Monday, March 22, 2010

Quitting the Gym

For the fifth time now, I've tried, and failed, to maintain a regular schedule at the gym. Every time, I go for a few days in the first week, sometimes even four in a row. I feel super excited. The next week, I go once. The week after that, I go twice. Then I stop altogether for weeks at a time and start all over again a month or so later.

Three of times I went through this cycle, I was paying for the membership. Twice, I had a workout buddy to go with. This most recent time, I had a wedding to get in shape for.

Every week for the last year, I've gone to bed on Sunday with every intention of going to the gym after work every day. I knew all the tricks: pack your bag the night before, keep it in the car, go to the gym closest to your work, park the car close to the gym so you have no excuse. Nothing helped.

Instead of beating myself up about this, this time, I've decided to accept defeat. I totally fail at going to the gym.

They say a failure isn't really a failure if you learn something from the experience. I don't care if I learned anything except that I don't consistently go to the gym.

There are lots of reasons people give, and I have in the past given, for not going to the gym. I used to be very self-conscious about changing in the locker rooms and everyone seeing me attempt a 20-minute mile on the treadmill, panting and clutching my side. I'm proud of how less self-conscious I've felt at the gym this most recent try, so that's not what is keeping me away.

It's not that I'm bored either. I often had a lot of fun exercising, was always happy after a work out, and several times I did lots of different exercises and had a great time.

Maybe the gym just isn't for me. Maybe that's just what people say when they give up on something. Who cares? I'm not going to renew my subscription and waste more money. Instead, I'm taking a different approach: bringing more balance to my life.

I've started doing silly little yoga poses in my living room every morning before breakfast; Maddie thinks I've gone nuts. I think about the amount of vegetables and fruits I consume compared with the amount of carbs instead of beating myself up over missing 30 minutes on the treadmill.

Since it's summer, I want to take advantage of how easy it is to be outside by taking longer walks with Maddie. I also want to go camping as often as possible - wouldn't it be awesome to go on a hiking/camping trip? Hike deep into the woods somewhere with everything you need on your back, sleep under the trees for a few nights, and then return to civilization? I think so.

That is the kind of activeness I want to pursue. I thought the gym would be a part of that, and maybe it will be in the future. Maybe all I need is great self-discipline and mindfulness and I'll become a gym junkie. But from now I, I refuse to feel guilty about not having a gym membership that I don't use and instead work on those skills for free!


  1. I'm totally down for a camping/hiking adventure! We can bring the pups and the kayaks and we will have a fabulous time and who cares about the gym! I'm in the same boat! I haven't been able to be a consistent gym goer EVER!!! unless it was required for the team sport I was playing!! :) ~A

  2. I don't understand it - it must be some kind of discipline thing that I just dont have that some people do that gets them to the gym every day for months and months...hasn't happened for me yet!