Halloween is nigh, so gather 'round the fire, friends, and I will tell you the scariest story I know: Once upon a time, somebody drew up the plans for a windowless, multi-level building with white, sterile walls. They filled it with huge, menacing, metal appliances that whirred and hissed and glowed, and then they invited people to come inside. Perhaps in a nefarious plot to keep them there forever, they also added showers. They added a snack bar. They even gave people incentives to drag their innocent, unsuspecting friends in with them.
They called it...the gym.
But don’t worry, friends. Just because it exists doesn’t mean that you have to go there. You are allowed to say no, and if you ask me, that's exactly what you should say.
The way I see it, there is only one scenario in which you’ll ever regret not going to the gym, and it’s when all your friends and neighbors start outrunning you during the zombie apocalypse. But here’s the thing about that situation: the world would be ending. Were you really going to last that long without Netflix anyway?
And in case that lovely little scenario wasn’t enough of a demotivator, consider all the ways going to the gym is affecting your day-to-day life. Here are a few more stellar reasons to let your sneakers gather dust:
It’s crushing your dreams
Imagine you’re at the gym for an hour a day, 365 days a year. (I said imagine. Breathe. It’s not real life.) Some complex math will reveal that that’s 365 hours per year. That's time you’re wasting staring in the void, thinking of nothing of importance except maybe your next meal (pizza, anyone?)
Now imagine that you do something else with those 365 hours. There are so many free online tutorials these days – what if you spent that time learning to code? Or play guitar? Or speak Mandarin? Wouldn’t you rather be a slightly more employable rock star who travels the world than a gym rat?
Two words: FOOT FUNGUS
I bet that guilt-trippy angel on your left shoulder has occasionally muttered things like, “Of course you have enough time to hit the gym, just shower there and go straight to work.”
The fateful last words of a person who now has athlete’s foot.
Seriously, though, the gym is where all the germs go to rage. Nowhere is safe. Germy people touch equipment with their germy hands, then take a nice germy soak in the hot tub, and a bare-ass germy steam in the sauna.
So you could buy a fully equipped astronaut suit and get some weird stares on the bench press. Or you could stay home and live. Your choice.
“You’d actually work your abs a lot more if you held those out longer instead of – ”
“Gatorade is actually a super unhealthy way to – ”
“It’s better to stretch after a workout than – ”
No. NO. WE END THIS TYRANNY NOW. The cruel rule of that guy/girl, the smug bozo with the perfect body who prances around the gym, oddly never breaking a sweat but somehow feeling compelled to sprinkle their unsolicited advice to every unwitting gym goer within a fifty foot radius.
There is only one way to avoid him/her/it, and that is by keeping a safe distance from the gym – nay, the parking lot. In fact, don’t even jog in the neighborhood. Because you’re probably doing it wrong, didn’t you know that if you lengthened your stride you’d be way more efficient?
The snooze button
No feeling on the earth compares to the sweet relief of slapping that sucker down and saying to the world, “No, you may not bother me for the next ten minutes.” Or the next ten. Or the next. Or the next...
You could be doing more harm than good
No, seriously, I checked with science. And according to science, extreme endurance cardio can actually be super bad for your heart.
“But I’m not doing extreme endurance cardio!” you say.
Yeah, well, how do you think extreme endurance cardio started? Do you think these people were just born this way? No – it started with the gym. One or two little innocent trips to the gym that spiraled into extreme cardio madness. And if you’re not careful, they could claim you, too.
Newsflash: You smell. And now that you’re an adult, people are actually holding you accountable to do something about it. And gym clothes aren’t like the bra or the trusty pair of dark jeans you haven’t washed in – wait, did you ever wash them? – er, however long. No, gym clothes demand to be washed right here, right now, unless you want everyone who lives with you to stage an intervention.
Why waste all that time and energy cleaning things when you can smell like a daisy just sitting on the couch?
If you live in a big city or have the misfortune of showing up in that hour before or after work, you’re tanked. Suddenly there are lines for every piece of equipment in that godforsaken place, even though you’re ninety percent sure that Sweaty McGee on the elliptical over there has gone way over the 30 minute limit.
You know what doesn’t have a line of several sad gym-goers in front of it? That pint of ice cream in your freezer.
You “lost” your membership card
Oh, that little tiny nub with the barcode on it? Must have fallen off your keys. Into a sewer grate. Straight into the depths of hell.
And yeah, you could go in and get a new one, but that might take thirty entire seconds and you just don’t have that kind of time to waste.
Gym parking lots
I am not a cowardly person. I have been to a Twilight premiere. I know what it’s like to see the fear of death in another man’s eyes.
But the parking lot of the gym is basically The Hunger Games, combined with the deadliest game of musical chairs you’ve ever played. At any given moment at the gym there is probably one parking spot open – and odds are that dishrag in the revving sports car saw it at the same time you did. Is that going to stop you from trying?
Yes. Dear god. Just turn around. It isn’t worth it.
Is this even real? Is the gym real? Are you real? These are pressing questions that you should probably seek answers to in the safety of your own home.
Images: Universal Pictures; Giphy (10)