I work at a gym as a receptionist and “gym assistant”. On days when it is really quiet at the gym it gives me a lot of time to just sit or stand around the gym. It also allows me to observe a lot and think.
The gym is surrounded by magazines and posters claiming to know what you have to do to become “slim”, have the “perfect body” and more commonly now: “how to be healthier” or something along those lines. I have noticed that for the last couple of months it has been very “trendy” the idea of a healthier lifestyle rather than the tradition idea of just wanting to lose weight. These magazines usually present you with top tips. Fast, quick ways to have a “better” life.
Today the gym is very quiet. The funny thing is that the majority of people here have something in common: they want to have a better lifestyle. Obviously there are people who came in today with the goal of losing weight. But the majority of people I spoke to claims that they want to change their life, they want to be fitter in order to have a better lifestyle, however a big part of those people also commented on how they didn’t want to come to the gym, forced themselves to come in and much rather not come in today.
This made me think…do people actually think that in order to be healthier they have to force themselves to do something they much rather not do. Their idea of healthy is so narrow. People have the idea that going to the gym is going to give them a better lifestyle and YES exercise it is extremely important, and YES if someone is overweight and needs to lose weight in order to become healthier going to the gym will help, and I am definitely not saying that someone shouldn’t go to the gym because they are feeling lazy.
I just believe that people need to be told the TRUTH about health! Something that most gyms, magazines, social media, posters (…) are not doing. Even though gyms are a great place to get information from, do not forget that they want to make money. Gyms are going to provide you with very useful information but they will also try to sell you memberships, personal trainer sessions and the idea that coming in regularly and strictly following your programme is the only way to make your life a healthy life.
Having a healthy lifestyle is not only about your body fat percentage. Well-being and general health is about treating your body inside and outside. It involves your nutrition, your mindset, how you see yourself and other people. It is about exercising and enjoying to take care of your body. Taking care of your body can either be with a spa treatment which has been shown to reduce stress, fatigue and reduce toxins in the body. Taking care of you body can be going to a sauna which as multiple benefits including better circulation, decrease in stress and fatigue and even some studies have shown that it can reduce the risk of having cancer. Meditation…taking care of your mind, allowing yourself to think if you want or not think at all. Teaching yourself how to breathe, relax and mostly be okay with taking time to not do anything.
Nutrition and exercise are two extremely important factors in order to have a healthy lifestyle, but we have to look at the big picture that is life. Life is not only nutrition and exercise. Life, your life, involves so many other things. It involves being with yourself and others, it involves your job or studies and how you look at those things, it involves your mindset, your personality, your values, your ambitions (…) So why are people still told that the size of their tights is what determines how healthy their life is?
On the changing rooms of the gym I work at there are posters saying the “Rules of Eating” and how you can change things in your diet to “Reduce Calories”. NO, NO, NO, NO! First I do not believe in a system where everyone should eat the same. Everyone has their own beliefs and values! I don’t eat meat but yet the poster tells me I have to. People should not be presented with the “RULES”. What does that imply? That they have to follow those rules? That they should feel bad if they don’t follow the rules? People who do not do further research will just look at it and think that it is the right thing everyone should be doing and then probably feel bad about themselves and ask why they are not doing them. How is this promoting health?! PLUS some posters even promote counting calories, calorie restriction, the idea of “do not eat too many calories”…how is this promoting health?! YES, it is important to look at our diet and nutrition, but the way people are informed about it is completely wrong.
We should not be promoting nutrition as “calorie restriction” or “counting calories”, we should be educating people on the different options of nutrition they can have that will suit them. People are not born to count calories. People should be taught how to eat in order to not count calories, not the opposite.
I want to believe that in the future there will gyms focused on peoples’ well-being. A gym that will offer people the opportunity to work on their body and mind. I believe in proper nutritional advice and an area where people can go to just not do anything and relax. I believe in places where people can take care of their skin and also improve their relationship with others and themselves. I believe in high intensity classes and low intensity classes. I believe in workshops to educate people and places where they can express themselves.
I believe that in the future people will see well-being as something they can learn and improve in order to have a better and healthier lifestyle.
Of course there is a lot more to discuss about this topic and I feel like I’ve got some much more to say, but for now this is all I needed to share. Thank you so much for reading. Lots of love,