January has got to be the worst month to start going to the gym. It’s dark and depressing and gyms for the most part are dark and depressing. Yes, this is still a fitness-y blog but I do not like gyms. Those big open scary places with weird machines and people who do not talk to each other.
I have been a member of two very large gym chains here in London and I know why most people quit gyms:
1. People quit gyms because they’re boring
This is how it usually goes, you sign up and show up and run on the treadmill a little and do a few situps and look at all the other machinery and leave. After a few weeks you’re bored.
Or you get one of their trainers to write up a plan for you, which they do, but without asking you what your goals are because your goal is obviously to lose weight. You follow the plan for a few weeks but you’re not really sure what each exercise is supposed to be doing for you and you realise that you’re bored.
Or you find or write your own plan, you get organised and follow your progress in a notebook and Instagram yourself and get a bit of interaction through that, but after a while you realise that you have nobody to talk to in real life and you’re bored.
Or you put on your new wireless headphones and listen to your awesome playlists and for a while it’s cool like that but then you realise that everyone around you is plugged in into their separate playlists and nobody talks or even looks at each other and you’re bored.
2. People quit gyms because there is no community
Community is what makes exercise fun and fun is where fitness starts. Fitness does not start at punishing your body from having enjoyed Christmas and why do most people who join gyms in January do it – not because they’ve decided they want to have fun, they’ve decided that they are fat and they will punish themselves on the treadmills for being fat.
When you find a fitness community though – a cool spinning class, a running club, a Crossfit box, a powerlifting group, a bootcamp group, a yoga studio, etc. – a group of people who actually talk to each other and laugh with each other – that’s when there’s fun in fitness and FUN is what will make fitness a natural and enjoyable part of your life.
My main crew is at my Crossfit box and I absolutely love being surrounded by people who enjoy pushing themselves hard but also do it with humour and don’t take themselves too seriously. I love being coached by coaches who are genuinely interested in human movement and improving the quality of life of everyone they coach. I love being surrounded by people who approach me after they’ve seen on Instagram that I’m feeling a bit down and just say “If you want to talk, I’m here.”
Sweating in a group makes you not only work harder but it’s just more fun and for that reason you will keep going back.
P.S. This is not and Ode to Crossfit in general. My husband goes to a box that has very average coaching and no community. He only goes because it’s the only location that works for him. At home we only talk about Crossfit though, so I’m his ‘community’ :)
3. People quit gyms because you get what you pay for and for little money you get little in return
People look for the cheap gym deals in January. The cheaper and the more flexible the better.
But guess what – you get what you pay for. Why are good Crossfit boxes and PTs expensive – because they know what they’re doing, they know their worth and they know you will benefit hugely and never miss the money because of everything that you gain.
Beware of cheap gyms and cheap PTs.
Be also aware of PayAsYouGym and ClassPass type of deals – they can offer a bit of flexibility and mix things up for you if that’s what you’re into but if you just pop in and out of a million different things – you don’t get to know anyone, you don’t get a community, you are alone and that can get boring and boredom kills fitness.
You can, of course, create your own community – create a group of friends that like similar things and do these sorts of class hopping adventures together. That would make all the difference.
So if you want to make fitness part of your life and not just something you do every January – find or create a group to do fun & fitnessy things with!
Runners / bloggers:
Crossfitters (at Halloween):
Yogis / bloggers:
Runners / racers:
What do you think? Who’s your crew that makes fitness fun for you?