Why I Prefer Sweating In A Gym and Not In A Forest..

I have a LOT of outdoorsy friends. Growing up in Montana, that’ll happen. I also am pretty outdoorsy myself, don’t get me wrong. I truly enjoy being outside in the sunshine, walking through woodlands, swimming in rivers, camping under the stars, all of it. I love that shit. Really. But I have noticed something over the years that I don’t love. That is when my super athletic, active, outdoorsy peers chuck a big bowl of judgement and arrogance on my head when I talk about how much I love working out in a gym. I hear things like (in the most snobby voice you can imagine) “Ugh, how can you work out inside, I just need the fresh air in my lungs.” to “You know, working out inside on those machines isn’t even that good for you.” First of all, I am pretty sure my working out inside is better than the alternative, you know, not working out at all. So anyways, I decided to vent about that for a bit and then explain a little bit about WHY I prefer sweating in the gym and not in the lovely outdoors.

I think the first reason is very simple. The energy. The second I walk into the gym I instantly feel this excited, tense, competitive energy that I absolutely love.  There are nerves. There is anxiety. There is pain. There is triumph. There is defeat. There is everything. There are just SO many different emotions and feelings that emanate from each person that honestly inspires me. I love that everyone in there is trying to make themselves better. Who knows what their reasons are. They might not be the best, or they might be the most inspirational story ever. But one thing is certain, everyone is there to improve themselves. Being amongst a room full of people working towards their own betterment motivates me more than anything.

The second reason is also simple. The bodies. Now I know it’s most people’s worst fear to hear that people are actually staring at them at the gym but thankfully most people are mostly concerned with their own bodies to care about yours.. Except me. I love looking at the diversity of people’s shells. I was talking to a massage therapist the other day and I realized I envied him because he got to observe and interact with SO many different body types. I just find it fascinating how radically different human bodies are and I actually enjoy observing the ways in which those diverse bodies accomplish great things.

The third reason is again, quite simple. I go to the gym to sweat. If my shirt isn’t soaking when I leave, I didn’t work hard enough. I am 100% serious about this. You can verify with my poor gym bag that smells terrible.. While I am at the gym I am focused and I am there for a reason. To improve my physical and mental health. On the other hand, when I go for a hike, I don’t want it to be a freakin’ sweat bath. I want to enjoy being outdoors and I want to breathe in the lovely fresh air, not wheeze it in. I don’t want to be in pain while I am amongst the beautiful aspects of nature. To me, that sort of ruins it. I like getting my heart rate up anywhere.. But I just REALLY prefer to do my hard core body improvement, in a gym.

Now, I don’t expect everyone to feel the same way as me about this. I, unlike some of the people I know, understand that everyone is different and everyone has different ways of doing things. But I just couldn’t help feel that most of the people in my life were looking down on me because I’m running on a treadmill and not on a trail. And that sort of pissed me off.. So I just wanted to share with them and other people who find it so hard to believe people want to work out inside WHY I love going to the gym so much. I felt like maybe they just really didn’t know. So now hopefully they do!

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11 thoughts on “Why I Prefer Sweating In A Gym and Not In A Forest..

  1. Pingback: Blogging 101: Who I Am and Why I’m Here! | Ephemeral Cas

  2. Exercising aside, as writers how are we going to be able to stop and gain inspiration from the world around us if we are always rushing about. Finding a specific place like the gym to accomplish specific goals, to me, helps to ensure we actually accomplish them. It somehow makes us feel accountable.

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      • I wish I did, but I live in a very small crowded house. So it isn’t so much about where I write but when. I write late at night because I am able to think better when the world is silent. However as I am going about my daily activities, both at home and out and about and find inspiration, I have one unpublished draft where I store all of my blog ideas. And then in the silence of the night they are born.

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      • “And in the silence of the night they are born.” I like that sentence a lot. Seems very mysterious and powerful for some reason. To be honest I love just curling up under the covers in my bed and reading or writing right here. It’s sort of where I do a lot of my work too but I guess it’s a timing thing for me too. When my work day is done I can breathe and take time for my mind to reel and my pen to flow.

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  3. As one of your outdoorsy friends, I hope you don’t feel like I have ever chucked a big bowl of judgement and arrogance on your head. I’ve never thought less of you (or anyone) for working out in the gym. Personally, I can’t motivate myself on a treadmill the way I can outside when I have the top of a hill in my sight. I need a visual stimulation, something to pull me forward, an end in sight, and staring at the treadmill mileage just doesn’t do it for me. Try as I might, I rarely break a sweat on a treadmill. Working out on a machine IS good for you, that’s why they exist. I just can’t mentally push myself inside the way I can outside. I think working out triggers all the same things for us, just in different venues. I find that challenge, that competitiveness, within myself while you find it amongst other people. There is no right or wrong way and I sincerely hope you’ve never felt that I think any differently.

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    • To be honest, I have felt it a little bit from you but you really aren’t the only one, trust me. But I appreciate your post because I see that you didn’t mean for it to come off that way. I understand that everyone is different, I just sometimes have felt like my outdoorsy friends feel like their way is better and while I am sure it IS better for them, it’s not okay to make others feel less for not doing it their way.

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      • I know what works for me and any comments I have ever made about feeling good exercising outside or breathing fresh air were meant as positive affirmations for myself, not digs at people who don’t. I care about my friends being healthy, other than that, I could care less how anyone chooses to get there. Inside, outside, diets, cleanses, juice fasts… as long as it’s healthy, I’m happy!

        I think being outside and exercising has gained a spiritual aspect for me in the last year. It’s possible that is where you are feeling a “smugness” come from, which I would call contentment. I do feel that it is the best way for me (emphasis on the “me”) to be both physically challenged and spiritually charged. I feel most connected to myself and to the earth and the people on it when I get outside. I am humbled by mountains. It’s only natural that I would want to share that experience with the people closest to me (i.e you!).

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      • The spiritual aspect might have been where it came from, I am not sure. But I DO think that is really amazing and so great that you have come to experience exercising outside in that way. And I WANT you to share that with me, I really do. But I just want people to stop acting like being active, outside, is the best way to be active for everyone. (I now know you aren’t one of those people, so I am not speaking about you here.)

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