The Top 3 Myths About Joining a Gym in a Post-COVID World

 

As he stood there gasping for air after finishing a tough workout, a new member describes a realization that occurred to him a few months prior. While working from home he would spend more time on Facebook and Instagram than he traditionally did at the office. Sitting there one afternoon he became acutely aware that feelings of jealousy and resentment would creep up whenever he scrolled past people on his newsfeed talking about their workouts during his social media breaks. These feelings weren’t new, but it was the first time that he had acknowledged them. As he tells the story, it wasn’t that he disliked these people, rather, it was that he wished he was more like them.

At this point in his life, the quarantine had recently ended but he was still sitting and staring at a screen for most of his waking hours: using instacart for groceries, grubhub for meals, and opting for sweatpants instead of khakis. “I felt run down and lethargic, and I knew that I was putting on some weight,” he told me, “I wasn’t proud of who I was becoming.” He needed something to change. This began his search for a gym.


“I felt run down and lethargic, and I knew that I was putting on some weight,” he told me, “I wasn’t proud of who I was becoming.”


His first stop? Google. “Gym near me” he typed in. He was inundated with advertisements and websites – more information that he could possibly know what to do with. He had to start somewhere, and so he filled out contact forms from some of the gyms that looked like places he could see himself. One of those was CrossFit Southpaw.

During our initial talk on the phone and subsequent free consultation at the gym, he described the journey that got him to this point and where he was hoping to go. He also told me about some of the reasons he had put this process off for so long. The fears that he shared are common among people who are hoping to join a gym and so today I am writing to help dispel some of the common myths people use when they are in the process of joining a gym:

  • MYTH#1: “I need to get in shape before I join a gym” I get it – all over social media and the interwebs, people are taking pictures of themselves with six-packs, defined biceps, and wide smiles. The message seems to be “I need to look like that before I can join a gym.” Unfortunately, the messaging is backward. You join a gym to BECOME leaner, healthier, and more confident. Not the other way around. As coaches, we expect people to walk into the gym with little to no previous experience. In fact, every other member started at exactly the point you are at now. It doesn’t matter where you are, it matters where you want to go. This is easy to say but hard to do. We are human and frequently our ego is louder than our logic. This is why reaching out to make contact with a gym is one of the most courageous steps you can take.
  • MYTH #2: “If I don’t know what I am doing, I should join a gym where I can blend into the crowd” None of us want to look incompetent. However, that is EXACTLY why you need to find a gym with coaches who can help teach you how to exercise correctly. Think about it this way: before you had your driver’s license, did you just get thrown the keys one day and told to “go figure it out” or did someone take you out and teach you how to drive? When you were trying to learn math, did you hide in the corner with an abacus or did a teacher help break it down in a way that helped you understand? Contrary to what our egos tell us, if we don’t know how to exercise, we need to find a gym where we can be taught. Don’t waste years trying to teach yourself something you don’t know. Find a gym that will help you become the strongest and most confident version of yourself now so that you don’t have to repeat this process again later.

Find a gym that will help you become the strongest and most confident version of yourself now so that you don’t have to repeat this process again later.


  • MYTH #3: “I need to find the gym with the most features and cheapest price” This myth is great for people who want their gym membership card to function as a decoration on their dresser or an accessory on their keychain. Don’t select a gym for the features IT has, select a gym based on the results YOU will receive. By “features,” I mean saunas, tanning beds, machines, lifting platforms, locker rooms, etc. Features aren’t inherently bad but they are a distraction from what really matters: the results that you will receive from the gym. By “results” I mean getting stronger, losing weight, fighting depression/anxiety, and feeling confident. I would encourage you to trust your intuition when you are visiting a gym: Do they try to pressure you into membership? Can you see yourself enjoying it there? Does it feel welcoming? And most of all, is the process about THEM or about YOU (“this is what we have” vs. “this is what we can do for you”). Someone greeting you by name or giving you a high-five after a workout will end up meaning a hell of a lot more than that sauna you will never use.

Someone greeting you by name or giving you a high-five after a workout will end up meaning a hell of a lot more than that sauna you will never use.


 

At the end of the day, ANY form of physical activity is better than none. Too frequently, however, we see people invest in home gyms that become coat racks, sign up for discount gym memberships that only serve to take up space in their wallet, or put off the entire process altogether – letting their health and happiness continue to decline – because they don’t know where to begin their search for a gym. Whether it is at Southpaw, or somewhere else, we want to help you become “Yourself 2.0” – the strongest, healthiest, and happiest person you are capable of being. As our new member so eloquently stated: “Now that I am taking care of myself, I feel a new sense of ‘potential.’ I feel confident and strong for the first time in a long time and I can’t wait to see where life goes next.”


Whether it is at Southpaw, or somewhere else, we want to help you become “Yourself 2.0″ – the strongest, healthiest, and happiest person you are capable of being. As our new member so eloquently stated:”Now that I am taking care of myself, I feel a new sense of ‘potential.’ I feel confident and strong for the first time in a long time and I can’t wait to see where life goes next.”


 

 

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