As I predicted earlier in this series, the gym is on its way out. “But wait,” you say; “I will miss the camaraderie!”
Oh, really? You’ll miss all the whining jerks who are dragging you down?
One of the very worst things about the gym is the culture of commiseration. Over and over, to show how “human” they are, the fittest people in the class will roll their eyes and grunt and go “ugh” and “oof” to deflect the hostility of the people who don’t have their act together yet.
It’s human nature to want to deflect envy and hostility. But that behavior infects everyone in your fitness class.
Do you know what your main objective should be when you’re trying to get your act together? It should not be to meet any particular weight-loss or body fat percentage goal. It is not deadlifting ten more pounds by next Wednesday. It is not to get visible abs or biceps.
It is to get your brain to look forward to exercise. It is to condition your mind to think “Endorphins! Kickin’ ass! Fun!” when you think of the word “workout.” Everyone knows that you need to make working out a habit to get any lasting benefits. Nobody knows how to DO that, it seems.
At least, nobody who’s standing around commiserating and going “Oh noes, I hate burpees!” knows how to do that.
If your life sucks, you need pleasure you can reasonably expect to count on. You need something to look forward to. As I’ve said before, you need exercise to be a positive thing in your life. Not six weeks down the road when you see the results. I mean now, this morning, when you get off the couch and get your heart rate up and do what the French call se changer des idees, which roughly means “pulling your head out of your ass and feeling better.”
Hanging around a gym where people bitch and moan about how it feels bad to warm up and oh, my fat thighs are aching, and when is this going to be over? does ZERO to add to the mental health benefits of your workout, and it does ZERO to help you develop healthy habits.
Working out can and should be something to look forward to. When your life is a disaster–and sometimes even when it isn’t–your fun, playful endorphin buzz can be the highlight of your entire day.
I can hear all the cool kids in the back of the class rolling their eyes and going “lame.” Can you hear them too? Maybe you can’t erase all the brain damage the popular girls did to you back in high school, but you can at least physically remove their noxious influence from your physical presence by getting the f*** out of the gym.
Turn on a workout video, blast your favorite music, and make yourself feel good. Keep your mental processes around exercise positive and you will find over time that it takes almost more effort to stay on the couch than it does to get off it.
You’ve got enough crap in your life without letting people tell you your workout is bullshit.