But I Hate the Gym! - Gym-Free Fitness

Posted by Leticia, 08 Feb 06

“I know I should exercise,” a good friend of mine was lamenting to me late last week, “but I really hate going to gyms.” I have to admit, my initial response to this was incredulity – even in my much heavier days (when I had a BMI of 35, very little of which was due to muscle!), I still loved the gym environment. There’s something about being able to pit myself against machines that really kicks in my stubborn streak. Something in me clicks and I downright *refuse* to let the machines win. But to be honest, she’s not the first person I’ve heard say this.

So I started asking around, and quickly found that my friend wasn’t the only person who thought this way. Reasons for avoiding the gym varied, but they seemed to fall into one of four categories:

1. HYGIENE:

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To quote one person, “Having to sit where other people have been sweating just grosses me out!”

2. EXPENSE:

If you’re already struggling to make ends meet, the yearly cost of a gym can feel totally unjustifiable

3. INCONVENIENCE:

The hassle of taking time out of an already overloaded schedule, not just to work out, but the travel time too

4. EMBARRASSMENT FACTOR:

The worry that everyone else on the floor will be either muscle-men or toned, tanned gym-bunnies who’d react with either disgust or derision to any less-than-perfect newbie with the audacity to profane their hallowed halls

Now, I could answer almost all of these objections (except for No. 2 – even I can accept that if the money genuinely won’t stretch, it just won’t stretch) with the suggestion that you just need to choose the right gym

(both location and clientele-wise) for you, and follow basic gym etiquette (like always keeping a towel between you and the equipment).

There may, of course, be other reasons I haven’t covered as well. If you like the idea of working out in a gym, but can’t (for whatever reason), please contact me, and I’ll try to come up with a solution for you. However, that’s not what this article’s about. And the good news is, we don’t actually need to find solutions in the first place! Why? Because you really don’t *need* to go to a gym to get – or keep – fit.

Contrary to advertising image claims, gyms *don’t* have a monopoly on people’s ability to move; and that’s all exercise really is. Movement and activity is what’s important to our health, not when and where we do it. We

just need to make sure we get enough of it in.

Current ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) guidelines suggest that, in order to simply be healthy, you need to move aerobically for 40-60 minutes (not necessarily all at once), 3-5 times each week. If your goal is to lose weight, not just maintain your health, then this needs to happen no less than 5 times per week (although, if you’ve been inactive for some time,

you may well need to build up gently to this level!) On top of this, research shows the need to include regular resistance training to help strengthen bones (especially in women), and to help offset (or even reverse) the damage caused by aging.

It sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it? Even with all the equipment of a gym available, it can take a little practice for newcomers to create routines that give them all the benefits of the strength and aerobic activities without eating into too much of their valuable time. It can be even harder to manage outside of a gym environment.

With a little planning, however, it is possible to get the activity you need to meet these guidelines without having to sign up for a gym, and Part 2 of this series, we’ll look at how you can do this.

Optimum Life Ltd provides balanced fitness & stress management services. For details of how to achieve optimum fitness on a budget, visit http://trainerforce.com/optimumlife .

For our FREE 'What is Optimum Fitness?' Report, e-mail

mailto:tanja@optimumlife.co.nz with 'Fitness Report' in the header.

Responses to "But I Hate the Gym! - Gym-Free Fitness"

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  1. Posted: 17 May 07

    good article...and the comments above are helpful as well....!!!

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  2.   fala says:
    Posted: 29 Apr 07

    I agree with you Kathugga.It s all about motivation and support from others.

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  3.   kathugga says:
    Posted: 06 Mar 07

    I'm currently studying to be a personal trainer. I very well remember the first time I went into a gym other than my high school gym--I felt embarrassed by it. It can be intimidating going to a gym the first time, or even the first dozen times, but you get used to it. I've never been about moving the most weight--I got stuck under a bar benching when I was 16, and have never tried to move anything I couldn't handle myself since, unless I have a spotter with me. the thing is, yes you can work out at home--but ask a friend over to work out with you. you NEED the encouragement of others working out, whether you stick to yourself or get to know them. Intimidated by the body builder types? Try working out with a IFBB pro some day! THAT's intimidation! But, no matter how big the people are or fit looking, just remember they all started out a LOT smaller than they are today. Talk to the other members--most will give free advice, or chat, or give you a spot if you need it. going to a gym is like going to church--you can worship at home, but it's just not the same

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  4. Posted: 28 Feb 07

    gymn in the winter time...sports and home-workouts in the summertime...cardio throughout the year...not trying to get to the olympics...just maintaining and keeping fit...good article...!

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  5.   mossimo36 says:
    Posted: 21 Feb 07

    I love the gym!! Wish I had a partner to go with....

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  6.   Fala says:
    Posted: 01 Feb 07

    I have a love/hate relationship with the gym. I dread the thought of going, but I am really pleased with myself when I manage to do it.

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  7.   sweetnes20 says:
    Posted: 28 Jan 07

    i must go, even though i hate it.

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  8.   sweetnes20 says:
    Posted: 22 Jan 07

    i hate the gym.

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  9.   mossimo36 says:
    Posted: 09 Dec 06

    I'm looking for a good workout to do when on the road...am changing jobs and it can be a challenge to get to a gym when gone from home for 4 days

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  10.   Fala says:
    Posted: 26 Nov 06

    It's hard to get motivated to go to the gym a lot of days, but once I finally do, I really am glad I did it. I'm looking forward to reading more of these fitness articles.

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  11.   nehuskerfan says:
    Posted: 26 Nov 06

    I prefer to work out in my home. But interesting article.

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  12. Posted: 24 Nov 06

    no pain, no gain!!!

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  13.   texasbest says:
    Posted: 20 Nov 06

    I just love your articles

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  14. Posted: 15 Nov 06

    This is a good article. THANKS!

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  15.   Kalilah says:
    Posted: 08 Nov 06

    Going to the gym is great fun...not to mention all the hotties that are there!

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  16.   charlee1 says:
    Posted: 25 Sep 06

    although i like to keep fit, i find going to the gym boring. i would much prefer to keep fit by other means i.e karate training, swimming, salsa classes and running.

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  17.   urmydestiny says:
    Posted: 19 Sep 06

    Great article! It's true, you can have a great workout without going to the gym. The more we feel we have to go to the gym the less we feel like going. Keeping fit should be a fun sport, not an added burden. Thanks for the email address and site name, I will definitely check it out.

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  18.   jimmirix says:
    Posted: 14 Sep 06

    Am still embarrased. How do I get over this and start going to the gym?

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