New Year Resolutions – To Get a Gym Membership or Not?

Where the Hell Did 2016 Go?

2016’s concludes in less than two months. With the holidays leading to gluttonous behaviors, those participating may have wrapped themselves in guilt as excessive pounds rear their ugliness on the scale leading them into your local meat head or “judgement free zone” facility. Funny or sad as it may be, as a frequent gym goer, patrons such as myself notice a packed facility only to revert back to normal capacity within a matter of weeks. Year long contracts have been signed, credit card number exchanged, and initiation fees waived to entice people making a healthier version of themselves. Frankly, I HATE paying for services that go unconsumed. I loathe that I have satellite television, miss my weekend beer league hockey, and missing a day at the gym. The last two have become so ingrained in my life, I feel empty if I my participation declines.

As these seasonal resolutionists fill the squat racks appearing clueless while doing push ups between the rack with the bar resting on the pins above them with no weight, I wonder what drives them away?* Time, intimidation, or forming a new habit all seem to have a force. Please realize, you’re there for you and no one else. I realize there are many questions, but here I concentrate on the excuses listed above. Hopefully you’ll start prepping yourself for a better you in 2017.

*Seriously, I’m happy to see anyone trying to improve their health and don’t mean to sound like a dick, but us that frequent the gym can spot these things. Part of Swoll Bro is for inclusion. While I may not have the answers for all questions, I can hopefully be relatable.

Time

To prove I’m relatable I’ll tell you two things. One, I have the same twenty-four hours in a day like you. Two, I put on each pant leg one at a time. My point is, I have time constraints working a couple of jobs, being a dad, husband, and I still find about an hour and a half to make my health better. Carve out time in your day to say, “This is MY time.” My opinion on this particular time should be morning or lunch time (if you can do lunch time, I’m lucky with the flexibility my job offers). I’ve found in my life, these times often remain consistent for unexpected events throughout the day.

ACTION ITEM
  • MAKE A PLAN AND CARVE OUT THAT TIME NOW!

Intimidation

I was first introduced to weight training in high school, even received gym credit for it as classes. I felt comfortable there around my friends and coaches for strength training. My barriers were broken down again, pretty easily, when my neighbors asked me to go a local meat head gym. What got me over the intimidation with the various machines, large plates and dumbbells, large body builders, was being introduced to each machine by my friends. Also realize, the large body builders in the gym probably have different goals from you and may be months ahead of where you’re starting. They’ve also acquired knowledge over the years as a base for their training and have been consistent training and dieting. But as you see, they are also proof that you too can accomplish your goals.

Lastly, if you find the machines, dumbbells, squat racks, weight benches, curl bars, whatever it is intimidating, know that the staff at those gyms are there to help you. Most likely they’ll even help instruct on how to use the equipment. ASK QUESTIONS!

ACTION ITEMS
  • Find a Friend to Go
  • Gain Knowledge
  • Ask Questions

Habit Forming or Dismantling

After discussing with a co-worker who frequented the gym prior to moving to Michigan, he also felt uneasy if there were times he’d miss the daily gym routine for the day. Why have these habits been formed? According to Psychology Today, “…behavioral patterns we repeat most often are literally etched into our neural pathways. The good news is that, through repetition, it’s possible to form—and maintain—new habits.” Terri Crews, shares similar advice via a Reddit.com AMA, which he notes, “Go to the gym, don’t even work out. Just GO. Because the habit of going to the gym is more important than the work out. Because it doesn’t matter what you do. You can have fun – but as long as you’re having fun, you continue to do it.”

Frankly, I feel lazy and disrupted if I’m unable to get to the gym in a day. While this is a good habit I formed, how have I dismantled bad habits, because as I’ve noted in previous posts that I am a beer lover.

The Dismantle

A number of habits needed to be dismantled in order to accomplish my goals. For instance, the extra calories and beers consumed in the evening needed to be shaved a bit. I didn’t realized how habitual having a few beers at night became as it contributed to the waistline. Along with that, it seemed as if this opened up path to eat more, particularly salty snacks. So what did I do to cut this habit? I think drinking is more of a social habit. Instead, I replaced my beers with water, which did a couple of things. It rid of the extra. calories and made me feel fuller longer.

After a couple of weeks, I felt saying no was easier, and I didn’t have the desire to reach for a beer at the end of the day. Also to help curb these habits, I’ve done the following:

ACTION ITEMS
  • Created a daily task list
  • Created a blog for accountability
  • Documented my food to take the guess work about what to eat

Membership or No Membership?

Finally, if you want to make changes for your life, make sure you’re going into with the correct mindset. I often ask myself during cardio, “What’s another five minutes,” as I approach the end of my HIIT. Another five minutes hasn’t killed me yet. With the suggestions above, I hope you can decide whether or not a gym membership is worth it.

#GetSwollBro

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