Punishing Yourself with the Gym

I do an excessive amount of people watching in the gym…I’m sure most people there think I’m a bit weird as I’m always scanning the room observing what everyone is doing, and I’ve come to the realization that although on the surface it seems that everyone is there simply to ‘workout’ and ‘get in shape’ there is much more going on under the surface.

Is your workout invigorating or a punishment?

I came to this realization when I started paying attention to the facial expressions of each person while they’re at the gym.

Some look calm, some look happy, others look determined, some look desperate, and some look like they’re flat out in pain, and other look hopeless.

All of these expressions are completely separate from the story their physical body is telling.

In some cases a person who seems to be in good ‘shape’ looks desperate and stressed. In other cases an individual who obviously has a ways to go in order to get into what would be considered good ‘shape’ has a calm and confident look on their face.

In some cases it appears that people are there not for the invigorating and gratifying experience that working out can deliver but rather as a self mortification ritual…in other words, to punish themselves.

It has become apparent to me that when someone is attempting to get in shape part of the journey is diet, and other is exercise. Diet is much harder to stick to and commonly has feelings of failure and guilt associated when things don’t go as planned. It would seem that at least some people use the gym to punish themselves with exercise for their failings in dieting.

This can create a vicious cycle that leads to a miserable experience in both aspects of dieting and exercise and could sour a person to the entire journey for good.

If you currently workout or are thinking about working out, think about why you do it, and never use exercise as a form of punishment. If a workout doesn’t feel good, or invigorating or gratifying then you’re not in the correct mindset to be there. Take some time off, re-evaluate what you’re doing the approach your next workout with a fresh mindset.

Your workout should always be a positive experience for both mind and body.