My partner and I are members of a very nice gym – there’s a sauna, Jacuzzi, classes, the lot. But we alternate between hammering it four times a week and total indolence.
I don’t know why, as there are few threatening body beautifuls in fancy headphones. In fact, there are more oldies, who are considerably bigger than me. So I don’t have a fear of going to the gym because I feel fat-shamed.
And it’s not that I’m unfit and worry I may collapse. I walk my dog for 30 minutes a day and I can easily do 25 minutes fast walking on the running machine at the steepest incline without breaking a sweat (well, I do a bit).
Neither is it that I don’t have anyone to go with. My partner is very fit and encourages me to go. But when I do it’s with a burning resentment as if he’s forcing me to become teetotal or go vegan.
Yes, of course, that resentment disappears when I’m through the cardio because that’s when the dopamine has kicked in and convinced me that I actually like going to the gym.
So why is there this disconnect between my capabilities and my desire to go? The word is motivation. I don’t actually believe that the gym is going to change my life, or give me Madonna’s body. The effort surpasses the results.
Some suggest going to classes as a way of keeping on track. I tried Zumba, but thought it was cheesy. I did circuit training and thought I was going to vomit. I did one and a half hours of yoga which bored me rigid and got me thinking of all the more interesting things I could be doing rather than the ‘down dog’ for the 20th time. Even my dog does fewer downdogs in that space of time. Pilates is an option because I’ve done it before and know it works, I just can’t see myself doing it four times a week until I die having not achieved Madonna’s body. So what’s the point?
The point is self-discipline, which is a concept everyone is aware of, but few truly understand. The most successful people in life exert discipline on a daily basis and probably go to the gym, too. It is vital to every living being and without it, the world around us would be chaos.
So to kick-start that self-discipline I need to remind myself of positive reasons to go to the gym. I may live longer, I may look better, I may feel mentally stronger, I may sleep better. Maybe I should substitute the word ‘may’ for ‘will’.
Stress-relief, is another benefit. You can enter the gym with murderous intentions and leave with puppy dog brain.
And having written all that, I suddenly have an urgent need to work out.