Last month I quit my gym membership to a Les Mills Fitness First. It was pricey. A bit too pricey. But here’s how I justified it: It was just 15 minutes away by foot from where I live, inside the mall that I visited near daily, with hot showers and a smorgasboard of fitness classes all day long! It would serve as my “training wheels” for slum living when I didn’t want to take a cold “shower” from a bucket. And since the membership was more expensive than my $50 rent, I figured I could get away with the extra bill.
For a full year, it served its purpose well but I outgrew those training wheels.
It started off great. Two free personal training sessions and daily gym activity for 1-3 hours straight. But then it gradually sank into the usual slump. You know the drill. You’re all gung ho in the beginning but you putter out in the end. Even with my gym so conveniently near, I couldn’t make a regular habit.
You don’t need a gym to guilt you when you don’t work out. You need *REAL* commitment
It doesn’t matter how near your gym is, as I’ve found out. You can and will always make excuses. So how do you get over it? You commit.
To those who think throwing their money into a gym is “committing”, then think again. The shift happens in your mind, not your wallet. If you don’t take the first step in your mind, then the gym membership is a waste. The free thinking that comes with the shift to commit is free. So utilize it.
Getting creative when you commit
When you commit, you don’t need the gym to workout. I’ve been a fan of home workouts and dvds for a long while, but beyond that, you can take up running. It’s one of the most affordable exercises because you can do it anywhere, as long as the weather permits and you have the right attire.
Use common household objects for workout accessories. Water bottles can double as light weights and couches and chairs can become great workout tools for circuit training and reps.
Dance your pants off. Literally. One of my favorite things to do when I’m alone is dance to loud music
naked in my underwear! I do this in “weird” moods, normally late at night, or just randomly. It doesn’t happen often, but if you can make it a habit to dance, you’re well on your way. Part of me wishes I had gotten into the rave scene just so I could have a fun way to get fit.
Mainly, I just make it a point to move. Movement should be a part of your daily routine. With my new job (ahem* more on that later), I now commute 1 1/2 hours every day on foot. It’s a great way to stay in shape. Walking is a pretty underrated exercise but there’s huge benefits and its low impact can make it accessible to anyone. I also take the stairs up and down during my route and try to use the stairs over the elevator with the 7th floor office…sometimes.
Now that I no longer have a gym, I’ve been forced to think more creatively when getting my work outs and that makes me more likely to commit to them because It forces me to plan.
My Tuesdays are fun pole dance classes that I pay per session, in walking distance from work. No gym membership! My Thursdays are now filled with wall climbing that’s also paid per session and every Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, I’ve started to run laps at a park across the street from work where everyone gathers to run. Designated running spaces are a plus, but not necessary.
Keep your workouts fun. There’s no use if you don’t enjoy it. Try to have the mindset of play time, like recess during grade school. Even the word work out sometimes makes me shudder. The gym gives me a mental block from “working out” because its often associated with things that I don’t enjoy! By getting into work mode for physical fitness, my mind shifts into the task becoming an unfulfilling chore. Maybe I just don’t have the discipline, but getting as far away from the gym is more my style.
Explore nature. If you can get away from the concrete jungle, nature is a great rejuvenator and an excellent way to exercise or clear your thoughts. Whether you’re hiking, biking, or trail running, there are many ways to enjoy fresh air while you’re moving. I miss the time I was a 10 minute walk from a river trail. Oregon spoils you with its natural beauty.
The Anti Gym
Contracts kill the free spirit. A contract with a gym, living situation, or even a job can send me running the other way. I’m considering “joining” an anti-gym, that has no contracts and pay per session or per bundle packages from month to month or a series of classes. Gym FTX (also walking distance from my work) uses this model with lots of success, and exciting classes including aerial yoga!
Having zero contracts empowers you to make the right choices on your own terms. You’re realize how many options are actually available to you if you think creatively.
Stay away from traditional gyms, if you can help it, and start creating the life you want without the obligations.