guest post – why i work out at planet fitness

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CHECK IT OUT! You are used to reading post from me about my family, my running, my fundraising, etc., etc., etc. Now’s a chance to read a post from my boyfriend, Dan, who wanted to put in his two cents about working out, finding a place that fits, and rekindling or finding motivation. Enjoy!

For all my life I have been an athlete (we can use that term loosely). All the way up through high school, there wasn’t a season where I wasn’t a part of a team. After high school, I was talented and fortunate enough to accept a Division 1 baseball scholarship. After four grueling years sandwiched between several surgeries, I was lucky enough to expand that to several mediocre seasons of professional baseball. That’s 25 years of, again using the term loosely, being an athlete. After “retirement” and a few years of hibernation, I got talked into running a half marathon and since then have been exposed to the sport I hope will last me the rest of my life. Yet during all those years with the dozens of gyms and workout facilities I had at my disposal I always seemingly felt out of place most times I would workout. That is until a few years ago.

One of the guys I played against in college informed me of a new gym he would be heading up that was very close to where I was living and told me to come in and sign up and see what I thought. That gym was Planet Fitness. I had never heard of this place except for the show The Biggest Loser and even that was something I had never paid any attention to.

At first I was taken back. The gym is literally all purple, has almost no free weights, and seemed to use a selling point of free tanning more than getting in shape, but I gave it a shot. The more I went the more I realized that this gym wasn’t like almost every other gym I have been to. We all know the gyms I am talking about. The kind where if you aren’t powerlifting, benching, grunting, or at least posing in the mirror for 20 minutes, then you didn’t belong. You didn’t belong and you sure as shit wouldn’t dare try and snag one of the “juiceheads” benches. And if you’re a runner, forget about it; that’s something non-athletes do to pass the time (their words, not mine).

See the thing is, I have never had and probably will never have the perfect body. My entire life has been based around a little something I like to call “performance”. Throwing 90 mph, with good movement, was always more important than the size of my biceps. Even now, it doesn’t matter what I look like with my shirt off if I could just cut 30 seconds a mile off my marathon. That’s the thing that most gyms miss that Planet Fitness has a ton of; whatever your reason is for being there, use that to fuel your own fire. And I absolutely love that. Try struggling in your third hour of a 20 mile treadmill run and then seeing a 60+ year old guy about 50 feet from you who needs a cane to walk around on the elliptical trying to get in shape. Find something more motivating than that. Planet Fitness may not have all the personal trainers. Planet Fitness may not have all the free weights. Hell, they serve you pizza for crying out loud. But they give EVERYONE one thing the other gyms don’t – a place to feed your own fire where, just like those corny advertisements say, it’s judgement free. You’ll see the most jacked dude in there helping a woman who has never even been in a gym before.

I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t also mention the fact that they have, BY FAR, the best treadmills I have used in a gym. Between Stephanie and myself, we have ran on many a treadmill, and these are easily above the rest. To counteract the three-hour bore fest that entails running next to me for three hours, right above the treadmills are roughly two dozen flat screen TVs for your viewing pleasure. Side note: anyone who knows me knows I run very angry, so if my Stephanie can do it with no music; then trust me the TVs and treadmills work.

To be fair, if you are a bodybuilder or a cross fitter (what I call hipsters of the workout world) or a power-lifter, yes, this gym would suck and you wouldn’t go. That’s fine and I understand, but for basically 95% of the rest of the population, this place gives them a chance to try and better their situation without feeling out of place. Enough with bashing a place that allows in one day, my parents, my sister, my cousin Troy, Stephanie, and myself all to be there together so we can get whatever our own version of a perfect or healthy body may be.

Several years ago I was a has-been. I was a former baseball player who let himself become really fat. I was embarrassed. My pant sizes were going up as my choice in women was going down (but check out this hottie I snagged now….(Stephanie’s edit…haha I had to sneak that one in there)). I was a very “unhot” mess. But thanks to a Barney looking gym, I was able to drop more weight than I care to admit and completed my 1st ever marathon last spring. I didn’t need coaching or personal training or steroids, just the will to want more for myself, which is all you need. So if you don’t have a gym, or feel out of place where you are a member, look for the goofy purple gym who gives you pizza the first Monday of each month. From there it’s up to you.

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