Let's face it - the majority of us hate going to the gym. If there was a way to get washboard abs and a booty to die for without exercise then we would be all over it. Unfortunately, physics is against us.
Signing up to the gym for the first time can be daunting. You might not be sure how long you'll keep at it, how much time you can dedicate, or you might not have a clear idea of your end goal. Yet it feels as if you can't walk through the city without a new, high-tech gym opening up and beckoning you to come inside.
Rarely, will you find a gym membership that is easy to cancel, so this is not just a one-off purchase - it is a full-time commitment! Before you hand over your credit card details, consider the following as quite often, people find the gym isn't always for them.
13 You Might Be Wasting Your Money
There are over 54 million people in America who use the gym, yet reports have shown that only only 4 in 5 people regularly use their membership. With a regular gym charging $55 a month and people attending twice a week on average, this works out at roughly $7 per visit.
Personal Trainer, Krysta Stryker, comments to LifeHacks, "When I used to work at a gym, I’d see a flood of people join in January. They’d act really enthusiastic about getting in shape, and often make it in two or three times a week, diligently doing their treadmill workout or trying a new class or two. But after about a few weeks, they’d start coming in less and less until finally after a month or two, they’d stop showing up altogether."
12 You Will Get "Gym Guilt"
Quite often, guilt is the main reason why we take up the gym in the first place. We think "I ate too much over the holidays" or "I've noticed I haven't worked out in months" and before we know it we're signing up for a 12-month long gym membership.
The only issue is that the guilt really doesn't end there. If you have paid your monthly fee, yet have struggled to find the time to attend that week, then you might have even more "gym guilt" than before.
11 You Can't Avoid Seeing A Naked Body
Spoiler alert: there are women who walk around the locker room naked. Plot twist: they may even start a conversation with you in the nude. If you're the kind of person who prefers to get changed by contorting the body behind a huge towel then this might not be the place for you.
Matthew Goldfine, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in New York and New Jersey explains, to Women's Health Magazine, that women who choose to get naked experience a boost in self-esteem. He reveals, "You might think you need to look a certain way, which could make you feel hesitant to get nude in a public setting. [But] based on what we know about anxiety, you should be naked even more to get rid of that fear."
10 You'll Find It All Very Intimidating
Let's face it - the gym can be an intimidating place. There are large open spaces, huge bulky equipment and that's even before you notice the Body Gods walking around. As soon as your introductory session is over, leaving you to your own devices, you can't help but run away from any machine bigger than yourself.
The only way around this would be to hire a personal trainer to come along with you, but of course, that's just another expense to add to the ever-climbing membership fee. Before you know it you've just spent an hour on the exercise bike too afraid to move on to anything else.
9 You Miss Out On the Benefits of Exercising Outdoors
Moving straight from the office or home and into the gym might be more disadvantageous than you realize. According to a 2010 study by the Journal of Environmental Psychology, participants who exercised outdoors were overall more enthusiastic, alert and had higher energy levels.
Another advantage of working out in the great outdoors is that you will get a large dose of Vitamin D. Exposure to the sun's rays for just 30 minutes a day is enough to get your daily guideline of Vitamin D. Cycling and running in the big wide open will also make for more interesting Instagram shots and remember: fresh air doesn't cost a thing!
8 You May Feel Inadequate
If you are excessively concerned with your body shape then you might be suffering from body dysmorphic disorder. This is when you perceive physical defects on your own body which simply do not exist. This can result in an unhealthy obsession in "repairing" the perceived defect(s).
Striving to achieve or maintain the “perfect body” may put too much stress on both your body and mind. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be the best version of yourself, but gyms are quite often places where the focus is on the overall look of the body. Exercising should be about bettering your body and mind, not just your body image.
7 You Will Get Sick Of Washing Your Hair
There is no set number for how many times you should wash your hair in a week, but if you attend the gym regularly, you will begin to feel as though you are spending your entire life washing your hair! Experts in hair care recommend that if your hair is normal, not oily or dry, you should wash your hair once or twice a week. When you're sweating it out in the gym your scalp will become extra greasy, and dry shampoo often just won't cut it.
Washing your hair excessively can remove the natural oils needed to help keep your hair shiny and healthy. If you are working out and need a quick hair care tip: use dry shampoo before you start getting your sweat on as it will soak up any excess moisture.
6 You Might Be Damaging Your Heart
We're encouraged to exercise for thirty minutes a day yet in a gym we can get comfortable hammering the treadmill for up to an hour at a time. According to the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Montreal, regular exercise reduces cardiovascular risk dramatically, which is great news.
However, they also revealed that too much demand on the heart, especially with long-term cardio, can actually increase cardiovascular risk up to seven times over. The heart is an important part of you that needs to be taken care of, so make sure you regularly check your heart rate when working out.
5 You Might Destroy Your Diet
Deciding what to eat before and after a workout can be a real headache, especially when there are so many conflicting opinions about the perfect diet. One thing you will realize when you start going to the gym regularly is that your food cravings will be more intense than usual.
If you're the kind of person who stuffs their face before and after exercising you might eventually become demotivated altogether. The best way to combat food binges and exercise at the same time is by taking up yoga. So just roll out that mat at home and reap the benefits.
4 You Risk Serious Injury
It really does go without saying that you can risk serious injury in a gym. The whole point is to push yourself physically, past your comfort level. Knee replacements and hip replacements aren't too common - but they can happen.
Top fitness experts will always advise that you switch it up and run on a variety of different surfaces - pavement and grass. It's quite often the same repetitive exercise that puts the extra strain on our bodies. Your workout should be a mixture of "front-to-back" exercise such as running, cycling and swimming, with a switch to "side-to-side" training such as tennis, crossfit or basketball.
3 You Will Sweat - Constantly
The purpose of sweating is to cool your body down. So when you're in that Zumba class, swinging your arms, kicking out your legs - it's no surprise you find yourself dripping with sweat.
Once again you find yourself shoving another gym kit in the washing machine, with red rashes under the bra straps and your hair sticking to the back of your neck. You know it's bad when you start googling cosmetic surgery that will just stop you sweating altogether.
2 You'll Find Yourself Addicted
Flash warning: you can actually have withdrawal symptoms when you stop going to the gym after awhile. These symptoms include anxiety, restlessness, depression, guilt, tension, discomfort, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and headaches. This is where we sometimes have to stop and reflect if our hobbies are passion or a problem.
There is a very small chance you will become mentally and physically addicted to the gym. Science Direct reported "at-risk exercisers were 0.3% and 0.5%" of the U.S. population. Always be aware that there is a big difference between healthy and harmful. If you are constantly in pain from excessive sessions at the gym, then it may benefit you to take some time off.
1 You Could Easily Build Your Own Home Gym
With the annual gym membership costing on average $600-$700 a year for a standard account, you might want to consider holding onto your purse and just building your own.
The great part is you only have to invest in the equipment you actually need. There are no queues for the machines or overcrowded locker rooms. You will save time on the commute to and from the gym. The key is to stay motivated, so make sure you surround your space with motivational posters and loud speakers. You will not only look great, you will also feel great about all the money you have saved.