Gyms are promoted as being great places to work out, get fit, and stay healthy. And of course, they are. Most gyms these days are loaded to the brim with all kinds of exercise equipment. From stair-climbers to free weights, machines and exercise bands and balls, not to mention personal trainers and numerous class offerings. The keys to fitness can be found in any gym.
But as much as I would love for my clothes to fit better or for my arms to have a little definition, I just have the worst time getting motivated enough to actually go to the gym. I know I need to be more physically active for my health, but I just can’t seem to get my glutes to the gym parking lot, much less the squat machine. I want to work out, get fit, and build health, yet I seem to have overwhelming mental and physical barriers in my way. Anyone else with me?
So for those of you in a similar rut, I propose this post-Lent challenge: Forget fitness. Let’s try using these other nine reasons to motivate ourselves to get our booties through the door. And who knows? Maybe some fitness will follow.
1. Childcare– Hello, this one is obvious. Yes, it’s an additional monthly fee, but for a mom who is overworked (inside or outside of the home) having a gym membership with childcare available whenever your heart desires can be the equivalent of having a babysitter on call. Sure, you may not be doing something relaxing like getting a manicure or shopping, but for those of us who just need a breather every once in a while, and very likely at a moment’s notice, I think a gym is a great option.
2. Fun for Kids– Along that same line, many gyms have phenomenal play areas for young kids. It can be a great alternative to an indoor playground or –dare I say it—a fast food play place. Some gyms such as Life Time Fitness even include athletic classes for children in their fee.
3. Alone Time– While the kids are busy having a blast under a trained professional’s supervision, moms can enjoy some much-needed time to themselves. Even just walking on the treadmill for an hour while you watch your favorite show can be enough to rejuvenate you and get you through the rest of your busy day. As a bonus, you just walked for an hour that you otherwise wouldn’t have!
4. Listen to Music with Swearing– One of the best ways to get pumped up during a workout (or a mom break) is to throw on the headphones and listen to some good jams. Forget the Lego Movie soundtrack, guys. At the gym you can listen to whatever you want, and no little ears are going to overhear and tell Grandma.
5. Social Interaction– As a stay at home mom, sometimes I just miss talking to other adults. Whether it’s chit chatting after Zumba class, or being hit on by random dudes wearing tank tops, just that little bit of adult interaction can be fuel for a lonely mom. And if you start making the gym part of your regular routine, you may actually get to know some of the people who are there frequently as well.
6. Avoid Everyone Without Feeling Guilt– On the other end of the spectrum, the gym is the perfect place to put in your headphones and totally zone out. If you don’t want to interact with anyone, you absolutely have a good excuse to just keep doing your thing.
7. Air Conditioning– Summer is fast approaching and here in Phoenix the heat is no laughing matter. Since playing outdoors is rarely an option for any length of time, finding things to do indoors is a necessity. Consider joining a gym to beat the heat with the kiddos this Summer.
8. Shower Alone– Anyone with small kids knows that showering without an audience does not happen often. While you may not be completely alone in a locker room shower area, you will most definitely not have to break up a toddler fight while also rinsing your hair.
9. Justify Your Activewear Wardrobe– I love my yoga pants as much as the next person, but I do feel a little guilty wearing them solely for the comfort factor and not at all for their intended purpose. Head to the gym and suddenly half my wardrobe is no longer poser-status.
If getting in a killer workout isn’t your primary motivation for going to the gym, I think that’s okay. Get to the gym for whatever reason motivates you, and I truly believe the rest will follow. You may not be breaking any weight lifting records, but everyone has to start somewhere. And for an average Joe like me, that place is at the door.