At New Years we all set resolutions to be the healthiest versions of ourselves in the coming year. However, it can be really hard to put that into action. Will power is hard. Saying no to sugary treats and yes to healthy snacks and clean eating is hard. Pushing yourself to do something you aren’t looking forward to is hard. But maybe, just maybe this post will make you realize that it really can be fun to go to the gym (and good for your whole family). Or it may help you find the WHY of the question “Why should I go?” Once you discover this, you’ll be headed there yourself!
Confession time: Until 4 years ago, I had never been big on going to the gym. In fact, I didn’t really do much physical exercise at all. I wasn’t a couch potato, just not one of “those” that parade around in their workout clothes all day. And, I was about 25 pounds overweight. Attractive, I know.
I wasn’t necessarily happy with my state. Just not unhappy enough to do anything about it. My hubby and I kept talking that we should “do something”… by something I mean something to lose the weight we put on because of marital bliss and babies! (Yes, even hubby put on and kept on baby weight!)
Then we got the mailer from the YMCA saying they had $0 membership fee if you signed up that month and they had free childcare. Nothing excited me more about working out than 2 hours of alone time. Yes, yes, I had weight that I wanted to bid goodbye to, but the gym could offer me something more than sweat and grunts and weight machines. They could offer me a little sanity too. Seriously, they had me at “FREE CHILDCARE!”
Starting January 2013, I actually used my gym membership and I LOVED IT! Surprisingly, I even love my workouts and the health benefits. And 4 years later, I still love going to the gym. The key is to know your why and find what you love. My why started as needing some “Me time”. Time to rejuvenate myself, to take care of me. And I found that my love became Zumba. (Believe it or not, I loved it so much I became a certified Zumba instructor and now teach at the YMCA 3 times a week!)
Hopefully these 11 reasons will give you something to think about and help you discover your WHY as well. Read up and I just may be seeing you at the gym too!
11 Reasons to go to the Gym
11. Free childcare. Each gym may have different childcare rules/requirements. However, our Y has 2 full hours of childcare every. single. day! Some days I mark my territory in sweat and claim a table in the lounge to work and blog. Some days I shower at the gym. It’s rare, but some days I’ve actually worked out the full 2 hours. The nice thing is, as long as you’re in the building, the childcare workers don’t care what you’re doing. And the childcare is included in the membership costs. So it would be a shame not to use it and get some much needed time “me time”.
10. I can shower by myself! I can’t tell you how much I need this some days. If I’m home and turn on the shower, no matter how early it is, one of my boys shows up in the bathroom and declares that he is getting in with me. Rather than wallowing in mom-dirt, I have found that my tiny little shower stall at the Y, even amidst the gossiping older ladies or the Opera shower singer, gives me some peace of mind and allows me to tune the rest of the world out for 10 minutes!
9. Zumba. I LOVE IT! I get to shake my hips and call it a workout at the same time! I can’t tell you how much fun it is!
8. My little old lady friends. Yup, our Y is a happening Silver Sneakers hot spot! It’s encouraging to see them so active and staying fit even in their 70s. And, it’s nice to have the older ladies with their reassuring words and “I remember those days” as they fawn over your children and reminisce second-hand the craziness that comes with little ones. Sometimes it’s their encouragement on a rough day that helps me remember to breath and smile.
7. New friends. SAHMs are the second largest group dominating our Y mid-morning. Ask any one of these ladies why they’re at the gym and they’ll tell you to “work out”. Ask them again and they’ll tell you the truth… to get a break from their kids and oh, yah… to work out! It’s a connection we all share. We want to be healthy and take care of ourselves so we can take better care of our families. And if that comes with getting 2-hours to ourselves during the day, then heck yah, we’re going to the gym!
6. Accountability. When you know people at the gym and you don’t go, they’ll ask you. Even if its a legit reason like “my kid’s school and speech schedule doesn’t allow me to get here in the morning,” it’s still nice to know you’re missed. Plus, they’ll often ask you to join in their running club or another class. It’s good to have accountability partners to keep you on task… or if nothing else, make you feel guilty enough about not getting to the gym that you get your butt back in there!
5. Work out clothes. I now wear them all day. It’s actually because I worked out, not because yoga pants are the closest thing to pjs! And I can say that with pride!
4. The locker room. Not the locker room itself or the physical act of using the locker room. But the vision the locker room holds of my future. I’m still 15 pounds over weight and while most of us have things we would like to change about our bodies, its sometimes good to have a visual reminder of what we can work on… and why. Like I said, there is quite an older crowd at our Y in the morning which means lots of older ladies in the locker room. And they are completely naked. And they take their time. And it’s really uncomfortable having a locker next to one of them… especially the chatty ones. However, knowing that my sags and bulges now are not very sightly and knowing how much more things will sag and stretch in the future is a great reason to get toned up and slimmed down now!
3. Health benefits. I’m sure you’re wondering why this isn’t #1 on my list. Well… let’s just say I need some fun motivation and thinking of the gym as something else I have to do (rather than something I get to do) makes it feel like work. So I prefer to think of it as a bonus!
2. I get a mental health boost! I’m not just working out my body, I’m working out my anxiety and frustrations. I’m working out all the junk that has been weighing me down… playing referee to my 3 boys, stresses about finances, a disagreement with the hubs, even being overwhelming with too much to do in too little time. This time away lets me think about something else. It boosts my mood and increases my energy so I have more energy and patience when I’m once again reunited with motherhood and housework.
1. I come away a better mom! I’ve found that working out actually decreases my anger and anxiety level and helps me to not yell as much. In other words, it makes me a better mom and it makes us a happier family… and this is the BEST reason I have to get to make the gym and working out a priority!
Okay, it’s time to put the ice cream down. Seriously, stop licking the bowl!
So, even if a gym membership isn’t in your budget, get up and get moving! There are lots of great at home workouts you can do too! With my boys’ crazy schedules, I can’t make it to the gym as much as I’d like, but I started running and I LOVE it! Or some evenings the hubby and I put the boys in childcare at the gym and spend an hour playing racquetball together. It’s great bonding time! Since I know how much better I feel and better I am with my family, I make working out a priority. The point is to get active. Your body and your family will thank you!