There is no better time to own a gym than at the beginning of a new year. Fresh faces flock to gyms with urgency every January to fulfil all-important new year’s resolutions. Seasoned gym-goers look on with disappointment as newbies occupy gym machinery often without a clue as to how it works. After a laboured effort to start the treadmill, a crescendo of beeps is heard as they make efforts to recover previous time not spent working out. After all, we are supposed to go to the gym, right? This year, I have chosen not joined the mad rush to the gym and don’t intend to do so. This is why.
There are so many other ways to exercise
If there’s one thing that being in quarantine has shown us, it’s that we don’t have to be holed up in a gym doing countless repetitions of lunges to be fit. We can buy our yoga mats, put on a workout video and get to it. This also means that you can have clarity on how long to spend working out. How long should you spend at the gym? It could be an hour or it could be however long it takes for you to collapse. The latter seems to be the norm judging by the veins popping out the neck of the gymgoer next to you.
Instead, cycle just as the sunset paints the sky a radiant, breathtaking orange. Opt to breathe in the cool, fresh air of a calm evening. You can plan a route around your neighbourhood that leaves you refreshed by the end.
Maybe try yoga. It sounds like a bunch of hippie baloney but the wellness aspect to it is unbeatable. It means walking away from a session feeling mentally and emotionally invigorated on top of the physical exercise.
Any of these options definitely beat working away endlessly on an exercise bike with no destination like you’re trying to generate electricity for a whole village.
The pressure to do the most is real
Not going to the gym means avoiding the social pressure to pick up heavier weights when the most jacked person you’ve ever seen in your life saddles up behind you to pick up some weights as well. You know very well that you can’t handle 15kgs because yesterday you counted lifting a 2kg packet of rice into your cupboard as a small victory.
Nevertheless, letting this Adonis of a person see you chicken out would be social self-destruction. They probably don’t care, but on the off chance that they do, wreaking havoc on your muscles seems like a good short-term solution. Spoiler alert. It’s not.
Protein shakes are objectively terrible
Leaving the gym behind also means you can finally stop pretending that you like protein shakes. We all know that you’re only shaking the bottle that long to avoid actually drinking its contents. The powders supposedly have flavours, but no vanilla you’ve ever had tastes like that.
And what is whey anyway? It sounds like the noise you would make if you were really enjoying a roller coaster ride. Except you’re not on a roller coaster or enjoying anything for that matter. You’re in a gym downing a bottle of beige slush and regretting every minute of it.
The endless sweat
We’ve all been through it. You walk up to a machine only to find that some inconsiderate person hasn’t wiped it down. You can see the liquid taunting you by trailing down the arm of the treadmill that you desperately need to hold on to so you don’t fly off the machine like a whimsical cartoon character. If the embarrassment doesn’t kill you, then the injury from being flung off the machine will.
I don’t even need to tell you how it would feel to excitedly jump onto a machine only to feel fresh bodily fluid under your fingers. During a pandemic. And to think that this could have been avoided if only you had stayed away from the gym and its sweaty dangers.
So before you pay for that gym membership, consider whether you actually want to go to the gym or whether you just think you should. If the gym is truly your happy place, then more power to you. But if you’d rather eat a sock than go to the gym and get stuck next to one more person who gets a little too close while you’re trying to do your crunches, then that’s okay too. It is, as they say, not by force.