As all of you know, I’m a health and fitness freak.
Good eating and exercise are a priority of my day, every day. On the rare occasions that I don’t exercise or eat nutritious food in a day, I feel like the biggest loser on the planet.
Ironically, my view of personal health is quite unhealthy. It’s relentless and unforgiving and doesn’t leave much room for self-love.
I’m still working on getting better there.
And in the latest developments from this part of my life, I’ve decided to stop going to the gym. I canceled my membership two months ago and I haven’t wanted to go back since.
To be clear, I haven’t fallen off the exercise wagon. I still run once or twice per week. I go to yoga class once or twice. I ride my bike several times, even in the cold. I play volleyball on Wednesday nights. And I go to intense kickboxing classes twice per week. And to top it off, I still probably walk 20-ish miles every week.
But I don’t go to the gym.
The simple answer is, I don’t like lifting weights.
I know that weightlifting is an integral part of a successful workout program, but I just don’t enjoy it. It doesn’t bring me the joy that other workouts do, so I’ve decided to remove it from my life. Life is too short to waste it on doing shit you don’t like.
But, don’t you care about having big muscles? You’re a man, aren’t you?
No, I don’t. And it doesn’t make me any less of a man.
Anyone can lift weights, but not everyone can do a pull-up. Or run 10 miles. Or ride a bike 20 miles. Or fight for three rounds. Or strike a deep Warrior 2 pose.
Big biceps and triceps alone aren’t a sign of strength. They’re a sign of naivete about what good health really is.
But much more deeply than everything I just said, I hate going to the gym because of what the gym has become.
It’s no longer a place to work out.
Now, the gym is a comparison trap, a real-life representation of what we do on social media every day.
It’s a fashion show and beauty contest, a never-ending game to see who can wear the most expensive leggings, who can make their ass look the biggest, who can adjust their clothing enough to accentuate their muscles. And then we ask ourselves, how can I make my muscles look bigger? How can I make my core look tighter? How can I make more money to afford those clothes?
Men check out women. Women check out men. People strike glances your way to see how many reps you’re doing and how much weight you’re pushing. And when we’re not lifting as much as the person next to us, we beat ourselves up, feeling bad in a place that’s supposed to make us feel so good.
How is it that the gym, a place designed to promote healthy behavior, is one of the unhealthiest places you can be?
I don’t know how we got here. Maybe it’s always been this way and I’m just realizing it now.
All I know is, I don’t want to be a part of it anymore.