A lot of women I know prefer to do a group workout session, for example, spinning classes or yoga classes. It’s mostly because those are actually fun workouts, instead of having to push through the last rep of a ridiculous routine. But some women that I’ve discussed these with actually described gyms with words like “scary”, “masculine”, and occasionally “uncomfortable”.
I completely understand. Even in my neighborhood gym:
- There’s only one female employee, and she’s in charge of the reception (and the gym owner – she’s his wife).
- I get SO uncomfortable with this one particular fellow gym goer.
- The weight lifting area is just filled with men in muscle tank/drop arm t-shirts that makes them look quite scary sometimes. – I have nothing against it, just highlighting how intimidating that can look, especially for a first-timer.
That, combined with the pandemic earlier this year, were enough reasons for me and a lot of my friends to resort to online fitness programs. Gyms are still available to those who want to go, but one can still stay home and exercise. There’s also a plethora of options online, allowing for people to choose the type of exercise they would want to follow, based on interest, needs and even costs.
Yoga, plyometrics, HIIT, strength, all there.
Free videos? Definitely, there are so many!
Paid subscription? Even more options!!
Buy a couple of dumbbells, or splurge on an entire set, and you basically have your own weightlifting corner at home. It’s convenient (think early morning workouts), and time-saving (no more cycling to the gym!). There is no reason for one to get uncomfortable in their own home, too!
It sounds like the perfect solution. So why are there still gyms almost everywhere, then?
Some of us may prefer to do it at home, in the comforts of our own home, without the negative feelings of intimidation or competition at the gym. However, I believe that with the right gym, one that fosters positivity in health and fitness, the benefits of a physical gym can outweigh the virtual workouts. You may get a boost in your social life, self-confidence as well as your mental health. Most importantly though, is that you can seek help when it comes to your exercise. It can be from form improvement to types of exercise, to even just the motivation to push yourself through it.
The main thing with using just online platform to exercise is that no one will actually provide important advice. For example, it can be inspiring to want to lead a healthy life but opting for obsessive macro counting can lead to a destructive and downward spiral. That’s just one example out of many possible scenarios.
Another problematic aspect is misinformation. A friend of mine recently got into the “health and wellness” lifestyle. It’s great, but then she started “educating” herself with the information given by some fitness influencers on Instagram. For example, the magic of drinking apple cider vinegar daily*, fruits should be avoided because it is too sugary**, or how being on ketosis is the best thing for your body***. Then she started her own blog, use the same information she got from influencers to “educate” her followers. Misinformation seems to be the mother of all problems.
The partial migration of the fitness industry to the web is definitely convenient and perfect for those who are always in a rush. But, in relation to my first post, easy access or availability to information may not always be a good thing, especially if the wrong information is more easily accessible. Again, education is vital in this matter. In the right way, fitness online can be lucrative, not just financially, but also in the aspect of health.
Would you rather work out at home, or head over to your gym?
* Apple cider vinegar may have some health benefits, though not much research has been done on it.
** Fruits do contain sugar. It also contains a lot of nutrients, which should not be avoided.
*** Being on a keto diet is a personal preference. Do read on the long-term effect, before committing to it.
Every week I go to the gym in my neighbourhood. I think it is a more friendly one than the one you describe in your blog but as a man I find that hard to judge. I don’t like to go, I don’t like my exercise but after an hour exercises I feel good and I think it is good for my health. But I prefer to go running, even in bad whether, but I use these workout to prevent injuries. I had the same idea about doing my exercises at home. I had a set of dumbbells lying under my bed for ages. In march I tried to do exercises at home but that didn’t work out. I think I lack the discipline, there is always something more important. When I go to the gym I cannot do something else, I’m better focused. I tried workouts with an app on my phone. Every day exercise for back and belly but that was not much of a success. So I returned to the gym, it feels like an obligation, I have payed for it so I have to go. You’re away from your daily work and there are no distractions. I think that these are the main reasons that I go there despite that it is boring.
Over the pandemic I also started doing at-home workouts, but this was after the gym had closed. I prefer doing classes, because of the small group pressure and motivation to keep going, as well as having someone yell at you that you can do one more rep. Almost always, you can. However, when doing the online videos, I’ll find myself skipping the most intense exercises, leading to less of a workout. I created a little bit of a digital motivational system with my friends who were going through the same thing in different parts of the world: we’d send a sweaty selfie saying we had done a workout, this reminded the others to do one too, and we all hyped each other up. And sent challenges and videos to do together. So, it took some getting used to, but I enjoyed it in the end. However, when the gyms opened up again, I started going back. In general, I agree that the weights corner of the gym is intimidating, and would only approach it in the company of someone who knows what they’re doing. The classes are more fun to me, and I don’t have to plan my own workout, so I enjoy those more.