Even the thought of just going to the gym can send shivers down a person’s spine, but for me, that thought has morphed into something more – a healthy habit. I am in no way preaching from my high horse and claiming to be an expert on all things fitness, but rather share my journey and why fitness is such an important part of my life.
I understand, going to the gym is not something on most people’s list of ‘Favorite Activities’. It may be hard to believe when I say that for me, it’s pretty close to the top and I think it can be that way for everyone. Don’t be fooled, I didn’t wake up one morning magically addicted to the gym – it took a lot of hard work, time, and change in perspective to get to where I’m at today, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
1. Fitness Is Good For You
This probably seems like a no brainer, but when you’re just getting started with your commitment to the gym, it’s an easy thing to forget - all that sweat feels gross and there are times when your whole body hurts, but it does get better and with time you’ll start to feel the benefits. Your body will thank you in some silent ways – your heart rate will be more controlled, and your heart will strengthen, you’ll breathe better and best of all you’re more likely to live longer!
2. Fitness Relieves Stress
Being a student, and even just being a person in general, comes with its fair share of stress and most people have their own way of dealing with it – some better than others. I have found the best and healthiest way is blowing off steam at the gym.
3. Fitness Helps You Sleep Better
Among its many benefits, working out improves your sleep cycle. I attribute this to a correlation with stress relief. Who can fall asleep with a million thoughts rushing and an intense feeling of being overwhelmed? Less stress equals a calm mind and a better night’s sleep.
4. Fitness Doesn't Have To Be Expensive
There is many an excuse to not exercise but lack of money shouldn’t be one of them. Your body is your best asset – it’s a portable gym! Need cardio? Go for a run outside. Want to build muscle? Go online and search for body weight exercises. The options are endless. I have yet to attend a school that doesn’t have a fitness center for its students. Looking for an inexpensive membership elsewhere? Planet Fitness offers one for ten dollars a month and it doesn’t get much better than that!
5. You Don't Have To Be "Athletic"
The beauty of the gym is that it is for beginners and experts alike. Trust me, I have tried almost every sport under the sun and failed pretty miserably at most of them. I was no varsity athlete in high school and gym class was the absolute worst. Once I found the gym, I realized that I didn’t have to be “athletic” to succeed. There are so many different machines to try and there really is something for everyone – Spinning is my absolute favorite!
6. Fitness Makes You Look Better
I think for most people this is the number one reason they decide to work out, trouble is this is one of the benefits that takes the longest to achieve. It’s easy to feel discouraged when you don’t see results right away so I suggest staying as far away from the scale as possible and focus on how you feel. You’re going to drink more water when you’re working out so it may initially seem like you’re gaining weight, but it’s only due to your increased water consumption. I also think that if you reframe your thought process and view weight loss, as just one result of working out you’ll be more likely to stick to it.
7. Athletic Gear Is Comfy
I used to be of the mentality that I was not going to pay a lot of money for clothes I was only going to sweat in, so for the first stages of my fitness exploration I wore a lot of free t-shirts. As time went on and I became more serious about the gym I decided to splurge on some cute athletic apparel and it made a noticeable difference in my attitude – I felt more confident in my body because I was wearing clothes that flattered my figure, the one I worked (and continue to work) hard on. Athletic gear doesn’t have to be ridiculously expensive either. To my surprise Aeropostale has really fun and functional gym wear at a reasonable price as well as Marshall’s or TJ Maxx.
8. You Are Surrounded By Positivity
One of the best things about going to the gym is the amount of positive energy that is palpable from the minute you enter. Sure, everyone is there for his or her own reasons, but we all have a common goal: to get fit. Seeing other people working out is inspiring and it makes me want to work that much harder. I am a strong supporter of group fitness classes, you are literally surrounded by people who are doing the exact same workout as you and because of that there is a sense of community and support. It can be difficult to be your own cheerleader sometimes and to really push yourself, which is why group fitness is such a wonderful thing!
9. Fitness Is A Healthy Addiction
The great thing about going to the gym is that once you start going, and going consistently it becomes a habit – or as I like to say, a healthy addiction. I realized I was addicted when it started to feel as though something was off when I didn’t go. As much as at least one day of rest is important for the body it’s harder for me to not get a workout in then it is to take a day off. The key word here is consistently and this word is why so many people give up on their gym memberships soon after they join. If working out is not a priority for you it can be difficult to make it one but it’s better to do three times a week at forty-five minutes then cram in an hour and a half workout two days a week. It takes approximately 21 days to make a habit so I challenge you to give it a shot and come back to me after 21 days and say you don’t feel better.
I’m lucky to be at the point in my life where fitness is one of my top priorities but it was no easy road to get there. It literally took a lot of sweat and tears to get to where I’m at but I am so proud of the journey. Beyond the normal things I miss about home when I’m away from school (my parents, my bed, my dog, home cooked meals, etc.), I miss the gym I go to because that is the place where I truly found my fitness bliss. Work hard. Sweat hard.
Special shout out to Peak Performance and Wellness for their amazing instructors and staff who inspire me and push me to work even harder towards a better me.