"I'll workout at home."
Besides fighting a land war in Russia and telling your girl she looks fat in the dress, this is about the worst mistake you can make. Yes, gyms can be annoying. They are crowded. They are smelly. They play the absolute worst music of all time. But, gyms are a necessary evil. Just as it takes a special breed of motivated individual to work at home, rare is the man who can get in a full workout without a place to work out. Working from home works for some people because the alternative is dying, impoverished in a gutter. The alternative to working out at home is watching TV and getting fat on Bagel Bites. Pathetic, sure, but not the worst fate. Most of us mere mortal need a gym to help get us into the best shape possible.
It is essential that you get a gym membership if you are serious about getting in shape. Yes, the sacrifices can be great. You'll be $50 poorer every month and you'll have a 1000% more contact with bros wearing bandanas than you would otherwise. Despite these hard ships, trust us, it is worth it. Here are all the reasons why the first step to getting in shape is getting that gym membership.
In the gym, there are no distractions.
A space for everything, and everything in its space. If you're really concerned about getting something done, create a space where you can succeed. Some people think installing a pull-up bar in their house or tossing a bench in their garage is enough. It isn't. When you are at home, distractions abound. Your room needs cleaning. The DVR needs clearing. Your girlfriend needs hearing. There is always something that stands between you and your fitness goals. Going to the gym puts literal walls between you and the myriad issues in your life. While all of the challenges that face you on a daily basis will be waiting for you when you leave the gym, while you're there, the only thing you have to focus on is your squat form. And that is a beautiful thing.
The gym provides the right tools for the job.
The world is full of fitness companies that will try and sell you an all-in-one fitness solution. Whether this is a Boflex, a universal bench, or magical program of bodyweight workouts, these solutions will leave you wanting. At a good gym, you will have a variety of tools at your disposal that will help you get the right workout. The squat rack, the bench, free weights, and cables all offer a different kind of workout, and are at their best when used in tandem. On top of these essentials, gyms offer tools like jump ropes, medicine balls, and punching bags to add variety to your workout. Unless you have thousands of dollars to drop on a home gym and the space to house the equipment, it just doesn't make sense to settle for second-hand gear purchased at yard sales when you can walk down the street for access to the best in exercise equipment. Just like when tackling home improvement projects, if you don't use the best equipment, it shouldn't be a surprise when you don't get the best results.
You can rely gym staff for assistance and support.
Of course, the quality of a gym's staff varies from location to location, and the more you pay, the more you can expect in terms of service. However, even if all you can afford is a bargain basement option, the gym staff can still be a big help. Most gyms have personal trainers on staff that offer limited assistance free of charge, and daily programs for an extra fee. Any gym above the Planet Fitness bargain basement rate also offers classes. Many men eschew classes because they are cardio focused and heavily female. This is a mistake. Look for classes involving added weight or with titles like "boot camp" and you'll likely get hour-long classes that cut and tone you to better show off your results. Even classes that don't build muscle, like spinning, will still probably give you better results than jogging around your neighborhood being held up by stop signs, pedestrians, and loitering teenagers.
Before you write off the gym's staff as a bunch of disinterested teenagers, at least try to take advantage of the services they have to offer.
Look around the gym and you'll find motivation.
It's easy to feel like you're working out enough when you're spending all day next to Jim, the obese guy from accounting, and Phyllis the sixty-five year-old accounts manager. Going to the gym reminds you just how far you have to go; all you have to do is look at the man next to you. It is humbling to watch cut guys pull off fifty pull-ups with weight tied around their waists. It isn't the easiest thing in the world to sit next to a guy curling triple the weight you are. But, experiences like this serve as motivation. If you can watch, and even learn from seriously in shape guys working out next to you, you might see what you have the potential to become with a little discipline. I am not much for Instagram "fitsperation," but it is a different story when you work out next to guys who have achieved their dream body IRL.
And yes, the possibility of getting with the hot girls at the gym is a pretty good motivation too.
Gyms offer a wide variety of workout possibilities.
Not only is it important for you to vary your workout to avoid boredom, stagnation is actually bad for your body. Experts generally recommend that you switch up your workout every six to eight weeks. That's going to be hard to do if you are working out at home or around the neighborhood using body weight. There is only so much variation you can get out of a pull-up, a push-up, or one set of 50 lb. barbells.
Not only will a gym membership give you access to a variety of workouts, but you will see new workouts in action. Even though I've been a regular gym goer since freshman year of college, I still discover new workouts by observing other people in the weight room. By not having a gym membership, you are depriving yourself of new workouts that could renew your interest and give you better results.
There are many cardio options at the gym.
Even though we just discussed the virtue of variety, cardio deserves its own separate discussion. While many men take great care in varying their weightlifting regimen making sure they isolate each specific body part, they often don't give the same concern to cardio. Running a few miles every day is all well and good, but if you don't try other types of cardio, you are cheating yourself. The kind of workout you get by integrating swimming, spinning, boxing, basketball, or other activities into your cardio regimen can't be understated. You'll work muscles that have bee neglected, and you won't over work the muscles that are under constant strain when you run up and down the block over and over again.
It's time to expand your horizons beyond your running shoes.
The layout of gyms allows you to focus on your form.
Many men use the mirrors at the gym for evil, such as filtered six-pack Instagram selfies, but mirrors can also be used for good. In fact, they can be vitally important for avoiding injury. Access to proper equipment, good lighting, and mirrors provides you the environment to perfect your form. If you are working out in a poorly lit place with substandard equipment with no mirrors, you are putting yourself at a higher risk of injury. When attempting a new workout, it important to get your form down. And let's be honest, you're not going to run to the bathroom mirror and double check your form before you head to the garage or basement to finish your workout.
Gyms engender accountability.
We've said it before and we'll say it again. One of the best things you can do for your physical fitness is to find a workout buddy. It's kind of hard to get a friend to come over to your house and workout in your garage or agree to run down the street next to you. Setting a schedule with a gym buddy will keep you on track and keep you motivated. Also, if you don't have anyone to workout with, even the most standoffish guys at the gym will likely offer you a spot, and even a little motivation. If you and another guy set a time and a place for your workout, it is going to be infinitely harder to flake out on your commitment than it would be if "working out" meant going down to the basement for a date with your Ab Roller.
Your gym can also be a spot for relaxation.
You may not think of the gym as a relaxing place, but then, you might be going to the wrong gym. Even mid-range gyms like L.A. Fitness often offer options like swimming pools and saunas to facilitate great cool downs. Even if you are on a tighter budget, a little time spent stretching in the aerobic room (when there are no classes of course), can provide you with much needed moments of silence before you get back to your day. There is something soothing about ending your workout in peace, and if you're at home, you might miss out on it. If you move directly from lifting or running to prepping dinner or answering emails, you might be missing out on the mental benefits that compliment the physical rigors your workout. Many guys like to skip the "cool down" portion of a session, thinking they don't need to stretch. Not only do you need to stretch, but finding a way to grab a few minutes of focused relaxation will help you tackle the rest of your day in a better state of mind.
Admit it, you don't mind "the scenery."
I don't care who you are, there is something nice about being surrounding by attractive people. Of course, this is another motivating factor. Nothing makes you want to look good than seeing good looking people. But it's also just a nice feeling being around beautiful people. Most of the time, if you want to be surrounded by attractive women, you have to bribe a bouncer, pay a cover, and risk getting suckered into bottle service. Compared to this kind of financial outlay, paying for a gym membership is nothing. No, you shouldn't spend your workout pacing back and forth along the ellipticals rating glutes like you were judging a swim meet. But, you have to admit, there are worse things in life than wandering past a yoga class on your way to the water fountain.