Since having a baby, motivating for a workout is harder than ever. Things that I didn’t even know were capable of jiggling, well, jiggle. Losing a few pounds has never been tougher. The first few times that I’ve tried to run have been like trying to swim through mud. Still, physically going to the gym is a victory as there’s a far better chance that I’d exercise there than in the safety of my home where good snacks and distractions lurk. Where pizza can be ordered or a bed can be slept in. Where my husband can talk me into watching a movie because who would rather exercise than curl up on the couch to watch a movie?
I may not be able to assist with exercise motivation, but I can offer some reasons to get to a gym that have nothing to do with working out. At least you’ll be in a place where exercise is more likely and that’s half the battle, right?
1. Access to a regularly cleaned bathroom.
I always love a bathroom that I don’t have to clean — even if I’m sharing it with multiple sweaty-bottomed strangers. If you’re lucky enough to join a gym that has multiple locations, it’s like having a membership to a decent bathroom wherever you are. If you only go to the same gym location, it’s a chance to zone out in a bathroom where no family members, roommates, or significant others are telling you to hurry up, get off your iPad, finish your business, etc. The only issue is if you’ve stopped off at the gym solely to use the bathroom and the receptionist greets you enthusiastically both on your way in and out. Yes, you’re being judged as either a slacker or urgent bathroom user, but do you really care?
2. Yoga pants are in style.
You’ve spent an obscene amount of money for workout clothes that you never exercise in. You’ve also spent an obscene amount of time checking out your rear end from various angles in the mirror while wearing said exercise clothes. Joining a gym gives you an excuse to wear that gear to an actual destination. Those yoga pants may have a chance of being worn to a yoga class — or somewhere other than a coffee shop, your couch, or someone else’s couch.
3. A chance to catch up on trashy television.
If your gym opened or was renovated in the last 10 years, there’s a very good chance that any cardio machine will have its own personalized television. Which means you have access to drift off into the trashiest of trashy television shows without being judged by someone you live with. In fact, since your body is undergoing great physical challenges, it is preferable to watch something mindless. It’s dangerous to sweat and be intellectually challenged at the same time. A fun game I like to play while on the elliptical, for example, is to listen to how any of the Kardashians say something like, “Scott” or “bread” and then repeat it with a Kardashian accent. Scott becomes “Scawwwt” and bread becomes “buhh-reddd.” See? You’re already 15 minutes into your workout by the time this game is done. You’re losing both sweat and brain cells.
4. A hot, quiet place.
That’s the sauna or steam room, if you’re at a nice gym. If you’re not, even the really nice gyms give out a trial day pass. Pretend you’re at a spa in some Caribbean resort. Just don’t fall asleep or you may evaporate.
5. Free babysitting.
I once busted a work colleague of mine as he was leaving a gym on the weekend without any indication that a workout took place. He was wearing a button down shirt and khaki pants — not exactly gym attire — and his face did not have the normal post-workout flush. When I asked him what kind of exercise he did there, he smiled and admitted that he just dropped his two kids off for the babysitting. He was actually on his way to get lunch by himself. If that’s not a great reason to join a gym, I don’t know what else is.
6. The great “scenery.”
If you can just walk for 20 minutes on a treadmill or stretch on a mat, it’s always fun to check out the very shapely, toned, and muscular surroundings at a gym. Because unlike myself, some people really do like to go to the gym and it shows. It’s also nice to have something to stare at repeatedly since the little timer on the treadmill moves very slowly.
7. Built-in shower backup.
If the hot water in your building or home isn’t working or if the water is turned off entirely, belonging to a gym is your emergency back up plan for a good shower. It’s also fun to test out the free shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, and soaps that they have. There’s something very liberal about being naked and showering in a stall next to other naked, showering gym-goers. If you’re really bold, start singing a song and see who will chime in. Don’t forget your flip-flops, though, or you could be packing athlete’s foot cream in your gym bag.
8. Bragging rights.
There’s something glorious about being able to tell someone, “I went to the gym today.” Even if your pulse never went up a notch. Even if you never broke a sweat. Even if you brought a gigantic slice of pizza there and ate it in the locker room. Announcing that you’ve been to the gym broadcasts to the world that you care about fitness, being in shape, and feeling healthy. You’ll start that exercise program tomorrow, or next week, but at least you can tell people that your day at the gym felt amazing.