It’s time to give the gym a try again — or so I thought. It didn’t go well — here’s why.
When I started my new health and life journey 7 years ago, I came across calisthenics and began appreciating nature again.
Within a month, my gym workout sessions went from 7 to 2 a week, mostly to swim and hit the sauna or steam room.
As a former professional athlete, I was in the gym for years on end. Then, when I was in my early 20s, I loved it as I believed it was the “manly” thing to do and the only way to build strength, get fit, and look good.
How naive and wrong I was, as are the millions of folks telling you online to hit the gym daily.
Like everyone else — even though I was a pro — I frequently injured myself and overtrained. That resulted in long setbacks, burnout, and often falling ill.
The same was happening to my friends and gym buddies, and we never understood why.
We are eating well, and training hard, so why are we catching the common cold or the flu? That shouldn’t happen to young, strong men. But it did a lot.
Why people injure themselves, burnout, and fall ill by going to the gym
- Daily hard workouts cause excessive cortisol release and result in overtraining
- Overtraining burns you out and weakens your immune system
- A weak immune system can’t fight off the bugs you catch from others
- Cramped, hot, sweaty, and smelly gyms and shower areas are full of germs
- Gyms are unhealthy “cold-catching environments”
Why did I look around the gym for 5 minutes and leave?
It was 5 pm, and the place was full of people puffing and panting, making animal noises while clanking, and throwing the weights around.
This was a high-end gym, yet the changing and shower room smelt moldy and stinky — it felt dirty.
I went in with an open mind — but with caution — to check out what I may get myself into.
It only took 5 minutes to remember why I stopped hitting gyms years ago. So, I did a U-turn and went to the riverside instead.
My walks and workouts in nature beat everything else — I’m now more sure than before!
At the beautiful riverside, lined with mature lush green trees, I walked, breathed fresh air, and performed one of my usual micro-bodyweight workouts.
I walked fast for 45 minutes, stopped 3 times along the way, and did this:
- 50 push-ups
- 50 squats
- 2-minute planks
- x 3 = 150 push-ups / 150 squats / 6 minutes of planking
Plus, the 2-mile fast walk that boosted my cardiovascular, mental health, and creativity.
I walked with my heavily weighted backpack carrying a laptop, cables, tripod, and other things, which made it more challenging.
I also performed the exercises carrying my backpack — adding weight to the movements.
After that, I sat at a cafe and wrote this story because I felt great — inspired, happy, and free.
I’m sorry, dear gym owners and lovers. Gyms simply are not the healthiest places to be, work out, or spend time.
They promote a negative “I must work harder” mindset, which isn’t good for your mental or physical health.
For me, nature is the place to be. Walk, swim, and knock out the classic and time-tested exercises even the military prefers today.
Spend more time in nature and less in those sweaty, smelly, germ-laden gyms, guys.
Your health will thank you.
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