Is it just me or is there a lot of pressure to go to the gym? Thanks to social media, body comparison and body shaming has become so intense that sometimes I feel the only way to get through life is to go to the gym and have the “perfect” body. Just over a year ago I actually quit the gym, and although I have moments where I feel like I did the wrong thing because everyone else seems to go to the gym, I haven’t looked back and can honestly say I am the happiest and healthiest version of me.
1// I get to spend the time I spent at the gym doing things I actually enjoy. I loved going to the gym when I first started but it soon became a laborious task and I ended up hating it. It’s a cliché I know but life really is too short to do things you don’t enjoy. I would much rather spend that time reading a book, baking, watching a movie or meeting up with friends.
2// I no longer feel guilty for having rest days or for not having a great workout. The whole “a bad workout is better than no workout” never worked for me. I genuinely feel less guilty about not going to the gym at all than I did when I had a “bad” workout day. (I know that doesn’t make much sense but it’s how I feel.)
3// I am no longer obsessing over macros. When I was going to the gym I was so worried I wasn’t eating correctly in order to see progress and I spent SO much time food planning, not eating certain “bad” foods and making sure I ate enough protein. It was so obsessive that my mind was constantly thinking about food and I was distracted from the real world and more important things my mind should be focused on. I could never engage fully in a task because I was constantly calculating.
4// I no longer beat myself up over not seeing progress. This was something I struggled with majorly. I hate to admit it but I am one of those people that does 50 sit ups and expects to have a six pack! (Well not quite but you get my drift.) I spent so much of my time body checking, and scrolling through the internet to try and find the “best” workouts. However, by not going to the gym I don’t expect to see progress and I have become so much more accepting of how I look.
5// I understand that a lot of people enjoy the gym and the way it makes them feel but I really didn’t enjoy it and hated how it made me feel. When I came home from the gym I would have a short burst of energy but after half an hour I just felt exhausted. However, doing exercise I enjoy, such as dance, I feel so energised and happy for hours after.
6// Because I am not aiming to look a certain way anymore I feel much more comfortable in my own skin. In fact, I feel more comfortable now after not going to the gym in just over a year than I did when I was going to the gym 5/6 times a week. I am learning to accept my body for how it is rather than constantly trying to change it “for the better”.
7// Let’s face it, gym memberships are pretty pricey. Now I get to spend the money I saved on the gym on things I enjoy and making memories.
Please don’t think that I am saying that gyms are “bad” and everyone who goes obviously cares about their looks more than their time or money because that is not what I am saying at all. What I am trying to say is that it’s okay to not enjoy the gym. It is okay to not have a “perfect body”. You don’t have to feel guilty for not going to the gym. I am living my happiest and healthiest life now making memories and spending my time given to me, living the way I want to. So don’t feel guilty if you’re someone like me who really really hates the gym. We are all different and we all have different interests. Just because social media tells us we should do something, it doesn’t mean we have to listen.
“Be you, the world will adjust.”