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What’s Keeping You From the Gym?

Fitness Column by Bonnie Pfiester, as seen in print and online in Vero’s Voice magazine.

“Why are you avoiding the gym?”

It’s February and you may still be talking about making New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you’ve just been too busy to go to the gym – or maybe you just aren’t convinced the gym is a place you want to be. Sometimes I think the media would even scare me from joining a gym too if I didn’t know better.

Unfortunately, many people have the wrong idea of what a gym is and what it actually can do for them. Hopefully, when you are done reading this, you will not only giggle a little, but you will look at gyms a bit differently.

These are actual statements I’ve heard from people talking about gyms.

1. “I want to lose weight before I join a gym.”
I can’t tell you how many people have told me they plan to join a gym after they lose a few pounds. Although this sounds crazy to me, it seems so logical to the person saying it. In their mind, they want to look better before they start working out in front of people. In my mind, I’m thinking that’s what a gym is for – to help you look better. If you are even entertaining trying to get on fit on your own in order to get more fit in the gym, please rethink this madness. You wouldn’t try to get your life together before going to a therapist. You’d go to the therapist to help you get your life together. If you need help getting fit, go to the place dedicated to helping people get fit.

2. “Gyms are for bodybuilders.”
News flash: Bodybuilding is out and health is in. Although there are still muscular people out there, only a tiny percentage of people are actually “body building”. Gyms are not filled with grunting huge bodybuilders wearing skimpy tank tops carrying 2 gallons of water (despite what Planet Fitness wants you to think). Believe me, I own a gym and the average member is probably in their mid to late forties, working out so they can live longer and enjoy their grandchildren when they get older.  When people ask us what our average member is, I say, “it depends on the time of day”. We have an early morning career crowd, mom crowd, senior crowd, lunch crowd, after-school crowd and career crowd. Each crowd varies in age, shape and weight. However, they all have one thing in common – they are trying to improve their health and fitness.

3. “Everyone will be looking at me.”
This one cracks me up because everyone is so worried about how they look, they normally aren’t noticing anyone else. Not to suggest everyone is a narcissist, but everyone has a certain natural level of insecurity in even a best gym environment. As you begin to make friends and get a more comfortable, you eventually quit focusing on how you look to others and you begin to focus on how you are improving.  Before you know it, you are the one trying to encourage someone else to come to your gym. Unless you dress decide to dress like Richard Simmons or dance in a clown suit on the treadmill (true story – a member used to do her cardio between “gigs” wearing her clown suit), you will be just fine!

4. “I really don’t have any workout clothes”.
Honestly, although there are “fitness clothing” lines out there, the only time I see clothing like this is in magazines.

Do you have a t-shirt and some tennis shoes? Then you have gym clothes. Maybe you envision people wearing matching spandex outfits or having to wear a weight belt, but that went out a long time ago. Gym clothes are your basic comfortable activewear, and accessories are less for looks and more for functionality. People are wearing heart rate monitors more than they are wearing weight gloves. Today’s gym clothes are all about comfort.

5. “Gyms are meat markets for singles”.
Although a gym is definitely a much better place to meet someone than a bar, most singles are training hard in the gym so they can get noticed outside the gym. People used to treat their gym more like a country club or spa, but nowadays people actually workout – and workout hard. They sweat, they strain and they train to change. All in all, people take fitness a lot more seriously than they did twenty years ago. Plus, wearing a pair of headphones is one of the best deterrents for unwanted chatter. Throw you headphones on and everyone will know you are there to workout and nothing else.

6. “I don’t think that class is for me. Everyone in that class looks fit”.  
I hear this all the time. My answer is “they’re fit now but they didn’t used to be”. Some of our most intense fitness classes are filled with people who used to be overweight. Unless we post everyone’s before photo on the wall, people would never know how far someone has come. It’s important to realize there are 3 different types of members. There are the people that are just starting out, people who are getting fit, and people who are trying to stay fit. If you aren’t doing a class, you are missing out on having a fitness professional for an hour.  Instead of paying $50-$75 for one session with a trainer, if you’re a gym member, you have the opportunity to get professional guidance free in group fitness classes. Make the most of your gym membership and start trying more classes.

7. “I’m not a gym person”.
First of all, what is a gym person? Is it someone who loves going to the gym? There’s a big misconception that everyone who goes to the gym actually enjoys it. Sure, there are people who love their gym, love their class and love working out with friends. There are also people who dread going to the gym every day, but they still do it. I am one of those people. My husband, Steve, loves to workout. I, on the other hand, do not have that same love for training. I just know I am happier when I am fit, so my 1-hour workouts become an investment in how I want to feel the other 23 hours a day. Sometimes you have to do what you need, not what you want. Ironically, as you get results, the new you may become quite the gym person after all.

Don’t put off your New Year’s Resolutions any longer. Let one of our local gyms help you reach your goals this year!

You can learn more about our gym at  

Scared Fat? Don’t let fear stand in the way!

How many things have you NOT done because you let fear or doubt take over your thoughts and actions? I can’t tell you how many people I have run into at the gym that let their insecurities lead their path. They never even have a chance at success because they don’t even give many things a try.

We have people that really need to attend an aerobics class that just don’t take it because they are scared of failing, sticking it out, not keeping up, going the wrong way, or doing the wrong thing. There are others who never go on the weight floor because they don’t like lifting their 5lb dumbbell next to beefy guys lifting 50lb dumbbells just one bench over. Then there are others who never even step foot in a gym because just walking in the door is scarier than a Halloween movie (Jason .

We ALL have our own ‘FIRSTS’
IF ONLY people would realize EVERYONE has those same fears. Everyone walks in a gym for the FIRST time, everyone has to take that FIRST class, and everyone tries an exercise for the FIRST time. Sure ‘FIRSTS’ are ALWAYS scary, but if you want to succeed you have to take that FIRST step – and the FIRST step is always the SCARIEST STEP.

Ironically, everyone around you is likely so worried about what they look like, they are too busy to even notice you or notice how much weight you are (or are not) lifting or how hard (or not so hard) you are working out. The gym is the ONE place you should be the MOST comfortable – it’s a place where EVERYONE is working to improve and every single person in that gym has that one thing in common.

Unfortunately, many people think they have to lose 10lbs before they can join a gym or they have to practice a certain class at home before they go “public” – but that is their pride talking. Some of you will buy every As Seen On TV fitness gadget and video so you can secretly workout at home when you can have much better instruction and much more fun at a gym but you let fear keep you hiding out in your living room using fitness junk and crappy fitness DVDs. Believe me, I understand the need to hide. I only want to do stuff I’m great at – which is pretty limiting considering I am not great at many things. There is a reason we call it an aerobics or yoga CLASS – it’s not an aerobics PERFORMANCE. Geeesh!!

It’s time we get over ourselves!!
Get over our pride, fear, insecurities and doubts. We need to start doing what we NEED to do and no longer only do what we feel comfortable doing. Whether it’s time to finally invest in the home gym of your dreams or join a gym – it’s time you take the plunge!!

What is the WORST that could happen? We try a diet and it doesn’t work for us – so what?! So we learned that diet doesn’t work so we can try another. So what if we workout everyday and don’t lose as much weight as we hoped – we are getting healthier. Really, there is nothing to lose when we just TRY, but we have EVERYTHING to gain! We gain experience and we make improvements – not matter how big or small.

What have you been avoiding?
Have you been wanting to take a yoga class but your fear has kept you away? Maybe you know you need a boot camp program to whip your body into shape but you are terrified it will be too hard (believe me – everyone is just as terrified as you that first day but the people who do it, get major results and NEVER regret it). Have you wanted to run a 5K or maybe even do a marathon but are scared of the unknown? You’re not alone. If you do any of these things you will be joining millions of others who are just like you, but they are doing it despite their fears.

Step outside of your comfort zone and take the first real step to success today.


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