I know. Staying out of the gym as a way to lose weight is completely crazy and counterintuitive. But studies are showing that those super long two-hour gym sessions are actually not helping and may be causing harm instead. The fitness industry is a $22B and according to a report from the Trust for America’s Health organization gym memberships have increased at the same rate as obesity. How is this possible? If more Americans are joining gyms shouldn’t the trend be reversing? Here are some reasons to stay out of the gym if you want to lose weight.
Running on the treadmill for an hour may not help you lose weight. There are many health benefits to running. It’s an excellent aerobic exercise and it can release endorphin, the feel-good chemical produced by the body. Running builds endurance and exercises the cardiovascular system that needs movement in order to make sure the blood vessels work properly to keep blood moving. The downside to running is that it is very hard on the joints and creates free radicals that in turn could cause you to age faster. Free radicals remove oxygen from your cells, oxygen that your body needs to function at peak performance. Additionally, running regularly, especially long distances, can switch your body into mesomorph mode. This means you will not burn extra calories, your body simply accounts for your outlay of calories for running and stores them for your run. Your body essentially gets used to running.
Try a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout instead. These tend to be shorter overall workouts that burn more calories per session than running, plus you benefit from the after burn effect. Your body will continue to burn calories at a higher rate for several hours. Depending on what the program is, they may be less damaging to the body. If you have knee or back problems, try low-impact programs. And of course check with a physician first.
Going to the gym may not get to the root of the problem. Are you overweight because you overeat, don’t exercise or both? Do you know? Losing weight is a journey just like gaining weight. You may not have been present for the gaining weight portion of the journey, but to lose weight and keep it off you must be mentally and emotionally present. Is overeating a symptom of something more? Are you you depressed? If so, why? These are questions that won’t get addressed simply showing up to the gym every day for two hours. A gym membership doesn’t include mental well-being as part of its services. Mindset and emotional well being are critical to success.
Instead opt for a total care program. This program should focus on nutrition, exercise and mindset. Make your brain an ally in your success. We often overlook the important role our brain plays in achieving success. The habits we develop that don’t serve us can be modified to serve us. A program that doesn’t address what’s above your shoulders is unlikely to provide long-lasting results. These type of programs also involve coaching which can make a world of difference in attaining goals.
You get what you pay for. Gym membership fees have come down a great deal over the last 10-20 years. You can join a gym for as little as $10/month these days. If you have health insurance with a health benefit perk, it will cover that fee. Companies are realizing if they want to cut healthcare expenditures they need to focus more on prevention. They are willing to pay people to do so. But what do you get? You get access to the weights, treadmills, and maybe a pool. You just get the basics. It’s extra if you want a trainer, nutritionist or group fitness classes. Why go to the gym for that? You can run outside. In fact, it’s better and more aerobically efficient to run outside, even in the cold. You can buy weights for home. A year of membership fees pays for a good set of weights and tension bands. There are myriad home fitness DVDs and online videos.
Let’s face it, it’s hard to work out at home and stay motivated. You don’t even know if you’re doing it right. The number of group fitness classes have increased ten-fold in the last five to ten years. These classes are offered by small facilities that focus on one or two types of exercises such as boot camps, boxing, pilates, yoga, etc. Typically, there is no membership fee, you go when it fits into your schedule. You still don’t get the emotional support but you get a much more engaging program than you would by simply showing up at the gym. The per class fee can be high, but many are offered for a discount if you buy several classes at once. Many have their schedules online and you can get signed up right from your phone. While the per class fee can be high, $20-30 or higher, keep in mind that it works out to be about the same as a regular gym at the end of the year since you pay additional for group fitness classes if they’re even offered.
There is no time like the present to try something new today. Group fitness facilities are a great way to try something new in a safe environment, meet new people and have fun. Having fun while exercising lets your brain know its a good thing and will want to do it again. Encourage someone in your community today by sharing this post. We would love to hear from you by commenting below.
REAL TALK | REAL THINGS | REAL RESULTS