only gym partner I've ever had. Along the way, I've worked out with many different friends and co-workers, and we've always managed to inspire each other to give a greater effort than we would have done alone. This makes the gym experience more enjoyable, and allows my competitive spirit to kick in.

10) Hotties

A lot of heavy women will tell you that they hate going to the gym because they are embarrassed around all the hot guys, and intimidated by all the hot girls. I feel entirely the opposite way. Being around all the good-looking, toned people doesn't bother me in the least. Aside from the eye candy, which is always enjoyable, looking at women with great bodies reminds me of why I am there, and what my ultimate reward will be for putting in all the effort and hard work that it will take to reach my goal. And looking at the guys reminds me of another reward I am greatly anticipating... all the new attention I will be able to receive from them when I'm one of the hotties! Besides, my philosophy is: "I'd rather they saw me at the gym than saw me at McDonalds". :)

So, next time you are dreading the gym, try to remember all the great things it has to offer, and perhaps you will change your mind!
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