I recently joined a gym. I have never belonged to a gym before. Ok, that’s not quite true. I have belonged to a gym in college (where we goofed around in the racketball court) and the local YMCA while training for a triathlon (but I only swam there). This is the first time I’m a proper paying member at a gym.
For as long as I’ve been working out (roughly 12 years now), I’ve been all on my own. Running on trails and streets. Doing bodyweight workouts. Except for a few times when I haven’t worked out at all (that may be a story for another time), I’ve been all on my own.
Why now? And why join a gym?
There are a number of reasons I joined. Sure, the gym isn’t perfect. There are other people there. Geesh, who wants that? But being a member does have it’s advantages.
I want to start swimming again. Swimming is a great way to stay in shape. I enjoyed swimming while training for the triathlons I competed in. We have a local YMCA, but the monthly fees there are really expensive. The gym near my house has a pool with swim lanes and is much cheaper than the YMCA.
I have also started running again here and there. I used to always run outside. I really like our local trail, but it turns out they don’t clear the entire trail of snow and ice in the Wintertime. I’ve run on the trail during the Winter and it’s not a great idea. I’ve almost fallen a number of times. I am going to use those fancy treadmills in our gym to run when it gets crappy out. But honestly, nothing beats an outdoor run when it’s nice out.
My poor little setup at home, has a chin-up bar (which I love), but it’s attached to a short(er) door frame. So, in order to do chin-ups and pull-ups, I need to bend my legs. And I can’t go too high, or else I’ll hit my head on the ceiling. It’s not an ideal setup. I also have some weights, but they max out at pretty light amounts and I’m not interested in buying heavier weights. The gym has some heavy weights and a bunch of chin-up bars. I no longer have to bend my legs, or watch how high I go.
That’s great. What don’t you like?
The free weights area is where I prefer to exercise. I’m not a bulky (or even muscular) guy. It turns out that whenever I go to the gym, I am one of the smallest people (men and women) in this area. It can be a bit intimidating.
I have a warmup routine that I’ve been using for a while now. It involves a number of calisthenics (jumping jacks, high knees, etc). There isn’t a really nice place to do this at the gym. I’ve been doing them in the mat area. But I feel like that isn’t the best place for this. Until I figure out a better spot for it, or someone asks me to stop, I’ll keep at it there. I haven’t seen anyone else at the gym doing anything like this. I feel like I’m alone in my warmup routine.
I also do my workouts in a circuit. One exercise, followed by another (different) exercise. I do this instead of completing all of my sets in a given exercise. On my second day to the gym, someone asked me if I was going to be coming back to a piece of equipment I was using. I said that I would be and that I was working out in a circuit. I don’t think he liked that answer that much. But, the place was kind of busy, and I didn’t want to tie up three areas of the gym. So, instead of working in a circuit, I finished up my exercises there and then moved on. I’ll have to adjust to being a good gym citizen. At home, I was the only one working out, so I could do whatever I wanted.
Despite these few issues, I just put my headphones in, put my head down and get my work done. I don’t really care what anyone else is doing there. I’m there for me, not them. So far I’m happy with my membership. It’s only been a few weeks, but I’m trying to get there as often as I can.