As funny man Jimmy Fallon said on ‘The Tonight Show’ this week* – “I know a lot of people are a little sore today after going to the gym for the first time since last January” probably true for a lot of people!
…… actually I’ve sold gym memberships!!!
At the end of the 1990’s I finished University and moved to Glasgow in Scotland. Whilst deciding on which career path I would follow I took a position in a sales team, selling gym memberships for a large South African fitness firm that was opening two brand new fitness centres in the City. With high ambitions of bringing their strong fitness philosophy and culture to the people of Glasgow, local ‘Glaswegians’ that weren’t known for their high level of health and fitness, more so for their high consumption of ‘Iron-bru’ and ‘Haggis’! I had my work cut out!
I enjoyed the role immensely because it involved meeting people from different backgrounds, in all shapes and sizes, whom all had a different motivations and objectives for wanting to join a gym. Back then the reasons for joining a gym where different from that of today, of course the main reasons of to loose weight, to increase fitness, strength and tone still applies, however nowadays people are doing this not just for those reasons, but in addition to sporting events and challenges for example a 5km or 10km run, an ultra-marathon, a triathlon, aquathon, open water swim, etc. These days there are more events and challenges than ever before that are open to everyone and that are inspiring people to get fit and accomplish things they never before thought they might.
The gym plays it’s role in bringing the equipment, fitness classes, swimming pools, activities and personal training that can help us achieve our fitness goals. However the gym wildlife has never changed, here’s a fun video to watch that was posted on Facebook at the start of this year, they compare the gym culture to wildlife.**
I remember so clearly ‘the groups’, guys that would come in at least once or twice a day, body builders who frowned upon anyone in their section lifting anything that were deemed inadequate, the girls who spent 30 minutes exercising but in actual fact spent three hours in the gym because they had to make sure their appearance was impeccable, make up, outfits, beauty mattered.
Nowadays companies are producing make up specifically for exercise. At Shen Beauty, a beauty store in New York “Jessica Richards, the store’s
owner, estimates that half the women who buy the Eyeko Sport mascara intend to use it at the gym.” Plenty of other companies are following the trend as “For all that, some women simply aren’t prepared to forgo makeup.”***
In addition fitness gear has evolved and companies have ways of making you feel good just for wearing certain fitness gear – “Because when you look that good, why wouldn’t you want to show it off. As an extra bonus, sportswear is actually a thing in fashion right now – meaning if you do end up sacking off the work outs, you won’t look like a crazy person wearing lycra in your day-to-day life (yay).” ****
Personally I couldn’t care less what I looked like, I want to sweat and see my bum muscles burning as I stomped on the stepper machine in time to the music. Others would join to make friends and perhaps to find a partner, (the social scene was always popular in Glasgow) and the guys with the very best of intentions of coming once or twice a week, who maybe lasted a month or so and then you never saw them again.
Also for some people, the gym is a scary place and can be unwelcoming and even intimidating. Unfortunatelty in some places if you’re not lifting the right weight, running the right speed or have the right appearance, you might not be taken seriously!
If you can’t bear to bring yourself to enter the jungle itself and interact with ‘the wildlife’, then there are so many activities to participate in outside the gym, either alone or in groups and either in the open air or indoors. Fitness DVD’s are at their most popular, everyone is on youtube and facebook showing you the best exercises for specific muscle groups and also online programmes and mobile apps are a plenty.
In summary, whether you sign up for a gym membership or not, congratulations you’ve made the decision to improve your health so don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way. And remember, if you’d prefer to exercise in the privacy of your own home, I can highly recommend a whole range of online programmes and mobile apps written by a professional team – our own BeFitApps crew 🙂
Happy New Year and make 2016 whatever you want it to be!