I skipped a few days here and there, but for almost 11 years I went to the gym on my lunch break. I liked getting done in the middle of the day, coming back to work energized, and the amenities were nice. But recently I started to think about how it's expensive, I have a lot of equipment at home and I could join a cheaper gym.
It's been 30 days since I quit the gym, and I've already learned a lot: Getting up early is hard, YouTube has great workouts, I'm spoiled, and my energy level has disappeared as my waist line has increased.
Getting up early
With lunchtime out of the picture, my goal has been to get up early and work out in my basement. This has not been easy. In one month I've done it twice during the week and three times on the weekends. Weekends are a lot easier; I can get up at my normal time and sneak downstairs with only one child up.
I haven't been a good sleeper since we had our kids, but without a regular fitness routine my sleep has gone from bad to worse, which only makes early workouts more challenging. I used to get a little tired in the late afternoon (which is normal, that's why many parts of the world have siesta/nap time) but now I'm always tired. That surge of energy from working out in the middle of the day is gone.
YouTube is my new fitness instructor
When I do work out in the morning, I've been doing Pilates. I started getting into it 10 years ago because of how it helped my wife's back and neck and took a certification to teach Mat classes. I love it because you feel it everywhere and it's easy on the joints.
I started looking at my old manual, but then decided to checkout YouTube. I was blown away by the free options. The class I've done the most is Boho Beautiful. The workouts seem easy, but they are intense. I'm embarrassed to admit I had to take a few breaks.
Although my wife is not a fan of the trainer's wardrobe choices, I'm going to try and convince her to workout with me. If you have a friend meeting you at the gym, it's a little easier to wake up. There are a ton of free workouts online, it's a great option for people who are motivated but want to stick close to home.
Important: I've seen a lot of questionable exercise form from online trainers, so make sure the instructor is reputable.
Spoiled (gym) brat
To make me miss working out at lunch a little less, I checked out a few cheaper gym options. One was a bouldering gym, which is like top-rope or mountain climbing but you do not need to be harnessed in because you don't travel that high. I loved the workout. It was fun trying to climb both vertical and lateral, even though the soreness factor was high for several days after because it was so different than my usual workout.
That said, I'm not sure I can join … the locker room soap was a nasty-looking bar and there were no other options; chalk -- a must for climbing -- is not free; no one is walking around the floor; and I felt like I was intruding on the staff's alone time when I walked in the door.
Man, when did I get so high maintenance?
Spending over a decade at Equinox has spoiled me in a few ways. The front desk is an example of excellent customer service. They know your name; when you arrive and when you leave they greet you like a friend; the gym is clean; and the locker room really spoiled me with the fancy soaps, conditioner and lotions. All these little amenities seemed frivolous, but I miss them as much as I miss the staff and fellow members whom I would chat with in between sets. The search for other lower-cost options, however, is not over yet.
It all comes down to time
I have enjoyed the ability to get other things done during the workday. I've met a few friends for lunch, spent time working on a book that I'm writing, and started two online education classes (one on fitness the other on social media marketing). I'm not sure what my next move is, but as it warms up, long walks are next on my list.
When do you get your workouts in?