Giving up the gym (OMG!)
Last week I gave up my gym membership.
Yep. I did. And it scares the hell out of me. Because I like the gym. I like it quite a lot. I don’t think I love it, but it’s familiar and predictable. And it’s been like a second home to me for many, many years.
I joined this particular gym just after the birth of my third child. I had a ton of baby weight to shift, and then I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. “Exercise is the key to keeping it down,” the doctor told me. So like good patient I did as I was told and went nearly every week. At first I just used the gym, but later I moved on to classes and I really enjoyed them.
Week in and week out I would try to go at least twice a week. Three times if I could make the Saturday morning class. This meant a 20 minute car trip each way – longer if the traffic was horrendous. In total, the whole gym trip would take the best part of two hours, once you added on shower time. If I was tempted to do two classes the whole morning was gone.
This routine meant I was always in a rush. Rushing to get to the gym. Rushing to get changed. Rushing to get home to get work and clearing up done.
Near the end of last year I had minor surgery which meant I couldn’t go to the gym. I could only do gentle exercise, so I walked the dogs and did some yoga on YouTube instead. It was a revelation. I found I enjoyed exercising at home. The change was refreshing.
Once I had healed, I realised that I didn’t crave the gym the way I once did. So after much deliberation I decided to take the plunge and end my membership. My husband had recently decluttered the garage, so we made some of this space into a small workout area. Now I can do a whole range of classes at home on YouTube on the iPad. It also gives my kids the opportunity to watch me at weekends and laugh! Although sometimes they join in too. Result.
Here are a few bonuses to ending my membership…
• No more driving
I didn’t have to do the 40 minute round trip anymore. Enough said.
• No more rushing
I didn’t have to rush to get to a class on time, or to get home. I could start my mornings at a slower pace (okay, I have three kids so this is not strictly true, but it made life a little easier).
• No more membership fees
Working out at home saved me a lot of money.
A walk every morning helped me to appreciate the beautiful countryside that we live in, and how it changed from season to season. I found it really calming.
• More time
I realized that my workouts didn’t always have to be an hour and I could tailor them to my day. This freed up time when I needed it.
• More flexibility
If I had an appointment I couldn’t miss, I could workout later in the day. This meant I never needed to miss a workout. Also, I could do whatever workout I felt like. If I didn’t want to walk, I could do Pilates. If I didn’t want to do yoga, I could do a strength workout. I’m more likely to work out if it’s an activity I want to do.
• More choice
Doing classes on YouTube has meant I can try a whole range of different classes for free. This gives means my workouts never stay the same. It’s exciting to try something new which in turn makes me more motivated to work out.
Since leaving the gym I definitely feel that some of the day-to-day pressure has been lifted. I’m not saying I won’t go back to the gym ever again, but this break is allowing me to change up my routine and really dedicate time to the things I enjoy.
Of course, I’m not telling you to end your gym membership. Not at all. I’m simply showing you that a change in routine can lead you in a different direction. It can also highlight what is really important in your life when perhaps you have lost sight of it. Change can be good, no matter how scary it is.
Do something that scares you.
Take a risk.
The result might be wonderfully surprising!