Why People Go to the Gym


            Pizza. Beer. Chipotle. Beer. Pasta with extra Parmesan cheese. Beer. Chips and queso. Five Guys burger and fries. And more pizza is a lot of what a college students' diets consists of. I know personally I try to make healthy choices when it comes to food but on a college campus, especially in our home of Oakland, options are limited. Despite the stereotypes, girls do need to eat more than yogurt and water and guys can’t live off of these disgusting, high calorie foods. This is the point where the most loved and hated word of our college careers comes in: gym.

            Getting to the gym at Pitt is honestly almost half the battle. The walk up the huge hill essentially starts the workout because most people are out of breath by the time they reach the doors of the building. But just by walking into the gym you can start to see why the people that do go to the gym go. The ellipticals are always taken up by girls, some wearing Greek letters and Lululemon yoga pants and some wearing Nike shorts and baggy t-shirts. The gender on the treadmills is usually split. We’ve got our slow walkers that watch TV and read while at the same time think they are actually getting a good work out in. Then there are the sprinters whose shirts are so drenched in sweat that they are a different color than when they walked in. And there is always that one intense sporty girl jogging who wears just a sports bra and spandex all while mouthing the words to the song blaring from her iPod. Obviously, the weights are consumed by guys grunting and snorting as they lift far too much. Why do these people go to the gym? Is it really just because their diets are consumed with unhealthy food choices? It can’t be.

            One gym go-er explains, “I like to come to the gym with my friends. It makes the time go by faster and I’m thinking less about how physically straining it is.” By talking to different people I can see that the social aspect of going to the gym is very popular among Pitt students. We like to work out but we also like to chat and gossip with our friends while doing it. I usually go to the gym with friends but I disagree with the fact that going with friends makes the gym feel less physically straining. You are still doing the work and when I’m talking while working out it almost seems more straining. Your breath gets quicker and shorter faster, which tires you out sooner. On this note, going with friends could have more negative side effects too. With a friend, you are more inclined to talk to them and not put forth full effort into your workout. By the time you realize it, an hour as gone by and you aren’t even sweating.

            Walking over towards the weights, I overhear a conversation between two stronger looking men. “Dude that is a lot of weight.” “Yeah but I’m gonna look great with no shirt on.” I guess the things you hear at the gym can be more interesting than the people you see. Mallory Hochstadt says, “I go to the gym because it makes me feel good afterwards. It also makes me feel less guilty about eating gross food.” This is also another important point about feeling good afterwards. Any post workout feeling is always filled with thoughts of rejuvenation and happiness. Dana Miller says, “I work out because it truly does make me feel better. But, I think a lot of people work out to feel better about themselves and their bodies.” I think Dana hit the nail on the head. You always hear girls complaining about their weight and what they want to fix on their bodies. We should be able to love what we have but most people don’t. So, instead of not being active about it, going to the gym is productive for those reasons.

            Evidently, there are many reasons why people go to the gym that are not so obvious. It not only makes yourself feel better but it gets you off the couch and active. Going to the gym does not always have to be about improving your physical health, it can be to improve your mental health as well. When I go to the gym I feel like I accomplished something for the day. And even though I may have hours upon hours of schoolwork to do I did accomplish something. Yet, I do have one last question to pose, even though I’m not sure if anyone on Pitt’s campus can answer this: You would think the gym is supposed to promote a healthy lifestyle, yet why, as soon as you walk out of the doors, is there a Burger King?