Why I Cancelled my Gym Membership!
You may be questioning such a title considering I’m always talking about the benefits of weightlifting and going to the gym. The truth is, I no longer have a gym membership, but with good reason. Being active, strong, fit and healthy is a long term lifestyle choice with an endless array of options and paths you can take. Depending on what you find interesting, how long you’ve been training for and the practical applications for your training, going to the gym may not be the place you want to train.
Is the gym really for you?
When I first joined my local gym I hit the weights. It was all about muscle. I read bodybuilding magazines, books and websites constantly to try and find the next big tip on getting as big as possible. While most of it was a massive pile of crap, the few useful tips I did read always concluded with ‘lifting heavy weights is the best and most effective way to grow muscle’. While (at that time) I had weights at home, I knew a gym would be the only place to access all the equipment I needed (such as heavy weights, dumbbells, power racks etc) to really grow my muscle mass.
Going to the gym is definitely the best place to train in order to trigger muscle growth.
The aspects of a local gym that make it the very best choice for someone serious about growing muscle is you have access to experts, equipment and place that doesn’t allow you to slack off. If you do feel like slacking off, you’ve got other eyes in the room that, in your own mind, are judging you thinking about how slack you are. It’s funny that this is a major motivating factor at a gym, because people couldn’t care less about your training. If you want to slack off, slack off, they’ll just keep lifting.
It’s the social circle that makes a gym such a successful place to train. The friendships you forge in a gym give you a place to go and be surrounded by other fitness enthusiasts trying to achieve what you are trying to achieve. This is an extremely powerful tool for building muscle.
So… Why cancel your Membership?
Well, don’t just cancel your membership. Chances are if you like going it’s working for you, and that’s the best thing for your training. The point I’m trying to get a across is to not limit yourself to a gym. A wise man by the name of Bruce Lee once said:
“Have no Limitation but Limitation”
Basically you should always be open to other methods that may work better for you, and only allow your self to be close-minded against close mindedness. Why did I personally cancel my gym membership? I simply wasn’t going. As a guy who’s been training with weights for years and also practicing martial arts constantly, there’s a point when you can gain too much muscle mass and be too heavy. My goals are aimed (at least for now) at maintainig muscle mass, and developing muscular strength, speed, endurance and flexibility.
Furthermore on that, the belief I once had about having tonnes of gym equipment as the best path to success isn’t true. It’s about choosing what works best for you. With a few small bits of equipment with a knowledge of body weight exercises you can grow muscle, but it depends on you.
Chin ups, squats, push ups, and anything that involves your body weight can be performed in just about any environment, and weight can easily be added with the assistance of kettlebells, a weighted vest or a training partner. Combing these with some other exercises into a circuit can make for a highly intense training session that will not only help build strength and endurance but shred fat! You don’t need a commercial gym for that, I basically have a few kettlebells and a Chin Up Station where I train these days, it’s all I need for my goals and I still get a full body workout each time. What about you?
Making the choice
I still stand by my original statement that, if you want to building large amounts of muscle mass, lifting heavy weights is still going to work best, especially if you’re a hardgainer. If you want functional strength with muscle size, go for bodyweight movements or even a combination of both. Remember, while you don’t necessarily have to perform these in a gym, there’s no reason not to either! Figure out which place you’re most comfortable training in, and go for gold!
I love this method of training as it can be really intense when planned well. It’s hard, it’s primal and it get’s you really fit!