Alternative Facts: Reasons You Should Actually Invest in a Gym Membership

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There are so many workout myths about gym programs out there, mostly believed by people who’ve never enrolled in one themselves. So, it’s time to dispel the rumors… with your help. We asked Hailee Walsh, a fitness trainer at Missouri’s City Gym, what the biggest myths new gym members had about joining one of her fitness classes beforehand. Here are our favorites, along with their alternative facts. How many of these did you believe before you started?

I have to be a runner.

Nope. If you can walk, you can do the treadmill.

“You can go at your own pace, whether it’s a walk, jog, or any combination. The different speeds the instructor calls out are merely suggestions to follow,” Hailee said. People have all sorts of abilities and injuries that require modifications. You know your body best. Or you can just skip the “dreadmill” altogether and do Double-Floor and still get a killer cardio workout.

Remember, you’re a grown up. You do what you want.

I have to be in shape to start!

“I’ve had clients with 100 plus pounds to lose when they first walked in. In fact, being a total novice to fitness can be beneficial, since you can learn proper techniques and form the first time around, instead of having to break bad habits like more seasoned gym rats,” she said.

Your trainer will offer you alternatives and modifications, or you’re always free to pace yourself: walk if you can’t run, go to your knees to do pushups if you must, use lighter dumbbells or slow down and catch your breath when you need to. Don’t be a hero.

You’re going to yell at me!

No matter how naughty you’ve been, your trainer isn’t interested in being your mom or dad. It’s just a gym, not basic training in the Army, despite the “bootcamp” moniker. Nobody’s going to yell at you. The music is thumping loud, so yes, our instructors occasionally have to raise their voices to be heard. But nobody is going to yell at you.. or call you out… or shame you. The only time our instructors will yell is to cheer you on during sprints or motivate you to push harder.

It’s too expensive.

“Many top personal trainers command hourly rates as high as $125 per hour and that’s for non-celebrity clientele, but there are a lot of gyms that have trainers who will work with you for a fee included in your membership package the way we do at City Gym,” Hailee tells us.

Next time you think you don’t have $200 to spend on a yearly gym membership, consider how expensive going to the doctor becomes when you neglect your health. Unless you have great health insurance, blood pressure meds and insulin aren’t cheap either.

It’s scary!

We get it. Doing something new and different and going outside of your comfort zone is always scary. But that’s where change happens. Branch out of your conform zone and you may find yourself discovering a new hobby and entering a new circle of friends.

I’m going to get big and bulky.

“This one is directed to the ladies who don’t lift. The average mom has toddlers that weigh between 30 to 50 pounds that they lift all day long. Why aren’t they all totally jacked? Because women have a tenth of the testosterone that men have and they have to follow a very specific diet and eat lots and lots of protein to grow like a body builder,” said Hailee. No way you’ll pick up a dumbbell and accidentally get big and “bulky” – whatever that even means.

People are going to stare at me and judge me.

This isn’t high school. When the lights go down, it’s “we’re all in this together.” “At our gym, like many others, we keep the lights low and intimate, which means even if someone’s looking, they can’t see a lot of you anyway,” she says. And chances are, they’re not really paying attention to you – most gym classes move quickly, and you have to pay attention to the instructor to keep up. Which leads us to…

I won’t be able to keep up.

That’s okay and that’s normal. Strength training workouts, specifically, are designed so that you hit muscle “failure” at some point. You know that feeling… when you just can’t complete another rep? In the fitness world, failure is a good thing and it’s what we strive for. As Hailee puts it, “It’s how you grow stronger. You have to fail to succeed. So, if your arms feel like jelly and you can’t do another curl? Congratulations! You’re doing it right!”

I’m going to die.

Yes. You will. Someday. But probably not at the gym. Don’t be such a drama queen!