November 4, 2014
After a few years of pouting and overall avoidance, I cracked. I signed up for a membership at Life Time Fitness. I was stalling to rejoin after Life Time booted me off my parents’ account upon turning 21 (rude), but I was running out of excuses for not making the gym part of my routine. I’ll save you the tired story of the cliché New Years’ resolution, but I figured if I was paying good money for a service, I’d be much more likely to get my lazy butt in the gym’s front door than bundle up for a frostbitten run around a frozen lake.
Turns out I was right, and this week completes my third month staying dedicated to making more room for fitness in my crazy schedule. While I was expecting to get into better shape with this new routine, I honestly didn’t foresee all of the other positive impacts that joining a gym would have on me as an individual.
I push myself to try new things.
I had always been secretly afraid of trying out different workout classes. Will I look dumb if I get the form wrong? What if I accidentally find myself front row, center? I sucked it up in January and went by myself to my very first yoga class. Surprise, surprise; none of my fears of embarrassment were even close to justified. Since then, I’ve attended a variety of classes at Life Time and have built confidence in my willingness to try new things on my own.
I get more stuff done.
At first I was afraid that trying to cram a workout into my day would be an added stress, and that I frankly wouldn’t have time for it. However, I’ve found I get more out of my hours on the days I exercise with an extra boost in my step. On the days I head to the gym before work, it’s like I’ve already crossed a giant to-do off my list – instant satisfaction and motivation!
I see my friends more often.
Call it a domino effect: A lot of my friends have signed up for Life Time memberships so we can attend classes together. Not only does it motivate me to attend that 6 a.m. class I never would have considered, it helps me carve out a little bit of socialization into my day. You don’t always realize how much you appreciate the presence of your friends – even a five-minute chat after class can turn my entire day around. I thought adding the gym to my to-do list would harshly limit any type of social hopes, but I actually get to see my friends more often during the week than I normally would if I didn’t belong to Life Time.
I’ve discovered “me” time.
Shoes on, headphones in and I’m ready to go. With how crazy some of my recent weeks have been, I’ve realized the importance of giving my mind a little rest and doing something active – no longer counting “signing off” as zoning out to an HBO marathon. One of the things I cherish about my gym time is that I can actually listen to exciting new albums and clearly understand the lyrics I’ve been dying to over-dissect. I think I had forgotten how much I love listening to albums in their entirety from start-to-finish, and now having some time set aside on the treadmill to do so. Late-night workouts also mean I have the basketball court to myself — another hobby of mine that often slips too low on my priority list.
It’s no secret that exercising gives you more energy and boosts those happy endorphins, but it’s pretty exciting when you actually feel those changes happening in yourself. Over the last three months, I’ve seen myself become a happier, less stressed and more motivated person. I’d say that has made my membership fee well worth the investment (though the free conditioner and razors don’t hurt, either).