When to Fire Your Gym

You pay money to join a gym, but the thought of actually going there makes you anxious. So, you don't go. Or you go, but you spend 15-minutes in your car giving yourself the pep talk to end all pep talks before you can bring yourself to actually walk inside. It's a mental workout just to get yourself through the front doors, never mind what it takes to feel brave enough to join-in on a class. You wonder if it's normal to feel this way.


But maybe not.

All gyms are not the same. There are big box gyms, for lack of a better term. But then there are smaller, locally-owned ones.

Then there are private studios, like ours, that offer personal training and small group options.  

Then there are places that only offer classes, sometimes particular kinds of classes. Yoga, Pilates and Barre studios are examples. 

And within each of those categories--gym, private studio, specialty studios--there is so much variety. Our studio isn't the same as the one across town, even though we offer the same thing on the surface. 

It's a personal preference thing, to be sure. What appeals to me, as a site for my workouts, might make you shudder. And vice versa. 

You might recall that I told you that Nikki and I joined another gym in the area. Well, I guess technically only I joined, but we toured it together. Anyway, recently she told me what a bad feeling she got as we toured. There was just something about it that didn't sit right with her. While there were a couple of specific things she could point to, for the most part it was a gut-level reaction. Totally different from my reaction, by the way.

That's not to say I loved it and thought it was perfect. I didn't. I don't like "going to the gym" for an equipment workout. I hate the gym smell, which this place has. But I didn't have the kind of visceral reaction to it that Nikki did. I like group classes and they have enough of those to interest me that I'll go for a while. Sometimes I'll go enthusiastically and sometimes less than enthusiastically, depending on the day. But I won't not go because I hate the place. (Apologies for the double negative there.) Does that make sense?

I just thought it was so interesting how two people could have such different impressions of the same place, toured at the same time, and given the same information. And I thought that maybe some of you might have negative associations with working out because you haven't found the environment that works for you. If you dread your workouts, maybe it isn't because you hate exercise. Maybe it's because you've joined a big gym when what you really need is a small studio. Or maybe you would love lifting heavy things at a gym, but are enduring classes at your neighborhood yoga studio because your friend loves it and you think you should too. 

I'd just encourage you to pay attention to how you feel when you think about going wherever it is you go to exercise. Do you shudder internally at the thought of it? Do you force yourself to go, even though you never have a moment of joy when you're there? Exercise isn't easy, but it should be fun. If it never is, then that may be a sign that you're in the wrong place. 

Let's all commit to ourselves that we'll love ourselves enough to find the right place, shall we?