While I recently posted an article about the benefits of exercising outdoors, there are many of us who deal with the full effects of all four of the lovely seasons created for us to enjoy. You may live in an area, for example, where you encounter loads of snow, trucks spewing gravel, icy sidewalks, or rainy downpours. These types of conditions don’t always make it easy to get out for a sunday stroll or a morning bike ride. Thankfully, gyms and fitness clubs are there to provide convenient and comfortable places to exercise in on a consistent basis, even when there’s a windchill factor of -15 degrees outside. In addition to comfort, gyms typically offer a full range of free weights and weight machines, which, when used properly, promote lean muscle mass and improved bone density, both tremendous health benefits. Some gyms even provide extra perks like groups fitness classes, saunas, or hot tubs.
Yet, working out with a bunch of other people in fitness gear can be uncomfortable and demotivating. It might be the close quarters. It might be cabin fever. It might be the mirrors that are scattered around the room, reminding us of the winter weight we have gained. Maybe we’re embarrassed by our poor workout skills or our awkward attempts at trying to use the weight machines correctly.
We’re often all too aware of the people around us, watching us, judging us. Whether they’re judging our workout attire, our form, or how much sweat is accumulating during our vigorous workout, we might be under the false assumption that “everyone is watching.” Others-consciousness, it can keep us from enjoying our workouts or even going to the gym on a regular basis.
The thought process might be “when I get leaner/stronger/tanner/skinnier I will go to the gym to work out.” The thing is, we might never be what our mind sees as “perfect.” Wanting to be “perfect” or “good enough” before stepping into a gym is not only unwise for our health but for our self-esteem as well.
Though I’ve personally never had a weight issue, I still used to avoid group fitness classes like the plague. I was afraid that I would look uncoordinated or wimpy using the smallest weights. Every time I told myself I would attend a class, I always made up some lame excuse, when really I was just scared of what other people might think.
If any of this pertains to you, the only thing that stands between you and better health is your way of thinking. Meditate on and believe the truth: You were perfectly created by a God who does not care what your waist size is, who does not care how much weight you can bench. He loves you just as you are right at this very moment. Going to the gym or heading outside for a run should not be about making yourself perfect (or your own definition of perfect). It should be about changing your overall health so that you feel good and can enjoy all of the activities in your life that you love. Making an effort to get regular exercise is about being a good steward of your body and preventing an array of health issues. By taking full responsibility for your health, you’ll be able to enjoy an abundant life and be there for your loved ones.
And you know what? Chances are, the only one who is really concerned about your outfit/weight/sweat stains is you.
I finally went to that group fitness class that I was so intimidated by, and of course I LOVED it. There were people of varied shapes and sizes and fitness levels, so I did not stand out like I thought I would. I began attending this class as often as I could and noticed I was growing stronger and having fun doing it. I’ve since moved to a different state, but you can bet that I am looking for a new gym now. I’ve decided not to be intimidated by group fitness classes any more.
You too can make a decision for better health! Sign up for that gym membership or class that you have been avoiding all of this time. Love yourself and your family enough to start working on your fitness. In no time at all you might even enjoy doing what you once dreaded.
Originally posted 2013-08-30 09:00:08.