The Gym Isn’t A Place For Vanity. It’s A Place For…

There are days that I miss my gym membership. It’s rare, but sometimes I will still go as a guest. Over the past few years, I’ve been working out at home. On and off, I work with a running coach and hang out with the local run club.

Here’s a snap shot of my gym-goer background, so you have an idea of my experience.

I was a member at my local Snap Fitness for many years, late teens to young adult, and then I moved out-of-state because my husband got a new job. At my new home in Virginia, my husband and I were a part of the F45 (HIIT) crew and attended multiple classes a week. Work changed again two years later. We moved back to our original home in Pennsylvania and did CrossFit together for two years, up until the pandemic. In 2021, when I was preparing to help a friend at Badwater 135, I used the dry sauna at a YMCA to get heat acclimated. I have sort of been everywhere with gym attendance.

Similarly to going on a run, the gym was a place where I could boost energy and confidence, and feel good physically and mentally. I left all of my “junk” there, and took strides towards my goals.

People go to the gym for all sorts of reasons. It’s a tool. A place to escape.

Lastly, it’s important to try to not judge someone at the gym. We don’t know their “whys” or life story. Everyone is there to improve.

The gym isn’t about vanity. It’s a place for:

▪︎ Mental health for someone struggling.

▪︎ Confidence for someone building it.

▪︎ Recovery for someone battling addiction.

▪︎ Social interaction for someone who’s feeling lonely.

▪︎ Physical health for someone who’s trying to hold onto it.

– Andrew Coates

Do you agree?

Why do you go to the gym?

What are the benefits?

The mental health benefits of working out

Strength training is essential when it comes to being a strong and injury-free athlete. However, it does much more.

What mental health problems can exercise help with? Working out can help with problems such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, disordered eating, psychosis, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, trauma, PTSD, ADHD, sleep difficulties, and stress. It improves mood, self-esteem, and self-confidence.

Did you know that muscle tissue communicates directly with the brain?

It communicates with the brain and other organs through chemicals called myokines. Through chemical interactions between muscles and the brain, exercise improves cognitive function and overall mental health. The brain is designed for movement. This is why inactivity breeds depression and cognitive decline while exercise fuels well-being.

Read the article written by Thomas Rutledge Ph.D.: Why Working Your Muscles Can Be a Powerful Antidepressant (Psychology Today)

The next time that you go to the gym or exercise, remember these things. Reflect on what the gym is for and why you go. It improves mental health, it is for social interaction, it is for boosting confidence, it is for addiction recovery, and for physical health.

The gym isn’t a place for vanity.

I hope that this article gives you strength and more reason to go to the gym.

If you want to go to the gym, but you struggle with going, just take one small step. Lay your clothes out near your bed or pack them in a gym bag that you will take with you when you leave home the next day.

This small step of getting your gym attire ready for the next day symbolizes your commitment to your goals and to yourself. It shows your motivation and readiness to tackle your workout.

Laying out your clothes ahead of time is a small thing, but they are there and ready for you when you wake up. Step one is done.

Get after it!

Related content – race training, body image, mindfulness, and mental wellness

Visualize How Your Race Training Fits Into Your Week For Success

Ultrarunner Talks Body Image – Player Development

Strengths and Weaknesses Inventory Worksheet for Athletes

Mental Strategies for Tackling a Tempo Run

My 5 Favorite Spots to Workout and Why

Mindfulness Walk Activity

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe below for more runner and endurance athlete mental health content.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s