If SO many people want to get fit, why aren’t they all members of a gym? I believe there are 5 main things keeping people from the gym. Since some of these reasons could be a sensitive topic for some of you, I decided to mix in some fun cartoons to lift your spirits and help make receiving these tips a little more fun – because, in reality, we can ALL relate to at least one of these issues.
1. PRIDE: “I’m out of shape and embarrassed.”
If I had a quarter for everyone who has said “I just want to lose 10lbs before I join a gym”, I’d be RICH! I am not sure why people feel they need to get in shape BEFORE they join a gym, but that is such backward thinking. That’s like saying I’m going to try to get smart before I enroll in school. Really?
My grandmother once said, “a church is a school for sinners, not a place for saints”, and that concept also applies to the gym. The gym is not a place for the fit, it’s a place to GET fit – and STAY FIT. It’s the place you go to get fixed. Unfortunately, people’s perception of the gym is that it’s a place for bodybuilders and fit people. Do you think they were BORN fit? Of course not. They once started out just like you. If you think you are “too fat” to be seen in the gym, or too out of shape to take a class, that is EXACTLY where you need to be – and I promise you, they will welcome you with open arms!
2. LACK OF KNOWLEDGE: “I don’t know what to do.”
Of course you don’t know what to do. Did you get a personal training certification? Did you study exercise science? I bet you have a different expertise – we all do. I tell you what, if you are in the auto repair business, I promise to come to you to get my car fixed, if you promise to come to me (or a fitness professional) to get your body fixed. Honestly, if you knew what to do in every specialty, you wouldn’t need your mechanic, accountant, doctor, lawyer, teacher, preacher, tailor, realtor, banker, builder, repair man…
The point is, it’s totally understandable that you may not know exactly what to do. That is what fitness professionals are for. The awesome part is, you won’t need them forever. A good trainer is like a good teacher – they’ll teach you everything you need to know to eventually “graduate”.
3. MONEY: “I can’t afford it.”
We all fuss when we have to spend money to have something fixed. Whether our body breaks down, or our car does, it’s no fun to spend money on maintenance. We sure like buying new things, but we hate fixing old stuff – including our old out of shape bodies. However, as valuable as your car is, don’t you think you are that much more valuable? Besides, leaving your body broken will actually cost more in the long run. The same way ignoring a simple issue, like a tire that’s out of balance, can cause a lot of big ticket damage (like uneven wear on your tires and damage to your suspension), ignoring your body now can cause a lot more damage down the road. If you really want to save money, you can’t afford NOT to invest in your body.
4. TIME: “I don’t have time to go to a gym.”
This is one of my favorite Randy Glasbergen cartoons of all time. We act like we actually have options when it comes to getting fit, but do we really? What are the alternatives? Poor health, feeling bad, muscle deterioration, weight gain, health issues, low energy, loss in strength and stamina, depression, and even death.
You will succeed when you esteem your body as high as your most prized posession. You make time to work so you can get paid. You make time for TV, or other simple pleasure, so you can relax. You make time to eat because you don’t like being hungry. So, you need to make time for fitness if you don’t like feeling unhealthy. It’s not about if you HAVE time, it’s about whether you decide to MAKE time. Your health should be a priority – because, without it you have nothing.
5. AVOIDANCE: “I prefer working out at home alone.”
First, I must say, there are some people who do very well working out alone. However, in my experience, most people do not. Even if someone genuinely prefers to workout alone, they may not be successful at doing so.
The real question is, why do you prefer working out alone? Many times it’s the result of one of the above excuses I’ve already addressed. Some people just like running, or an outdoor activity. Sometimes it’s purely out of convenience. Your fitness success isn’t just about you doing what you prefer, or what’s convenient, it’s about what you need to get results you want. This means what you WANT and what you NEED may be 2 different things. I like to lift weights, but my body needs cardio and stretching. If I only did what I wanted, I’d be fatter, bulkier, have poor stamina and have very tight muscles. Ha! 🙂
In addition, most people do better with a support system. Whether that support system is a gym, a workout buddy, a running group or a weight loss support group, most people need a certain level of accountability. If you are working out in private, there is a chance you are doing so because it’s a little easier to fail in private.
If you really want to get to the heart of this question, you have to honestly ask yourself more questions like, “Do I like working out alone because it’s less intimidating?” “Do I like working out at home because it’s more affordable?” “Do I prefer working out alone because no one will notice how out of shape I am?” “Am I avoiding the gym because I had a bad experience before?” The list of possible reasons is endless.
While having a home gym is great, and it can work for some people, there is a reason a gym setting is valuable. More equipment, more personal attention, more guidance, more options, more people to see you (for accountability), more support, more motivation, and fewer distractions (like the phone ringing, dryer going off, baby crying, etc). Again, this doesn’t mean working out at home alone is a bad thing, but it may not be right for you. To find out if it’s what you need, you have to be completely honest with yourself. Do you really think you’ll reach your goal at home alone? If you aren’t 100% sure, then you may need to get out of your comfort zone and do what you need to do to reach your goals this year.
Most people have heard the story about Jonah and the whale. If you haven’t, I’ll sum it up for you really quick (and hang in there with me, because this story has some SERIOUS punch when it comes to weight loss and making healthy changes).
Jonah’s story on disobedience:
In the story, God tells Jonah to go to a place called Nineveh and preach but Jonah didn’t want to go so he disobeyed and headed to Tarshish in attempt to hide (as if! Ha!). While on a ship to Tarshish, the Lord sent a mighty storm that was so bad everyone on board was afraid for their lives. Jonah knew the storm was due to his lack of obedience so he had them throw him overboard in order to save everyone’s lives. God calmed the sea and prepared a great fish (whale) to swallow Jonah. He was in his belly for 3 days and 3 nights before he finally prayed. After he prayed, God had the fish spit him out on to dry land and God told him, again, to go to Nineveh – this time Jonah obeyed. (Jonah 1-2)
When our pastor, Jim Gallagher asked his teenage son, Nate Gallagher if he’d consider teaching for him while he was out of town, I’m sure his first thought would have been to run to Tarshish too! However, he knew in his heart what he had to do – no matter how terrifying it was going to be. As he shared this story at Calvary Chapel Vero Beach, it sparked so many thoughts for me.
How long are you willing to run?
When I thought of Jonah being in the whale for 3 days before he prayed for help, I couldn’t help but think about how long we allow ourselves to stay miserable to avoid the inevitable. Whether it’s our weight, our career or our mental or physical health – you can start doing what is right now OR you can put it off and stay miserable just a little longer. The decision is yours.
Jonah was on the run – and he was basically uncomfortable the entire time. Starting with stormy seas and ending with seaweed wrapped around his head while he sat in fish guts. I imagine being in the belly of a fish would not be fun. The SMELLS alone would kill me! It wouldn’t take me 30 seconds to pray and agree to do whatever God had asked me to do. Yet, Jonah, in a picture of complete rebellion, sticks it out for 3 whole days.
How often do we rebel against what we know we must do? How often do we just have the attitude “you can’t make me” or “that’s not fair” – especially when it comes to food. We pout, we rebel, we disobey, we eat things we know we shouldn’t, and we try to “hide” from everyone and everything that reminds us of what we are supposed to be doing.
How long are you willing to let your choices affect the ones you love?
Another thing this story teaches us is Jonah’s actions affected others – almost getting everyone on that ship killed. Our disobedience and rebellion often affects the people who surround us whether we mean to or not. Sometimes it affects our health, which interferes with our roll as a mom, dad, spouse, worker or friend. It can affect our attitude, making it miserable to be around us because we are so miserable ourself. Sometimes our disobedience, especially when it comes to eating, affects what others do too. You know what they say “misery loves company” – and before you know it you are eating ice cream with a friend that has no business eating ice cream either.
How long will it take for you to JUST DO IT ?
The best part of the story to me is in chapter 2 verse 1 where God comes to Jonah for the second time and says “Arise and go to Nineveh“. A part of me wonders if Jonah thought maybe God would change his mind or maybe he’d give him another option, but no – the message did not change and my message won’t change for fitness either. You can hide, run away, stay miserable and make everyone else miserable around you while waiting on another message, but the message isn’t changing. If you want to look and feel healthy, it requires obedience and work. Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh anymore than many of you want to go to the gym. But he obeyed, and it paid off – and I promise all your hard work in the gym will pay off too.
Like Jonah, you know what to do.
The question is “are you gong to keep running?”