Written by Mike Waudby
The gym for an overweight or obese person can be a scary and daunting place. In fact even those who don’t suffer from weight issues can find the gym an uncomfortable environment to be around.
This is simply due to a misconception some people have on gyms in general and one I use to share until I saw and experienced the real life benefits from visiting the gym and realised there not so scary after all.
All gyms are different and come with a unique atmosphere. There are two main types of gyms; the commercial style major chains and the smaller independent gyms. I have found from my experience and listening to clients that the biggest misconception of the more larger well known chain of gyms are that there full of perfectly tanned and amazing looking gorgeous people in tight lycra in a community of perfection as they all gather round, build up a sweat and flirt with each other.
It sounds over the top but a lot of people think like this and so did I at one point. The smaller independent gyms on the other hand are the opposite and may a have a few scary steroid users wanting to smash your head in or at least have a laugh and make fun.
This could not be further away from the truth and is simply not the case at all. In fact I find these the most helpful and enjoyable environments to train in. After personally visiting many different styles of gym now I wish to offer my top 10 reasons why I believe everyone should at least one time in their life, experience all of the benefits visiting a gym has to offer and end that misconception you may have.
My top 10 reasons to visit the gym
Equipment: which ever gym chosen to visit will no doubt have access to a wide variety of equipment to work up a sweat on and train those muscles including machines maybe never seen before and fitness classes that appeal and look fun to participate and be a part of. With so many options available and so many different ways in which one can train, the possibility of been able to mix training up when boredom sets in is always there and never limited in choice.
Making the effort: Joining a gym costs money and the journey there takes time so why on earth would you give up half way through a workout? If lack of motivation to train at home or outside is an issue, the gym is perfect. Nobody walks in and just walks out again just like nobody visits a bar not to order a drink. Time and money has been invested in the choice of joining a gym and once there the thought of giving up early and taking the easy option is much less likely than performing exercises in the luxury surroundings of your own home.
Misconception 1: Anyone who visits a gym will back this one up, in all gyms large or small the largest percentage of members are there for the same reasons as you: Either lose weight, improve health, improve muscular tone and get fit. Not that many are walking around with 6 packs! More like the majority trying to achieve a 6 pack, not training topless flaunting it. Every gym may have a poser or a woman covered in makeup but those are the ones people have a giggle at.
Misconception 2: Smaller independent gyms are not full of meat heads wanting to laugh at you or intermediate anyone. In fact if any members are using drugs to enhance muscle size no doubt they are also incredibly focused in their goals to make that risky choice. I’m sure they care more about their training and themselves than what you are doing. And from my experience, the biggest and meanest looking guys have actually cheered me on and motivated me more than anyone else and I will be forever grateful for. Motivation and support I would have never had if I choose not to join a gym.
Support: The gym offers support in more ways than one. You have the gym staff always on hand willing to help but in my opinion and most important is the other members. Nobody goes to a gym to laugh at others, gyms are full of supportive and encouraging members who enjoy helping others and witnessing others reach their goal. People take notice to those who try, and the gym is in fact the best place to find support from others that encourage the efforts been made.
Respect: When I think about who gets respect in the gym, I look at those fighting an illness or a disability yet they still manage to try no matter what. Then I see the fat person training their heart out. It takes a lot of balls for the fat guy or fat girl to step foot in the gym and make this effort to change in front of everyone and people will take note and respect this.
Inspiration: Leading from misconception 1, the majority of the gym population are in fact not in the best of shape, some are obese and some are extremely old or suffer from disabilities. To surround yourself with inspiring people willing to make this type of effort despite how difficult it is for them is motivation you can use. If they can fight their battle, you certainly have no excuse not to fight yours.
Community: Over time after regularly visiting a gym the people around you become familiar, people chat, people take notice of improvements, people share experiences, tips, what worked best for them and the next thing you know, friendships are been made and the gym is now a place to socialise and help each other.
Just remember training comes first!! Never spend to long talking while holding up a piece of equipment. This could be a point for a top 10 gym hates!
Results: With the power of all the above reasons fuelling your drive and training, get ready for results! Staying consistent with frequent visits to the gym will see the numbers drop on the scale, the waistline shrink and the muscle tone start to show and believe me, nothing in the world comes as close to that amazing sense of well being that is felt after working hard and seeing the results. This is an incredible achievement and the prefect reason to be extremely proud and confident and you too become support and an inspiration to others.
Lifestyle change: The key to sustainable weight loss and improved health is not a fad diet but a lifestyle change. The gym is not a one off visit or a quick fix. The gym can play a role as a second home so to stay where you now choose to visit because you want too. Improve on performance, maintain the weight loss, burn of the calories from a boozy night out, socialise with your gym buddies and have fun.
A gym can provide a platform in which you have the possibility to change your life and see things in a whole new perspective. A place to go when feeling stressed, or if it’s too cold outside and you don’t fancy a jog. The gym is a place where dreams are started and in time, those dreams are achieved.
Never fear the gym, the gym can be your ultimate weapon in life and a resource tool for your weight loss success and fitness goals.