If you love the gym, continue to embrace it, but if you’re looking for a change, this could be a good time to embrace all of those fitness options that reside outside the gym.
The gym is great, I love it, you love it, but after awhile, it can get a bit dreary and may end up stalling you in your fitness pursuits.
Strength and muscle are clearly coveted by all those who are active, but many guys are looking beyond just appearance and “beach muscles” and are wanting an all around fitness experience. Here are some benefits of getting out of the gym and what a lot of men are turning to in their fitness pursuits.
Getting A Change In Scenery
If you’ve been going to the same gym since Clinton was president, it’s easy to get unmotivated and complacent. Sometimes you just need a switch in mental stimulation to give your fitness a jump start. Just like your muscles can get used to the same workout the same environment can leave you feeling uninspired, and this can be a good time to switch things up.
Getting Outdoors For Your Fitness
Being stuck inside without any natural light and being exposed to the germs of hundreds of other people might be enough motivation to take your workouts into the great outdoors. Give me a trail run or hike over a treadmill any day, and there are a few different reasons for this that go beyond just the fresh air and vitamin D exposure from the sun.
The changes in elevation and footing while hiking or running engage your muscles in a different way than steady state running on a treadmill ever could. You also engage those smaller stabilizer muscles from your feet right through to your core.
Another advantage is your mind is kept sharper and more engaged with the constantly changing terrain allowing for you to avoid going into autopilot and it makes you become really present in your workout. A lot more stimulating than being stuck having to watch something on the E network on the cardio room T.V’s…
More Men Are Starting To Embrace Yoga
This is one of those “don’t knock it ‘till you try it” situations. If you’ve never engaged in any form of yoga before, you are missing out on one of the best workouts, you may ever do. Those who have tried it know how intense it can be and how its effects lead to improvements in your strength, flexibility or sport.
I was one of those naysayers thinking nothing could be tougher or more intense than my workouts and how mistaken I was. I learned how little control I had over my body and lack of ability to coordinate my strength. Advancing in yoga will give a huge boost to all areas of your fitness as well as your life with its ability to help manage and eliminate stress.
Bonus Tip: Forget bars or dating websites, if you want to meet women, the yoga studio is the spot.
Crossfit could still fall into the category of a gym but with Crossfit, you are looking at a more motivating, encouraging and team based environment. Guys are wanting to move beyond muscle that just looks good but that is truly functional, and that’s what you get with Crossfit. Many of the exercises you perform in the gym have very little transfer over to real life situations or sports and with Crossfit you develop real functional engagement and strength which, like yoga, can enhance your fitness and your life.
Sometimes you need to get those competitive juices flowing and get a great workout at the same time. There are so many leagues out there such as pickup basketball, hockey, softball, indoor soccer, tennis, flag football or squash just to name a few.
Many guys are moving into these team dynamics as a cornerstone of their workouts for the week, for more social time and just to be a part of a team. The good news is you don’t have to be an amazing athlete and can find leagues of all levels from beginners to guys who still think they have a shot at the pros…
You may have a lack of skill, but you’re still allowed to try as hard as possible, and hustle and hard work can help bridge that gap if you happen to not be the most talented. Put that all together and you’re looking for a really good workout, and you will be engaging in fitness in its purest sense. Whether you’re chasing down a drop shot in tennis or hustling back on defense in a pickup basketball game, you’ll be getting some of your best workouts ever without even realizing it.
Just don’t be a chucker (Seinfeld reference..)
Wrapping It Up
If you love the gym, continue to embrace it, but if you’re looking for a change, this could be a good time to embrace all of those fitness options that reside outside the gym. Men today are looking for a well-rounded fitness experience, and there are many things that can help provide that. It doesn’t mean leaving the gym for good but participating in other activities that will give your life and fitness a boost. This will end up giving you more motivation and ability when you get back into the gym and help enhance your results. You just may find yourself going in less and less.
Photo: Flickr/ Markus Bollingmo