Are You Going Back to the Gym?

Or have you broken free forever?

Are you going back?

Not to the office or a bad marriage. You can make those decisions on your own.

What I want to know is this: are you going back to the gym?

Many of us bolted free of the group gym experience during this pandemic. We stocked our garages and loved picking our equipment and our workouts and our music. We set ourselves free and thought, “I never have to pay for a membership again!”

But then many of us gravitated to online programming like Street Parking and others, ready for someone else to tell us what to do. (Good programming is an art. If you’re not skilled at it, pony up your $20 a month to somebody else. So worth it.)

And then some of the bolder among us ventured back to the gym (or kept going all along, in masks and open rooms or outside).

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Will You Go Back to the Gym Now?

Now we are down to the deciding time for many people. Once you have the vaccine, what happens next?

Do you stay in the garage and keep stashing away that monthly membership fee? Or do you head back to the land of other people and competition and fun?

It’s a hard call and I’m right there with you.

I love my garage gym. Love my independence. Love being able to jump quickly into a workout by simply changing from my house slippers to sneakers. The music is always mine and nobody takes my favorite bar. No dogs wander behind me while I’m back squatting and I never have to wait for a platform to free up.

See, a small group gym costs more and comes with the regular set of inconveniences … and PEOPLE.

  • Community. Noise. Warmth. Light. LAUGHTER.

  • Bars clanging. Grunts. “Ooofs.” People cheering for each other. CHEERING.

Wow. Remember that?

Remember grinding out a back squat PR and as you were in the bottom of the hole – trying to rise out with the world on your shoulders –people were shouting to help you finish? Do you also remember being out of breath in your workout and seeing someone else dying in theirs but feeling the need to yell “You got this!” because you knew how that helped?

Oh, people. Glorious, stupid, infuriating people. The best and worst part of this existence: other people.

And that’s the question we face now. To say isolated or to rejoin. There are great, valid reasons for both paths: the home gym and the community gym.

What’s At the Gym Besides Equipment?

Jean-Paul Sartre once wrote, “Hell is other people” and he was right and wrong. Hell is other people but other people are us and we are other people.

We are all connected so what I see in you I have in me as well. I just might camouflage it better or learned to deal with it in a different way. So the hell that you are is the hell that I am. And the good that you are? That’s the good in me, too.

And so it is in the gym. The world (and the gym) might not be living up to our dreams but here’s the basic truth: The gym is other people. And that’s fantastic news if you want it to be.

It’s been a long hard year of isolation and worry. I don’t know about you but I’ve missed people. Glorious, infuriating people. So I’m keeping my garage gym and I’m signing up at the community gym near me. Time to clang some bars and make some new friends!

How about you? What will you do with your freedom?


Hi! You’re reading the free version of the “Strong Starts in the Mind” newsletter. Look for announcements in the coming weeks of a new subscription option. (The free version will continue but the paid version will have a mindset journey and much more!) I think you’re going to love it. And, as always, thanks for reading!