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The Gym Doesn’t Have To Be The Answer

If you’re anything like me, you make a New Year’s Resolution every year. Many of us will vow to go to the gym more often, which was mine this year, but how often does that actually come true? For the first time I tried speaking into the universe that I was going to the gym, and then I went to the gym one (1) time in the last four months. ONCE.

I’ve never been super insecure about my body but I am insecure about the way I take care of it. I don’t eat right, I don’t sleep right, there is literally no protein in my diet when I’m away from home, I only started drinking water because my parents bought me a Hydro Flask, and when I do work out outside of a gym, I do everything half heartedly. I don’t like sweating in public. I don’t like putting effort into things in public. I don’t like being a beginner for anything unless I’m naturally talented at it, and when it comes to anything with the gym, there is no natural talent to be found.

My friends who go to the gym are also REALLY good at going to the gym. No one I know who goes to the gym is just a casual gym goer, it is a COMMITMENT for them. My mom has a trainer. I have friends who get up at 6:30 to go to the gym and it ruins their day if they don’t manage to go to the gym. 

What I do know for many of my friends and the majority of people who are actively going to gyms is that the gym provides a sense of comfort. After all, taking care of yourself is one of the most therapeutic things you can do. Psychologically, the endorphins that are released when you finish a workout is unlike any other. The gym is undoubtedly amazing for a person’s mental health. so why doesn’t it work for me?

Truthfully, it’s because the only reason why I even want to go to the gym is a) to impress people who don’t go to the gym because my friends who do go to the gym are impressive to me, person who doesn’t go to the gym. b) I’m pretty sure I’ve been pressured into doing it because of how toxic gym-bro culture is. You know how weird it is to see a TikTok that’s just basically “imagine your crush killing your whole family. girls are temporary. gains are forever. hit the gym king” like WHAT?? And then it makes ME fall for it somehow. I’ve never seen that crazy amount of work ethic on anyone else except for like literal coal miners.

The gym is supposed to be therapeutic, right? And in real life, at least from what I’ve observed, it IS therapeutic! So why is every single conversation centered around the gym so toxic?

I wanted to chalk it up to toxic masculinity, but then I realized how toxic Yoga communities (the ones that center white women) are as well. I think the main issue is that the gym, at least when people with platforms talk about working out, is used as a way to fix yourself, rather than help yourself. Eating disorders are so normalized in these communities, and other toxic things when it should have never ever been rooted in negativity.

I think the gym and working out in public can be very helpful, but it has to be for yourself, not for others—something that I and a lot of these people struggle with. Sure, the gym can be therapeutic, but at the end of the day it isn’t the only form of therapy. It won’t be the solution to all your problems on its own, but it is supposed to help. If it makes you feel worse about yourself, then maybe the gym isn’t always the answer, or maybe the way you’ve been conditioned to think about the gym isn’t the answer.

Hi! My name is Ananya and I'm a freshman double majoring in Biochemistry and Journalism and I am on the pre-med track. I'm really interested in pop culture, and I like to write about celebrities and fashion. I'm also the most opinionated person I know unfortunately so I have something to say about every form of media I consume, whether it be music, film, or books.
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