Sometimes I wonder why people just don’t cancel their gym memberships and join InForm Fitness. I have long asked myself, with genuine curiosity and not out of a fanatical, I just-drank-my-own-Kool-Aid belief kind of way, why would any reasonable person spend 5 or more hours a week on their fitness regime when 20 minutes would suffice?
The choice is excruciatingly simple: spend 4 to 5 days a week, for an hour or more in the gym, or come to InForm Fitness once a week, and be in and out, including water-cooler gossip time, in under 30 minutes. That is potentially 5 plus hours a week that you could add back into your schedule to do something more meaningful, new, creative, productive, or just relax and remove some of the pressure from your life.
So let’s, for a moment, put aside any potential philosophical differences about exercise – I say anaerobic, you say aerobic; I say slow resistance training, you say the treadmill 5 times a week.
I see now, and am trying to come to grips with, the answer to my question. Going to the gym is a social phenomenon – a cultural mindset. Like a fashion statement or a more-virtuous alternative to the bar scene, people go to the gym. Going to the gym has become as much a social endeavor as it is about getting healthier or sustaining health.
People’s identities become defined by their ‘going-to-the-gym’ routines. See and be seen: social proof that you are working out; a chance meeting with that totally buff guy; a place to hang out or even stay motivated with group exercise classes.
What drives me to distraction and makes me think that I’m not getting my message across, is that the resistance I encounter is not always about the differing workout philosophies that the Power-of-10 workout is based on, but rather a reluctant acceptance that their pending exercise is not going to be the interactive experience they are accustomed to. In fact, no one is even going to see them working out here.
No doubt, the InForm Fitness studio and staff are friendly and inviting, yet I wouldn’t describe it as a social venue. In fact, if you haven’t yet, prepare to experience a new kind of workout in a serene, Zen-like atmosphere. Inside our temperature-controlled fitness studio, there are no distractions from fellow trainees, conversation, loud music or clanking weights. Silence is the soundtrack. With no mirrors in the training space, your specialized trainer is your personal “mirror” carefully observing, coaching, advising, and recording your progress. Make no mistake; the Power of 10 is a high-intensity workout that demands full concentration for peak performance. We make that possible.
While our clients quickly come to relish our private studio ambiance, others may still understandably feel like something is missing.
So, should you wish:
• Yes, you can check in here on Foursquare, but it would only be once a week;
• Yes, you can share and post your progress on Facebook, but it would only be once a week – and your friends probably won’t understand what you’re doing; and
• Yes, you can wear your cute workout suit, but heck, we happily encourage business casual.
• No, we don’t have a health food bar where you can hang out and chat with some of the regular gym rats; and
• No, while you are exercising, you can’t tap into our Wi-Fi, plug in your tunes and watch or listen to your favorite distraction.
With that all said, what truly grinds my gears is that people are unknowingly choosing to risk their health to get fit and be social. Yes, you may be getting fit, but are you doing damage to your health in the process? Short-term damage could be a pulled muscle, a sprain, or worse, but long-term erosion of joint muscles and cartilage could require surgery in years to come.
Fit does not equate to healthy. Exercise should be about how much you need and not about how much you can endure.
I recognize that we are all social beings and that we crave accolades for our efforts and achievements, and our identities might be closely aligned with “I’m at the gym 5 days a week.” or “Love the energy in my exercise classes.”
But I challenge you to rethink aligning your identity and your social life with your exercise. Exercise is critically important, as is brushing your teeth, and that is not something you congregate around or buy cute outfits to enhance your performance.
When your goal is to get fit and improve your health – take a safe and efficient approach. When your goal is to be social – go be social: join organizations, make some phone calls, volunteer your time, or make a healthy group dinner.
Take those 4-5 extra hours you would have spent at the gym every week and do something else – something more social and bring your good health with you. By relinquishing your residency at the gym, you’ll have a ton of free time to spend at cultural events, join a book club, learn a new craft… or do absolutely nothing with friends and family. Just don’t slave away on the treadmill, because everyone else seems to be doing it.
Also, by trying to combine the two – social and exercise – you travel down a slippery slope to potential long-term health problems. Don’t think about a new attitude towards exercise as giving up anything, but opening opportunities for so much more.