When I was 24, my girlfriend of 3 years, and at the time, the love of my life, broke up with me. That sucked. My initial reaction was to sulk. And drink. A lot.
Eventually I dusted myself off, and set monumental heap of things gone wrong I saw in the mirror would I start. I had a job, was about fixing myself. But where in this monumental heap of un-dateable-ness I saw in the mirror would I start. Well, my scrawny intoned body couldn’t be doing me any favors. I mean, that’s why you see all those ads about losing weight, getting in shape, burning fat, and getting ripped we’re all about. . You know, those guys in the commercials, with the ripped muscles. They’re the ones getting all the girls, right?
So, I joined a gym. The company I worked for had a discount rate at a nearby health club that my co worker s were taking advantsge of. I was going to join too. And I would fix myself, and girls would like the new me. If I could only work up the nerve to talk to them.
And to them gym I went. The staff showed me how to use the treadmill and they had a line of machines that you could work your way through to get a full body workout. I was off to a great start.
For the next few months I was at the gym almost every day after work. I often started my Saturday morning there too. I was motivated. Driven. I was drinking protein shakes, which made me fart a lot, and I was finally putting some weight on to my wiry frame.
And girls might have noticed, but I couldn’t tell. I was still afraid to talk to them. Why? I’m not even sure. I guess fear of rejection, lack of self confidence, who knows.
But for years I would keep going to the gym, and keep paying a monthly membership. I spent time packing up my gym clothes, driving to and from the gym, and working out.
I’d go through phases of not making to the gym as often, but I generally went a few times a week.
Exercise is good for your health. No doubt. And gyms provide access to a myriad of equipment that would cost a fortune to accumulate on your own, so they do provide value. Sure you can buy a pull up bar and do calisthenics like push ups and sit ups at home, but that gets old fast. And when things get old, complacency sets in, and sooner than later, you’re not exercising at all. So gyms provide a variety of exercises which can keep things more interesting, and allow you to train in a variety of ways.
Then, several years ago, I started mountain biking. In addition to exercise, mountain biking provided me with a way to channel anger and frustration and also to have a lot of fun. They gym still provided a place to exercise when the weather doesn’t cooperate; but my visits declined and I didn’t really miss it.
And I don’t miss the monthly payment. I don’t miss packing my gym bag, and I don’t miss waiting to use an occupied machine or other piece of exercise equipment. I like having the extra time back I would otherwise spend driving to and from the gym as well.
I’ll do some exercises at home occasionally. More often, I bring my mountain bike and riding gear with me to work so I can ride during the week. I also moved to a place where I can ride to trails right from my house. I haven’t had a gym membership in about a year. I wasn’t going much before that.
I often ride my mountain bike with friends. That’s a lot of fun. I feel like at the gym, everyone has ear buds on. Not many people talk to each other. And honestly I don’t want to talk to anyone when I’m there either- I just want to get my workout done and get out of there. It smells.
I’m still afraid to talk to girls. I’m not sure what the hell has to do with the gym or mountain biking, but neither seems to help. I guess I don’t care as much now.
I guess my point is that I thought I needed to fix something that was wrong with me so people would like me. Maybe more muscles weren’t the way for me impress girls. I’m still not sure what is. It’s actually not something I worry about as much. (I didn’t say not at all)
Somehow through trial and error and a lot of time I found out that doing what makes me happy makes me feel good, and I don’t worry so much about fixing myself so other people like me. Turns out that people seem to like me anyway.
So, maybe after all, it’s not gyms that are dumb. Maybe it’s me. Although they do smell.