Struggling to find your fit? I may have the answer…
Updated: Jan 7
I am a self-professed fitness fanatic. Workouts are an essential contributor to my physical and mental wellbeing. Over the last 20 years I have tried countless exercise methods, been a member of several gyms, trialled many programs and workout styles, and after all these years I can say without hesitation, where you choose to exercise matters.
Just like everything in life – your clothes, your job, your relationships - for it to work, you must choose the one that suits you.
Exercise and workouts are the same, and you need to consider so much more than physical movement. You also have to consider the people, the environment, the atmosphere and the location. If you don’t like the where, how and with whom you’re exercising, you’re aren’t going to reach your fitness goals.
I first tried it about 15 years ago. It was a mat class and like any beginner, my skills and abilities in this form of exercise were low. So, my first class wasn’t much fun as I felt like a fish out of water.
I kept going to classes, determined to get better as I knew that if I could master this it would do wonders for my body. But it didn’t become any easier, and it didn’t become any more enjoyable. I eventually left, feeling that Pilates simply wasn’t for me.
Over the years I tried a few more classes at different studios, with the same result. Then finally the opportunity to try reformer Pilates came up and I decided to give that a go. One class and I was hooked, and it’s not because I was more capable, or because I suddenly found it easy. In fact, the use of the reformer machine took me further out of my comfort zone than any mat class had.
The difference was the “where” and "who". I was in a place that felt warm, comfortable and friendly. I was surrounded by people who were also just beginning. The teacher was genuine in her approach and took the time to help me when I needed it, rather than simply gloss over my difficulties in order to keep the class moving. The place suited me.
I have numerous examples like this when it comes to gyms. These days we are flooded with options and gyms are not all the same. No one likes to feel intimidated or out of place, yet on many occasions I have walked into fitness centres and felt exactly that, even after being a member for years. Looking back, I wonder why I bothered staying a member (and paying money) for so long when the place made me feel that awkward.
Another issue can be the location. If it’s too far out of your daily travel routine you’re simply not going to go. On the days you do, you end up arriving mentally fatigued before the workout even starts. It just doesn’t work. The upside of all the Covid lockdowns is the market is now flooded with workout options you can do at home. No travel required.
Personally, I like to work out with friends. I like to be able to have a laugh, a little chat before and after a class, and feel welcome when I walk in the door, like it matters whether I attend. It keeps me accountable but also makes me want to keep going back. It makes the exercise fun.
Not everyone is like me. I completely understand that for many people, workouts are alone time. So getting outdoors for a long walk, run or ride is a great option. Perhaps a gym where you can just go in and do your own thing without being pestered is your preference; and it’s great to know that no matter your preference, you can find exactly what you need.
If you’re willing to look for it.
See, when people tell me they don’t like to exercise, the first thing that comes to mind is, “you just haven’t found the right one.” Now that could relate to the type of exercise, or it could relate to the place.
My advice to everyone when it comes to exercise is, try everything you can. It’s the only way to know. Chances are you’ll find a handful of activities you like and as we all know, variety is the spice of life.
Find your “where”, and your “fit” will happen.