Reasons Why I Wake Up And Go To The Gym Everyday

Shane Ayers
Shane Ayers is an I.T. professional in Higher Education. Born into the third generation of a family of powerlifters, martial artists, physical therapists and nutritionists, his interest in the human body and mind has sent him on a lifelong journey of research and discovery in fitness and health. I, Shane Ayers, give 20some permission to publish all work I've submitted to the site on August 5th, 2015 and extending forever in perpetuity until last sun in the universe goes dark and the last living beings, huddled around them for warmth, shiver and release their final, feeble, exhalations into the cold, unforgiving grip of the void.

Why go to the gym? It’s a question that anyone who has taken on a fitness lifestyle has become familiar with. It’s the question I ask myself some days when the alarm rings too early (read: exactly when I set it for) and I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than in bed. It’s in those times, however, that I remind myself of all the benefits I get from going to the gym.

I go to the gym because it instantly improves my day.

This is one of biggest reasons that I ever go to the gym. No matter what, a day where I went to the gym will be better than a day that I didn’t go. Even if the day is terrible, it will still be slightly better because I got my workout in. Studies have demonstrated that regular exercise improves sleep, increases interest in sex, relieves stress, improves mood, increases energy, and reduces fatigue. It also improves mental health.

I go to the gym because it gives me a framework to pursue personal development in.

I spend 35 hours a week in the office as compared to the 5-10 hours I spend in the gym during a given week, yet I find that where I do the most work on myself is in the gym. That space is an opportunity for me to look at myself in a controlled environment where I have the simplest task to perform. My only job when I go to the gym is to lift the weight that’s in front of me (or behind me, under me, over my head, whatever). When I watch myself in relation to this seemingly simple task, it tells me the larger story of my life. I see my weaknesses, my strengths, my tendencies, what I think my limits are, what happens when I push past them, and how I feel on the other end of any decision that I make. What happened on that day where I backed down from a weight I was pretty sure I could do but had never attempted before? How did it feel? What happened on the day where I went for it? Which would I like to feel more of in the future? The gym is a space for me to experiment with different life strategies.

I go to the gym because I feel most alive when I’m pushing myself to my limits.

I’m something of an adrenaline junkie. I speed when I drive. I ride rollercoasters in the front seat of the first car. I have a standing appointment to go skydiving this summer (just kidding, I do want one though). Like most people who don’t have a death wish, I don’t spend my free time performing death defying stunts to scratch that adrenaline itch and satisfy that desire to feel life in its most vivid and exciting format. What I can do is go to the gym and break a personal record… or three. There is nothing quite like a piece of tangible personal achievement to make you feel alive, like earning a doctorate or becoming the President. Except that instead of years of arduous and demanding mental work at an accredited or recognized institution, it happens in a month in a dark box made of concrete and fluorescent lights. Still, victory!

I go to the gym because it helps me schedule my days.

I’m a procrastinator. If I have a 100 page paper due in 6 months, and 5 months and 29 days from now, I”ll have 2 lines written: my name and the date. Last summer I discovered that, despite an hour commute and sometimes a very poor sleep schedule (thanks to all eight seasons of hit tv show Dexter on Netflix), if I woke up and went to the gym at 6 a.m., I would get to work early and I would feel energized for the entire day. This is a stark contrast to me showing up to work late three days in a row and spending the day on the verge of a narcoleptic episode at my desk. It also improved my sleep. For the first time in my life I went to sleep early, easily (without any of that staring at the ceiling business), and enjoyed full nights of uninterrupted, restful sleep.

These are just some of the things that I like to remind myself of when I’m in the clutches of the evil sheets-and-pillows-bedtime-snuggly monster. So, 20somes, why do you go to the gym?

 

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